Community is at the very heart of everything shinty related. It’s what sets our sport apart from so many others. That is why the Camanachd is delighted to be in association with Shinty Memories Scotland. Shinty Memories Scotland is an umbrella organization that encompasses all the groups throughout the country that are currently using old shinty memorabilia and photographs in order to aid the most vulnerable in society.
It originated as a project to help those with dementia with their recall, communication and self-esteem. Following dramatic initial success, the project’s reach has been widened in order to service those with depression, remoteness and the loneliness that often comes with these issues. By connecting people to their community through memories of shinty, this project has helped to battle social isolation.
Project Ambassador, John MacKenzie MBE, said: “We have so much to contribute by talking to people and triggering memories through our photographs and memorabilia. Sharing our memories and connecting to people is so important”. Shinty Memories Scotland have also organised veteran matches so as people are able to relive the enjoyment that playing shinty can bring.
The Shinty Memories project would not be possible without the support of its partners. Longstanding Camanachd partner Tulloch Homes have been hugely helpful and the Life Changes Trust has supported the project significantly. Dementia and mental health are two matters that have touched nearly every family. Through initiatives like this, the shinty community is playing its role in attempting to alleviate the problems that such issues can cause.
Camanachd Association President and avid supporter of this great cause, Keith Loades, said: “This project is yet another example of how the sport of shinty can get out into communities and have a positive effect. This is of course a unique project that has enabled people who can be reluctant to discuss their challenges to do so. The reach of shinty goes far beyond the pitch, you do not have to take part in sport directly to feel its positive effects which is shown in the starkest manner by this venture. I look forward to the project’s inevitable expansion and touching the lives of many more people through Memories of Shinty.”
The Badenoch project is a fantastic specific example of this venture in action. It is no surprise that in an area like Badenoch, with such a strong history of shinty success, that the sport is able to generate such positive memories for its participants. By doing so, people from Badenoch who are suffering from dementia or isolation have been able to benefit from engagement and stimulation. The Highland Folk Museum has a vast collection of shinty artefacts which help with the project, however, they are looking to increase their collection.
Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan, Secretary of Shinty Memories Scotland said: “The network of Shinty Memories Groups continues to grow and we are finding that as we develop the network there is a better understanding about ways shinty can help people who are challenged by isolation and poor communication. We are also finding out that the project can not only help former players who live with issues such as dementia but also their families - spouses, children and grand-children and wider networks. We are also developing connections with shinty ambassadors in local schools and that helps with the inter-generational aspect of our work.”
The Shinty Memories Scotland project are looking for help from YOU. If you have any old yearbooks match programmes and other memorabilia which will help generate a greater depth of material then any help would be greatly appreciated.
If you are interested in getting involved in the Shinty Memories project or have any memorabilia that you think could help then you can contact the Camanachd Association (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will pass your details on to the appropriate person.