​Christmas comes early for Shinty Memories Groups with development funding awards

Shinty Memories Meeting at Castle Leod (Photograph taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

Christmas comes early for Shinty Memories Groups with development funding awards

Three more Shinty Memories groups are to benefit from more than £2,500 in financial support to enable them to develop work being done in their local communities. The grants, funded by Life Changes Trust Creating Better Lives in the Highlands Small Grants Programme, have been awarded to the Badenoch, Caberfeidh and Beauly Memories Groups.

Shinty Memories Scotland secured the funding to make the grants available from Life Changes Trust (LCT)  to build on work already done in a number of  shinty-playing areas and offer support for new groups.

This is the second tranche of the total fund of £10,000 Life Changes Trust Awards to be distributed and the funding will enable the recipients to start up their new initiatives, building on work already being done locally.

Beauly SMG, which will be working closely with other groups in the area such as Caberfeidh and Lovat,  has been awarded a total of £1,000 to enable the group to buy media equipment to enable it to use when  showing archive photographs, videos & audio files to its members.  A spokesman said:  “This development will enable us to show digitised versions of photographs as means that we need not be in possession of hard copies of photographs which are so often delicate and easily damaged. It also means that Memories Groups can use the same images at the same time. Furthermore, as we move out of the current COVID-19 crisis, it is the case that people are much more wary of handling items in archives, which could be a potential issue with hard copies, or even passing around a laptop. These concerns are understandably even more prevalent with the demographics that Memories Groups tend to work with as they are often more vulnerable to disease and illness.”

Badenoch Shinty Memories Group have been awarded the same amount of funding as Beauly, £1,000 to continue the production and printing of the regular newsletter and shinty quiz, Camans and Goings. This was started during the Covid lockdown period and has proved to be a very effective way of keeping connected to people who would ordinarily have come along to the group’s events and activities. Chairman John MacKenzie MBE said: “The Newsletter provides a sense of belonging to the group and is an ideal way to share news and memories of the sport.  So far throughout 2020, BSMG have produced 3 newsletters, every 2-3 months, with another one due at Christmas time. These have proved to be very popular with the shinty community and the wider local population, as they cover interesting topics of a local theme, in addition to shinty content. The digital publication travels far and wide through an email distribution list, but it is vitally important to have printed copies for people to receive in their own homes/care homes/sheltered housing, and for those who might face some IT challenges, or who prefer a physical copy for ease of reading. This funding would be used to secure the printing and publication of the newsletter and the Camans and Going quiz-sheets, throughout the year of 2021.

Caberfeidh Memories Group has been awarded a total of £695 to purchase media equipment to help them develop their activities locally. For some time now Caberfeidh have operated a ‘Friday Afternoon Club’ which is an open invitation to anyone to pop along to Castle Leod on a Friday afternoon and do anything from sit and have a blether and a cup of tea to assist with everyday jobs to the pitch or changing rooms.

David MacMaster, who is also Chair of Shinty Memories Scotland said “This weekly gathering is a great opportunity to convene in a welcome friendly setting and not only assist the club but also to allow them to retain an active link with the club and encourage social gathering. The wish when restrictions permit is to return this to its original format whereby numerous former players and supporters attended. During these visits and other events, we will now be able to display the numerous photographs we hold of the history of the club.  We have been very fortunate to acquire a large TV from a local business therefore we are in hand with this method of producing visual displays. The other items we intend to purchase will enable us to hit the ground running when circumstances allow us to get together again.”

David MacMaster added “We are very pleased to have been able to distribute this second tranche of the Life Changes Trust Creating Better Lives in the Highlands Small Grants Programme.  We do have a small amount of money still to be distributed and we will consider how to make that available in the coming weeks as circumstances with Ciovid-19 unfold. Seven Shinty Memories groups have benefitted under this programme and we are grateful for the help we have received to enable the provision of the various facilities. Hopefully as we go forward to the New year, we will be able to re-establish our activities and continue working to the benefit of our shinty communities.  Meantime, in the spirit of the season, Shinty Memories Scotland wishes all it members the very best for the coming festive season and the New Year.  We would also like to thank our supporters and collaborators in various projects the complements of the season and we are grateful to them all for their help. Hopefully we will be able to get together in a much more meaningful way as 2021 unfolds.