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Sporting Memories group keeping older fans connected

By Dan Simmonite | 9th September 2020

The York City FC Foundation has been busy helping the community and continuing their ‘Sporting Memories’ group throughout lockdown and over the last few months.

Since 2015, The Foundation has been running the project using sport as a vehicle to talk, holding sessions twice a week for older supporters in Wigginton and at Bootham Crescent.

The aim of the sessions is to bring people out of their homes, providing the opportunity to share York City stories and chat about current affairs with like-minded people and creating a network of peer support.

When lockdown stuck, older people in our communities struggled to cope on a daily basis and the Foundation wanted to help tackle this issue and reduce the feelings of isolation.

The Sporting Memories sessions have now moved online via Zoom thanks to the ongoing support of Benenden Health. Furthermore, the Foundation team made phone calls, set up a WhatsApp group, helped with the weekly shop, and offered support for those who didn’t have family members nearby.

They cultivated daily group contact with quizzes and positive messages, promoted physical activity options, and shared relevant local news and updates on the national situation. These sessions provided an outlet to ensure that members stayed connected with the outside world.

There was a real sense of community with the group, with one participant commenting: “I always look forward to these get-togethers on Mondays and Fridays. Being on my own has been difficult at times during lockdown and the contact with you guys has helped immensely.”

Another said: “The meetings are great to give a structure to the week for something interesting and fun to break the boredom of being alone. Always good vibes that makes things better. I really appreciate it and am thankful... really helped me through these difficult times.”

YCFC Foundation Manager, Paula Stainton was thrilled the sessions were making a difference: “Seeing everyone’s faces on the first Sporting Memories at Home Zoom call will forever be a special memory for me. We have engaged with over thirty households, with daily contact and maintained two zoom sessions every week and will be celebrating our 40th session at the end of the month.”

Trina Higgins, Engagement & Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Benenden Health said: “we were delighted to be given the opportunity to sponsor the Sporting Memories At Home initiative with York City FC Foundation. Maintaining positive social connections is so important for our health and wellbeing, and it’s something that we know has been a struggle for many throughout national lockdown. We’re so pleased to see the positive impact that the Foundation’s programme has had with the group members in our community.”

If you are interested in joining the Sporting Memories group or for further information please contact the Foundation team on

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