Sporting Memories Network Get Outdoors

Award: £14,966
Timescale: 2018 - 2019

Project aims

By building on the framework of support at existing Sporting Memories Groups, the aim of this project is to develop opportunities for people living with dementia to take part in lawn bowls.


Sport is a powerful medium for many people, providing memories of great games, sporting legends and victories, but also the friendships made and the sense of community that playing or watching sports brings. Talking about sporting events and cultures of the time helps to give people their identity back and reconnect them to the people and generations around them.

Sporting Memories Network is one of the Life Changes Trust’s Dementia Friendly Communities.  It is a dementia friendly sports network that promotes physical and mental wellbeing through activities at 81 weekly groups across Scotland. They help people with dementia reminisce and tell their own stories of watching or participating in sports, and provide opportunities to try out playing new sports.

Sporting Memories’ experience is that many older sports enthusiasts living with dementia have excluded themselves from their previous sporting activities feeling unable to maintain the standards of play they were once used to, or feeling embarrassed by being unable to follow familiar rules, or to keep their scores or place in the game.

No longer feeling able to take part in these activities can have a negative effect on people’s overall wellbeing as a result of reduced physical activity, diminished confidence and an increase in social isolation.


More Information

Working closely with Bowls Scotland and individual bowling clubs, Sporting Memories will develop opportunities for people living with dementia to try bowls for the first time, reignite their interest in it, and to join in other social activities, both outdoors and indoors.

The aim will be to find community clubs as close as possible to the Sporting Memories Groups themselves (there are over 100 bowls clubs affiliated to Bowls Scotland across those areas), to reduce transport costs and logistical issues.  Alongside the bowling activities there will be opportunities for conversation and reminiscence in the club house.  

To encourage participation Bowls Scotland will also support in the development of more inclusive forms of the game to allow for a wide spectrum of physical and cognitive capacity. This will give a wide range of choice for the participants depending on their competitiveness, physical or cognitive capacity, and how they feel on the day.

As well as creating a pathway from existing Sporting Memories Groups to the clubs, the project will also be promoted locally for those people living with dementia who may not be involved in an existing Group but who might be attracted to the activity.

People living with dementia will be highly involved in the design and delivery of the activities and throughout the project Sporting Memories will be working with participating bowling clubs to help them become ‘dementia friendly’ in the broadest sense.  


Outcomes we'd like to see

With this project, we would like to see more opportunities for people living with dementia to take part in lawn bowls and associated social activities, resulting in:

  • Increased physical activity and improved physical and mental well-being
  • Increased confidence and participation in community
  • Reduction in loneliness


Additional Information

Read more about Sporting Memories Network on their website: