Volunteers Week 2022 is all about recognising the brilliant volunteers we have at Sporting Memories that help to keep our clubs running all across England, Scotland and Wales.

During the week we will shine a spotlight on some of our volunteers as they share their journey with us as well as explaining how their volunteering helps older people in their local communities who are either living with dementia, isolated and lonely, or looking for somewhere to share their passion of sport.

In our latest piece, we caught up with Gary Scott, who is involved with Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland in a dual role as a Trustee of our Scottish Board as well as volunteering his time at some of our online clubs and our club in Kirkcaldy.

Gary began by explaining how he discovered Sporting Memories through another sports project looking for volunteers.

“I first heard about Sporting Memories through the Reuters Action Images project and that led me to the charity’s website, where I found out more about the weekly sessions that were held across Scotland, and this was at the time when new clubs were being set up in Fife.

“I gave Gary Waddell, one of the Group Delivery Co-ordinators a call and he told me all about Sporting Memories and plans for new Fife clubs. I went on the training ahead of them launching, but the new clubs were delayed – but there were two already running in local care homes which suited my work schedule, so I started volunteering with them.”

Gary has been with the charity since 2019 and he reflected on how the club members and their tales meant he enjoyed his role as a facilitator at the care homes in Glenrothes.

“One of my favourite things about the clubs is the stories that are shared by members – and these are not just all amazing sporting memories – these can be about where they grew up, their families, their work.

“This can help build relationships between club members as they might share an unexpected connection and can take the conversation in any direction. I like the idea that the members come along for the sport, but they end up staying to share stories with their new friends and that’s the way it should be, it’s all very relaxed and informal.

Gary recently became a Trustee for the Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland and believes his volunteering role can benefit the Scottish Board too.

“The charity was looking for new Trustees and I was delighted to be asked to join the Scottish Board to provide some input on the volunteers experiences. It fitted in well as I was already volunteering and it’s a great opportunity for me to help support Sporting Memories in another way.

“I think volunteering is very important and the more you get involved with an organisation like Sporting Memories the more you understand the value of volunteers and what they bring to the groups. I place a lot of value on my own volunteering as I feel like it is contributing to the local community.

“What I like about the charity as well is that the focus is wider than those living with dementia. It’s also for people who find themselves isolated, lonely or are looking for somewhere to go for a chat. Caring for someone needing continual support can be tough too and carers can get some joy by bringing their loved ones along to a session and seeing them as part of the group.”

Finally we asked Gary for his advice to any budding volunteers who are looking to join the Sporting Memories Family.

“The best recommendation I have is for people to come along and give it a go. That first step is always the hardest but once you see the sessions and the impact they make, you’ll see it’s all worth it.”