21 April 2017

Two new sporting memories groups are starting in Sheffield to help older people share memories and forge new friendships.

Run by volunteers, with support from library staff, the groups talk about all types of sport, looking at old photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia. All sports fans over the age of 50 are able to attend and the groups are free.

They will run from Manor Library every Wednesday from 10.30am to noon and from Firth Park every Wednesday from 3pm to 4.30pm, both starting on 26 April. The two groups join six others running in libraries across the city.

John Longstaff, aged 68, has been going to the Crystal Peaks sporting memories group since it first started in 2015. He said: “Twenty of us men meet every Tuesday morning in the library and talk about all kinds of sport. We have quizzes, guest speakers and occasional outings.

“It’s transformed my life and makes me feel useful. Gives me something to look forward to and share. The humour, banter and camaraderie are brilliant. Ongoing friendships have been made. There’s more to life than four walls and daytime telly.”

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries at Sheffield City Council, said: “These groups are a great way for people to come together and talk about the sport they love and share their memories.

“They join a long list of groups running from Sheffield libraries, which help people socialise and do something they enjoy for free. And of course, this helps combat loneliness and isolation, which often affects older people in particular.

“I hope people enjoy the new groups at Manor and Firth Park libraries. There’s definitely a lot to talk about in terms of Sheffield’s sporting past – and obviously the Blades’ promotion and hopefully the Owls, Tour de France legacy and the World Snooker’s 40th anniversary means they’ll be more to talk about for years to come.”

Sporting Memories – who worked with Sheffield City Council to set up the groups – has been shortlisted in the Best Sports Charity, Community and CSR category of the prestigious Sports Business Awards 2017. The World’s first charity devoted to sports reminiscence will head to London on 2nd June for the ceremony. The judging panel for the awards includes Olympians such as Sir Steve Redgrave, Steve Cram, Amy Williams & Steve Backley, who were joined by the Chief Executives of major national sporting bodies

Co-founder of The Sporting Memories Foundation, Tony Jameson-Allen said: “We are delighted that Sheffield Libraries are continuing to expand the number of Sporting Memories groups available across the city. Whether you play or watch sport, the sessions cover all sorts of topics and include lots of fun and laughter. We’ve seen first-hand how the groups have helped people reconnect with old friends and make new ones.”

Sporting Memories groups:
Sporting Memories groups already run at Central Library, Crystal Library, Ecclesall Library, Firth Park Library, Parson Cross Learning Zone and Stocksbridge Library. Please contact the libraries for details.

Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries for more information.

To talk to someone about the sport memory groups, or to help run one, please contact Darrel Porter on 0114 273 4254, or email darrell.porter@sheffield.gov.uk