As the Ospreys in the Community team launch their brand new project with Sporting Memories, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the team.
Heading up the project and the latest recruit to the Ospreys in the Community team is Helen John. Talking about her new role, Helen said:
“I’m employed as health and wellbeing co-ordinator within the community team. The aim of my role is to work with those living with dementia and their carers, to try and combat depression and engage people suffering with social isolation and loneliness.
We want to get those people out into the community and become involved in this health and wellbeing project. This includes a variety of different activities, but the sole purpose is to get them involved and enjoying. They key to engaging them will be by using their sporting memories.”
Sporting memories can last a lifetime, and the idea of the project is to get older people together to talk about sport. It could be a game they once played in, a great match or memorable sports star from the past.
As part of the project, Ospreys in the Community will work closely with local rugby clubs, to provide the friendly welcoming club environment for individuals to come along for a chat, meet new friends and increase their physical activity by participating in some of the activities on offer.
She added: “Our aim is to engage with individuals in their local rugby or community club. Creating a safe and familiar environment where we can encourage conversations and reminisce about Sport. The programme will aim to tackle social isolation, help with loneliness with a long-term aim of getting these individuals more active and ease pressure on our local GPs.”
As well as reminiscing about their cherished sporting memories, we want to build on engaging with individuals through the use of sports memorabilia with the hopes that triggering a
“There’s going to be a member of the Sporting Memories charity working alongside us and between us we have a target of setting up 10 clubs across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot in line with the new Health board boundaries. We are exploring extra funding avenues to extend this amazing programme into Bridgend.
The project has already sparked interest amongst Ospreylians, with groups, clubs and individuals itching to be involved.
“From everyone we speak to, we have had a huge amount of people who want to be involved with the project! Everyone wants to host a club, and everyone wants us to join them which is just great!”
Already making an impact, the project held its inaugural session at Dunvant Rugby Club last Wednesday with members of the local community all joining in.
“It was fantastic. We had nine people attend, three of those were living with dementia, three were carers and a couple of volunteers joined in too. Those volunteers are going to be involved long-term and are going to help us out to deliver the sessions.”
The volunteers will play a key role in the success of the programme, with Helen adding:
“We will be training and empowering the clubs and volunteers to help deliver the groups, with the aim of these being self-sustainable in the future. Through Sporting Memories, we can put them on a training programme, upskill them and then reward them for their hard work. We’ll get them to come along to games, because we want to appreciate the value of those volunteers as well as those people attending the session.”
Working with the Ospreys in the Community, the Ospreys brand will also play a vital role in engaging with individuals throughout the region:
“There’s a huge interest already in the area with players at the Ospreys expressing an interest in what we’re doing. We’re really hoping to build on the fantastic programmes already in the community. Utilising the power of the Ospreys brand and the rich Welsh history of sport will be pivotal by having that wider appeal.”
To register your interest in the project, or if you're interested in becoming a volunteer, fill out the form below: