Shinty Memories Scotland has begun work on a new set of resources aimed at helping people living in isolation and facing mental health issues within the shinty community in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Supported by a Life Changes Trust Award through an previous funding arrangement in its Creating Better Lives in the Highlands programme, Shinty Memories Scotland have been enabled to produce a new set of 100 boxes of 100 cards in English and Gaelic aimed at providing discussion points and reminiscence aids for people who may be struggling with issues during the pandemic.
Shinty Memories Ambassador John MacKenzie MBE, who also Chairs the Badenoch Shinty Memories Group (BSMG), said: “The unfortunate circumstances which the Covid-19 pandemic has visited on us now makes the delivery of our core project impossible in the short to medium term, until a resolution is found, and travel and social distancing recommendations are relaxed. The community which we were serving, however, continues to face the same challenges of isolation and increasing mental health pressures, not just amongst the older generation, but also the younger folk who are now faced with many difficulties in terms of their education, employment opportunities and much more besides. Active sport has now ceased. That means that our communities’ health is under more pressure than ever. Hopefully our new resources will help meet some of these challenges.”
Shinty Memories Scotland has now begun work on producing the new cards and Badenoch Shinty Memories Group will at the same time be producing a memory stick/DV of selected moving images which will also be distributed.
The material being compiled for the cards will also be issued through the usual online channels, with Shinty Memories relaunching its Facebook presence under the banner of Shinty Memories Scotland. It is planned to release at least two of the card images a week on Facebook and elsewhere while the card set is being compiled and produced. Further details on the memory sticks and DVDs will be issued as soon as they are ready.
David MacMaster, chair of the national network for Shinty Memories said: “We are grateful to Life Changes Trust in particular for enabling the funding for this project to be realigned. We would hope that in due course we would replenish this fund ourselves once we are able to hold fund-raising events and activities. Meanwhile, I would encourage communities with Memories groups already functioning to let us know about the demand for boxes and places where they could be used. If any new areas wish to join our network, they should get in touch. Together, the two reminiscence projects will offer out shinty clubs and their communities a small but important set of tools to enable them to ease the burden of the current situation.”
The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the Camanachd Association. President Keith Loades said: “We are delighted to be supporting this work and we would encourage all our clubs and players to look after each other as we know the shinty community can. These are challenging times and we all want to be in the best possible place when our sport resumes. There is nothing more important right now than our individual and collective well-being, mentally and physically.”
An example card is available below:
Follow Shinty Memories Scotland on Facebook and Twitter (@ShintyMemSco). Local groups also appear on Facebook and Twitter.
If you would like any further information, please contact Hugh Dan MacLennan, Secretary, Shinty Memories Scotland (07515287040)
The project detailed above 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.”
Shinty Memories is a network of groups set up in shinty-playing communities using the sport’s archives and other resources to help people with mental health issues such as dementia and living with issues such as isolation, depression and loneliness.
If you would like to know more about setting up, joining or helping with Shinty Memory Groups, make a donation to help with costs, or can help supply materials for the memory boxes, please contact your local group, the Camanachd Association, firstname.lastname@example.org or Shinty Memories Scotland on Facebook.