New post will enhance shinty’s role in compassionate communities
Badenoch Shinty Memories Group (BSMG), a recently constituted unincorporated community group, set up in the wider shinty community under the umbrella of the national organisation Shinty Memories Scotland (SMS), is to launch a new heritage post in collaboration with the Highland Folk Museum (HFM).
Shinty Memory Groups have evolved from the Sports Heritage Scotland (SHS) initiative, involving shinty’s governing body, the Camanachd Association, Alzheimer Scotland and five other sports. The sports' archives and other resources – including links with sports such as curling and golf - are being used to help people with dementia and people living with other mental health issues such as depression, remoteness and loneliness.
BSMG will now be supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust (LCT), which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, to be used in an innovative partnership with HFM, creating an 18-month full-time post initially to support the work of the two organisations in what is recognised as a compassionate community stretching from Kincraig to Laggan and Dalwhinnie. BSMG will also be working with organisations such as Highland Senior Citizens Network and Alzheimer Scotland.
The strength and success of BSMG has evolved through the strong friendship between two great shinty rivals, John MacKenzie MBE (Scotland and Newtonmore), Sports Heritage Scotland's Shinty Ambassador, and Donnie Grant MBE, a Kingussie shinty-playing legend who is living with dementia. John Chairs the Group and Donnie is now a key member of the BSMG committee, offering advice and guidance from his own personal perspective. John and Donnie recognised the potential of Shinty Memories to draw together local communities to involve and benefit people with dementia, their partners, carers and families. Using the unique prominence and reach of the shinty community of interest, they saw this as a way of providing opportunities to foster more dementia-friendly and inclusive activities.
Launching the new project, John MacKenzie said: “Shinty clubs, and the individuals and families associated with them, are aware of many people in their communities who have to meet the challenges of dealing with mental health issues such as dementia, depression, and with loneliness and isolation. Club members, past and present, along with their supporters, have a wide reach throughout their playing areas, and being part of the shinty community of interest is accessible to anyone of any age who lives in the area.”
In addition to the launch of the Memories project, Shinty Memories are also delighted to confirm that Tulloch Homes have agreed to provide financial and promotional support to enable the provision of Memory Boxes which will be presented to participating clubs at the launch. Keith Loades, President of shinty’s governing body, the Camanachd Association, said: “Tulloch Homes have once again made a key contribution to a significant development in shinty, this time beyond the field of play. We all share the aims and objectives of this unique relationship which will enable shinty clubs to play a very important role in terms of community support for people who are very often reluctant to discuss their individual challenges. We can all contribute to the project as it develops, sharing our memories and helping those who may have difficulty doing so and I look forward to further expansion of the work which is being done so successfully in Badenoch.”
BSMG and HFM will now develop activities which are interesting to, and inclusive of, people with dementia and living with other mental health issues in the local area. At the heart of this will be the development of Shinty Memories resources, groups and, particularly, activities. Shinty Memories Groups bring people together around reminiscence activities using sets of Shinty Memories materials to involve people with dementia, and to help improve their recall, communication skills, self-esteem and confidence.
The main impetus for this application to Life Changes Trust (LCT) came from the reception its initial work has generated in the community, the need to consolidate, expand and develop the group and its own resources and, critically, the need to have resilience and capacity built in to the group’s operation so that it can maximise its impact.
BSMG aims to provide the highest quality reminiscence experience to some of the Highlands' smallest and most scattered and remote communities. Its work is being delivered through the rich heritage and culture of shinty which has been a key element of the community in Badenoch for hundreds of years. It is the social cement which unites communities, whilst at the same time offering a healthy degree of rivalry! The approach is to develop shinty-related activities to promote inclusion and engagement, particularly amongst those living with dementia, but also for those disadvantaged in other ways such as isolation.
Shinty Memory Groups are currently operating in, or are at the planning stage in Badenoch, Caberfeidh, Cowal, Lovat, Beauly, Lochaber, Ballachulish, Oban, Taynuilt, Glasgow, Kinlochshiel. Others are expected to join the network in due course.
Life Changes Trust
The Life Changes Trust was established in April 2013 with an endowment from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland (now The National Lottery Community Fund) of £50 million.
Badenoch Shinty Memories Group’s work is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust. The Trust is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
The Life Changes Trust was established by The National Lottery Community Fund in April 2013 with an endowment of £50 million to support transformational improvement in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people.
For further information about the Trust, see