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New groups of the Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland are to be opened across the Western Isles, with the first meeting planned for next Tuesday, 12 July.

The Western Isles branch has been launched as part of a wider UK charity to create social activity clubs across the Western Isles, with a focus on reducing mental health issues and social isolation, as well as increasing opportunities for people to get together and talk about sport.

This new opportunity has been made possible through funding from the Western Isles Communities Mental Health Fund (£7750), the Uist and Barra Sports Council (£750), Lewis and Harris Sports Council (£750) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s department of sport and health (£500).

The funding was used to purchase a lifelong social license to deliver bespoke sessions using resources such as physical activity kit bags, retro footballs and rugby balls, replay cards and old newspapers.

Maurice Donohue, chief operating officer for Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland, said: “As we slowly come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital we provide an opportunity for older people across Scotland to come together to improve mental and physical wellbeing as well as tackle challenges such as isolation through sports reminiscence and gentle sporting activity.

“We’re hoping this first step into the Western Isles will enable us to increase our engagement with communities in the Western Isles and beyond into the future.”

Kevin Morrison, Uist community sports hub officer, is to be the lead for Uist and Barra sporting memory groups. He said: “Following the Covid 19 pandemic we are seeing a secondary pandemic in the Western Isles around social isolation, the sporting memories clubs will hopefully contribute in a small way to alleviating isolation across our island population.”

Steven Munro, CnES sports development officer, said: “The SMF have been great in supporting us to access funding, training and resources to develop this new initiative in the Western Isles. We believe it could make a real difference to our community to be able to meet up again after a long absence of opportunities to do so.

“We have a rich history of sport across our islands including the football leagues, rugby, golf and shinty clubs, outdoor activities such as hill walking and climbing, kayaking and sailing as well as many more sports and activities that have been key to growing up on the islands.

“We hope people will come along and share their memories with others of playing, coaching and/or watching sport throughout their lives. The benefits to mental and physical health are endless when we manage to come together and talk in a social environment.”

Women and men over 55 years old are invited to come along and share sports memories from the past, exchanging yarns in a relaxed atmosphere, on Tuesday 12 July at Stornoway Bowling Club on Bayhead, between 2pm – 3pm.

If you are interested in finding out more and registering your interest for you or a loved one, please contact Steven Munro via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Lewis & Harris) or Kevin Morrison This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01851 822785

The pictures show sporting memories shared in SMF groups at Kelty and Glenrothes (Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland) and the opening of the new Cnoc a’ Choilich football ground in Carloway in 1991 (Carloway FC).