In this episode I speak to three fantastic organisations to find out how sport can help reduce social isolation and have a positive impact on people’s lives.
First of all I spoke to Steven McFadyen from Alzheimer’s Society about the new Dementia Friendly Sport & Physical Activity guide, and how it will support people living with dementia to become more active.
I then chatted to Claude Umuhire from The Running Charity about the huge impact the organisation has had on his life. Whilst homeless himself, Claude joined and graduated the programme, providing him with drive and confidence, and inspiring him to share his experiences with others by becoming Programmes Coach for the charity.
Finally I met Tom Browne from The BAT Foundation, who explained how table tennis therapy has helped people to get active, can reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide inclusive activity for people living in care homes.
The Alzheimer’s Society
- Steve talks about The Alzheimer’s Society’s work with leisure centres, gyms & sports clubs to make them more dementia-friendly; with simple adaptations, accessibility and linking audiences with activities key to the success of the Dementia-Friendly Sport & Physical Activity Guide [1:52]
The Running Charity
- Claude’s tells us his personal story and journey through the programme which powerfully highlights the impact that The Running Charity has had on his life, which as a programme leader at the charity he is now sharing with others. [12:42]
- Claude explains his role as Programme Manager, the successes he’s had in supporting homeless people to get active and back into work and partners they’ve worked with [22:11]
- We talk about future plans in the charity with exciting plans to grow to new cities and abroad, and how sport can help people that are experiencing social isolation [34:28]
Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy (BAT) Foundation
- Tom talks about how the BAT Foundation was created, the aims of the charity and how they are supporting people living with dementia to get active. [46:03]
- Tom explains the charity’s “open arms” approach to partnerships, how they have provided equipment and training to care homes nationally, and future plans for the organisation. [57:23]
“I actually think the social element of sport is arguably the most important bit, in terms of getting people out of their house, back into their communities and feeling valued, and being active member of their society. Confidence – one of the key reasons people living with dementia don’t leave their house is lack of confidence, and if they’re able to build that and be comfortable in certain environments reduces the risk of social isolation and loneliness.” [7:15]
“A month later I ran a Parkrun in 25 minutes. It was the first time since I became homeless I was able to not only plan for the future but also to implement smaller steps to help me get to my goal in the future which gave me an untold amount of confidence”. [15:43]
“Other negative prejudgements of what homelessness is are false… all these young people needed, all I needed was for someone to give me a route, a way out. Once I saw it I took it and was able to better myself, and that’s the story of every young person that’s taken part in the programme.” [21:32]
“It’s environments that we are able to create when we set up a table at a care home or event – that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about if someone could hit a ball ten times, it’s that when they are with us, they feel on top of the world, they feel looked after and part of a community – that’s what sport can do and we need to build on that” [Tom]
- Cumberland FA Example – http://www.cumberlandfa.com/players/disability
- Alzheimer’s Dementia Friendly Sport & Physical Activity Guide – https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-friendly-communities/organisations/dementia-friendly-sports
- Japanese Research – “The Effectiveness of Exercise Intervention on Brain Disease Patients: Utilizing Table Tennis as a Rehabilitation Program” – https://ontariotabletennis.com/news/how-ping-pong-can-help-prevent-and-treat-alzheimers-disease/
- BAT Foundation Website – www.batfoundation.com
- BAT Foundation Adapted Tables – www.batfoundation.com/bat-therapy-table
- Bounce – www.bouncepingpong.com
- Dementia Alliances – www.dementiaaction.org.uk
- The Alzheimer’s Society – www.alzheimers.org.uk
- Sporting Memories – www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com
- The Running Charity – www.therunningcharity.org
- Hackney Gazette Article on Claude Umihere –
- London Marathon Charitable Trust – www.lmct.org.uk