Whether as a player, spectator, or a fan many of us have vivid memories of the highs and lows of sports. Time after time sports has proven to bring people together and that’s been no different for *Rohan, 75 who’s been a cricket super fan for most of his life.
Since his wife passed away Rohan has battled with bouts of loneliness, particularly as his children live outside of London. With hopes to be more socially active, Rohan joined Croydon’s Sporting Memories Club, a national charity and social enterprise that helps older people to reminiscence, replay and reconnect through sport.
Facilitated in partnership with the Asian Resource Centre Croydon, the Sporting Memories Club supports Asian and Caribbean men over 60, including those living with dementia, living with depression, or facing isolation to improve their mental and physical wellbeing through weekly club sessions.
Volunteer led by local residents every Friday 11am-12.30pm, the group is dedicated to bringing together older people with a common interest in sports to reconnect with their sporting past and build connections with others.
We’ve seen real friendships blossom over the joy of sport. Sharing a common interest has helped our members to connect with each other in our group and beyond. It’s a pleasure to see sport bring people together.”Kay, Project Coordinator
Each week members cast their minds back to historical sporting events and share their memories of personal achievements and memories. The club has inspired many members to take part in physical activity again, which is helping them to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
The club has also given many members structure and a social circle, which helps to maintain their mental health. Lloyd said: “I used to love playing football when I was younger, I can’t do that anymore, but this club has been wonderful to talk and remember the good times.”
Since launching the Croydon group in 2022, the Sporting Memories Club has created a core group of members who have been able to extend their connections beyond their weekly sessions. The meet-up as created a springboard for friendships to be nurtured in the community, allowing members to regularly meet up in Croydon to watch sports, take a walk in the park or enjoy a simple coffee.
Most recently some members met for dinner at a local restaurant, where they talked about their different cultures, upbringings, and sporting heroes. Right now, discussions are in action about where best to watch and enjoy the buzz of the tennis French Open next month!
Would you, or do you know someone who would like to join the Sporting Memories Club Croydon?
*Names changed to maintain confidentiality