Suffolk Libraries are teaming up with the Sporting Memories Network in the New Year to host Sporting Memories Groups in some of the county’s libraries.

Sporting Memories Groups are for anyone over the age of 50 and are a great way of bringing people together, creating new friendships and enjoying a chance to revisit memories and share stories prompted by superb sporting images and memorabilia from local and national collections. Open to all, the sessions include games, quizzes and a fun game or activity, and welcome people living with dementia, depression and loneliness by bringing people together to talk about their memories of sport.

The new Suffolk Libraries Sporting Memories groups are due to launch on Tuesday 6 February at Ipswich County Library where local Suffolk sporting ambassadors will be invited to share some stories from their sporting past. As well as sharing memories, anyone can bring along their memorabilia or photographs as these are a great way of triggering people’s memories and starting conversations.

2018 marks 40 years since Ipswich Town won the FA cup so many people will have fond memories of the cup run from 1978. However, the project is not just about football and whether its speedway, local club cricket, or visits to the Olympics or Paralympics everyone is encouraged to share their sporting memory whether it’s taking part in sport when they were younger or witnessing an exciting sporting event. Anyone is welcome to come along to a session to find out more, whether it’s for themselves or a relative or friend.

Suffolk Libraries is launching groups at Ipswich County Library, Stowmarket Library, Lowestoft Library, Hadleigh Library, Sudbury Library and Newmarket Library.

Suffolk Libraries are also asking for helpers and volunteers to support these groups which are launching in February 2018. There will also be a special induction day providing full training for Sporting Memories helpers and volunteers on 23 January from 10am to 2pm at Quay Place (St Mary on the Quay) in Key Street, Ipswich.

Richard Hunt, Sporting Memories Suffolk Project Manager, said: “Sport is a powerful medium for many people, providing memories of great games, sporting legends and marvellous victories, but also the friendships made and the sense of community that playing or watching sports brings. Talking about sporting events and cultures of the time helps to give people their identity back and reconnect them to the people and generations around them. We think that libraries are the perfect place to bring people together to form new groups in Suffolk and we hope people will come forward to find out more. We’re particularly keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer to help run the new groups.”

James Powell, Marketing and Communications Manager at Suffolk Libraries, added: “Suffolk Libraries are delighted to be working with Sporting Memories in 2018. Sport has touched all of our lives at some time, either at school, as an activity, spectator, or in our leisure time. Using the Sporting Memories collections and resources are an excellent way to reconnect with those experiences, bring friends together and have fun.”

Anyone interesting in helping to facilitate or support the new groups can find out more by contacting Richard Hunt, Suffolk Project Coordinator for the Sporting Memories Network on 07704 977322 or email [email protected] You can also register your interest in volunteering via

Sporting Memories Groups will run weekly at the following libraries:

  • Ipswich Central Library – every Tuesday from 6 February (2pm – 3.45pm)
  • Stowmarket Library – every Wednesday from 7 February (10.30am -12.15)
  • Hadleigh Library every Friday from 9 February (2pm-3.45pm)
  • Newmarket Library -every Friday from 9 February (10.30am – 3.45pm)
  • Lowestoft and Sudbury Libraries – dates and times to be confirmed early in 2018

There is more information about the new groups at and more information about the national Sporting Memories project at


Sporting Memories is a national project rolling out in Suffolk, supported by Sport England, and Suffolk’s Most Active County project, bringing together anyone over the age of 50 to talk about sport and their recollections of great sporting occasions using collections of photo’s, film and memorabilia to engage people in conversation, and positive reminiscence, also with an opportunity for some gentle activity.

Over the next year the ambition is to establish regular volunteer led groups in Suffolk to help support older people stay socially connected, including people who may be living with memory loss, or anxiety, or perhaps are isolated in their community.

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