Bakeoff

The sight of cricket clubs up and down the country continuing to get back to some sort of normality fills the heart with glee – and seeing the work clubs put in during the toughest periods of the lockdown fills the heart with pride. Falkirk-based Westquarter & Redding have always had strong links with their local community and last year the ESCA outfit were named Sunday Mail sportscotland Local Club of the Year.

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Stephen Sutton, one of the directors at the club, said: “When the lockdown began we had various conversations about what we could do to help others and then we got on with getting things done. We put in an exercise circuit on the pitch and encouraged local people to come down and use it and then post pictures. It proved popular and provided plenty of outdoor space to keep social distance."

“We donated 12 pairs of pyjamas worth £250 to Forth Valley Royal Hospital for patients and then we began to run Zoom yoga and quizzes for our Alzheimer Scotland group with whom we already had a relationship with.

“Early on in lockdown was difficult for all, but especially for those living with Alzheimer’s and it was great to keep them connected and having fun.

“It was just as important to make sure that none of our members were missing out or unable to get their cricket fix so we handed out bats and balls to those who didn’t have them and we delivered new junior shirts to 50 kids and chatted with them and their families.

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“Over and above those social distanced visits, all members have kept in regular contact in recent months through Facebook, Twitter, Zoom and email whilst avidly following the coaching videos – created by four of our coaches and posted to our You Tube channel – each week.”

We all know how much cricketers like a good cake at tea time and, missing them so much, the juniors at Westquarter took matters into their own hands.

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They held a ‘Bake Off’ style event and the standard was very high, the winners being posted some Amazon vouchers and all involved keen to make it an annual occurrence.

The juniors, who returned to action at Bailliefields on the 16th July, have been full of ideas during ‘down time’ too, expressing an interest in more social events and family cricket days going forward while, as things have been easing, many of then and the seniors have completed the exercise circuit around the ground.

“We have also kept ourselves busy in the lead up to cricket returning by completed ground works which has included extending the car park, flattened unused land, extending the net run up and a ‘sponsor fence’,” Sutton explained.

“On that sponsor fence will be advertisements for local businesses and they will not have to pay anything for the rest of this year before entering into a two year agreement with the club for 2021 and 2022.”

Try Something New

Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club have developed a varied programme of recreational/physical activities for people with dementia and their family carers.

Working collaboratively with Alzheimer Scotland over the past two years to promote positive community connections which has helped people to feel connected and involved in their local community.

“The Try Something New programme has given people the opportunity to participate in cricket, archery, petanque, yoga, drumming and ballroom dancing. Involvement in these activities has increased social, mental and physical well-being of the group members by valuing their contribution and increased awareness of both dementia and how to live well with the condition.” – Justine Davidson, Dementia Advisor

Background

The club got in touch with Alzheimer Scotland in late 2018 as they were keen to find out what Alzheimer Scotland offers in the Braes area of Falkirk.

From the outset we very enthusiastic about working in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland to make best use of our facilities and connections to build community capacity. Both the club and Alzheimer Scotland are passionate to see people with dementia being involved within their local community.

Through the club, which is a Community Interest Company, we have access to a wide range of local contacts who have skills in other activities. Other groups were contacted and coordinated by the club these groups very quickly came on board to offer their skills to our dementia/carer group.

After a trial in November 2018 it was decided to offer a monthly programme of activities covering one or two different activities each month and importantly finishing with refreshments and a chat. 

It was decided to call this programme ‘Try Something New’ as for many of the members the activities offered were completely new to them

Justine organised Dementia Friends sessions which were delivered to the coaches and volunteers involved in this programme so that they had more awareness about dementia and how to support people with dementia.

Running The Group

The club has funded all the costs of hiring the sports centre (in the colder months), refreshments and a small fee was paid to some of the people delivering the sessions mainly to cover travel expenses. During the warmer months there are activities at the club either inside or outside to make use of the facilities the club currently has. Due to the nature of the current facilities it is not possible to run activities inside at the club outside the summer months.

The sessions are on the last Monday of every month and offer activities from 10am-12pm with 14 people regularly attending with some of them only attending this group in terms of contact with Alzheimer Scotland.  The attendees range in age from 58yrs to late 80’s.

Activities are adapted, where required, to meet the needs of our group offering a fail free and safe environment with soft balls for cricket, soft suction arrows for archery and chairs for yoga..

Coaches also ensure that they offer a practical demonstration of the activity and offer 1:1 guidance throughout. In some activities, a competitive element between teams encourages the group to use team work skills.

Activities done by the group to date include:

  • Cricket
  • Archery
  • Ball Room Dancing
  • Italian
  • Photography
  • Dementia Dogs
  • Petanque
  • Indoor Curling
  • Tennis
  • Indoor Bowls
  • Drumming
  • Chair Yoga
  • Tai Chi

It has been really rewarding to see the personal development of those who took part in the activities displaying their strengths, potential and willingness to learn new skills. Some members have gained such pleasure from some of the activities that they wish to pursue some of these activities out with the session, and I know at least one member who has downloaded a yoga app onto their phone.” – Justine Davidson, Dementia Advisor

In addition, the cricket club hosted Falkirk’s first Dementia Awareness Week event with local dementia advisors giving people the chance to try some of the activities delivered so far as part of the Try Something New group.

Recognition

In 2019 the club were nominated for the Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative by Alzheimer Scotland at Scottish Dementia Awards.

From all the entries the group were selected as one of only three finalists and invited to attend the awards ceremony to help celebrate the achievements of those outstanding individuals, groups and organisations making a difference for people living with dementia and their families across health, social service and community settings.

The awards took place at the Raddison Blue Hotel in Glasgow with the club hiring a minibus to take some of the group’s members, two directors of the club and two employees of Alzheimer Scotland to the event.

Although the group did not win everyone was extremely proud of being chosen as a finalist in the group’s first year!

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