Sporting group set up to combat loneliness among over 50’s in Sheffield suburb

Sporting Chatter Group at Totley Library  is a group for men over 50, to join have a chat and it has had a great impact on its members since it started.
Sporting Chatter Group at Totley Library is a group for men over 50, to join have a chat and it has had a great impact on its members since it started.

A group designed to tackle loneliness among the over 50’s through a love of sport has been set up in a Sheffield suburb.

Sporting Chatter offers members the chance to meet like-minded people who love sport, in a friendly environment where they can discuss things such as football, cricket and athletics and share their sporting memories. 

It was set up as part of the People Keeping Well Partnership in Dore and Totley, which aims to connect people with facilities and services in their area, giving them information and advice so they can stay well and happy. 

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Hosting bi-weekly sessions at Totley Library, the group is designed for over 50’s, and is predominately targeted at men but welcomes women too. 

Joanna Glaves, Community Development Worker at Age UK Sheffield, runs ‘People keeping well’ in Dore and Totley, she said: “Men are identified as being a much harder to reach group of people many of them are less likely to engage socially than women.

“So I felt it was important to set up an activity that might appeal more directly to them rather than a knit and natter or a coffee morning.

“They are also less likely to accept help from people and by them attending groups it’s a chance for us to identify any needs they may have.

“I have to say though what’s great about sporting chatter is that it attracts men who might have just retired from work who are looking to make friends and do something active.

“By engaging them as well it means they are far less likely to need services once they reach an older age as they have already established good support  networks.”

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Having recently relaunched, volunteers have been handing out leaflets, and telling residents and as such have seen an increase in numbers attending the group. 

Meeting every other Friday, members can enjoy a host of activities, with visits from former Sheffield Wednesday player John Pearson and Mike Pickering, and a trip to Bramall Lane with a talk from life-long supporter John Garrett also planned. 

Volunteer Phil Mason, who helps organise the group said: “Members can sit round and talk about sport.

“We have a sporting hall of fame where people can suggest a sports person and plead their case as to why they think they deserve a place, we have book reviews, and have a sport quiz. One of our members has a lot of sporting memorabilia so we have an exhibition planned for that.

“It is for the over 50’s and was targeted at men to get blokes into social groupings, but women are also welcome. 

“We have guys from every walk of life, some are carers, some were heavily involved in sport but can no longer play due to injury. We offer biscuits, a drink and a chat and it is completely free.”

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People Keeping Well is a citywide initiative, delivered by community partnerships in different areas, who receive funding from Sheffield CCG and Sheffield City Council

In Dore and Totley it is delivered by Age UK Sheffield, who work with a range of partners including Totley Community Resource and Information Centre, Citizens Advice, Sheffield Carers Centre and Carterknowle and Dore Medical Practice. 

To find out more information, or to get involved email joanna.glaves@ageuksheffield.org.uk

Alternatively, call Age UK Sheffield on 0114 250 2850.