Northampton Saints Foundation have been awarded £5,000 from the Northampton Queen’s Institute Fund, administered by Northampton Community Foundation, to hold monthly reminiscence events.
The reminiscence events aim to enhance the personal wellbeing of people within the community who have memory and mobility issues, and those who feel isolated or lonely.
The project, which runs for 12 months, will see monthly reminiscence cafés held at cinch stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, covering topics that are not exclusive to Northampton Saints RFC but have an intrinsic link to the Club. Sessions will cover family traditions, favourite childhood games, school days, holidays, first job experiences and more.
According to the 2019 Age UK Loneliness and COVID-19 report, the pandemic has created a new wave of lonely older people. It also states that difficulties with physical and mental health can reduce older people’s ability to participate in community activities and can inhibit their ability to maintain or establish meaningful relationships. This can increase feelings of loneliness and make it challenging to manage or lessen such feelings. The report also documents there were 1.4 million older people experiencing the effects of loneliness pre-pandemic, with this figure looking likely to exceed two million before 2026.
Each session is being organised by the Foundation’s Counsellor, Dawn Bere, and Heritage Lead, Clare Clarke.
“Since the pandemic, some older supporters have not returned to attending matchdays on a regular basis,” said Clarke.
“For many, attendance at matches is no longer possible. We feel that we have a duty of care to those that dedicated long periods of their lives to loyally supporting or playing for the Club, so this project will look to help these people to remember past experiences and matchday feelings and help them reconnect with Northampton Saints.
“Over the 12 months we are aiming to see an improvement in wellbeing, a reduction in the effects of loneliness and social isolation, improved engagement and participation, and new or renewed friendships.”
Sessions also aim to offer opportunities to young people who access the Foundation’s programmes to support with the design, planning and facilitation of the project – giving an opportunity for young people to engage with older generations, whilst understanding and supporting their needs.
With the first session in July focussing on childhood memories, participants will be able to discuss their earliest memories, including any sporting events they attended and get the opportunity to look through some of the Northampton Saints archive. Places are free and tea and cake will be available to all who attend.
DATES AND THEMES
All sessions run between 10am-12pm, themes are subject to change.
5th July - Childhood memories
2nd August - Family traditions
6th September - Childhood games
4th October - Holidays
1st November - School days
6th December - Famous people
3rd January - Music
7TH February - Hometown pride
3rd March - Childhood pets
1st April - Cooking traditions / love stories
3rd May - TBC
5th June - TBC
3rd July - TBC
To register your interest in attending the sessions or to volunteer, please email [email protected].