One of the things that has prompted my move away from academia is my work with Exeter City Community Trust and the Sporting Memories Network. I co-organise a wonderful group for older men at Exeter City Football Club, St James Park, Exeter, every Wednesday morning from 10 am until 12 midday. A second group is held at Tiverton Town FC on Wednesday afternoons from 2 pm to 4 pm. Our aim is to bring together men who might have found themselves challenged by poor physical or mental health – or simply find that they socialise less than they used to. We use a fantastic range of sporting memorabilia to prompt memories of good times and promote a sense of connectedness and wellbeing. So far, we’ve had some great visiting speakers; organised tickets to a match-day at St James Park; and hosted annual summer BBQs.
The sessions are free, so if you know of a male relative or neighbour who might benefit from a couple of hours of fun and laughter, please tell them to come along! It’s my favourite day of the week and the group is featured in one of my blog posts.
Both of my books feature large oral history projects: the first, among housewives of the 1960s; the second among retired GPs.
I’m currently interviewing the participants of our Sporting Memories group to explore the ways in which sport, physical activity and fandom play a promote health and wellbeing through the life course.