Ponty’s Rugby Heritage Unites Young & Old


A project about sporting heritage aimed at increasing the social lives of older people has proved a huge hit. The project was organised by the Beth Johnson Foundation, a charity that aims to improve the quality of life  for older people, along with  volunteering organisation RSVP which runs a befriending project for older people called ‘Welcome Friends’. The aim was to use sporting memories and heritage to break down barriers between young and old.

Housing organisation RCT Homes provides accommodation for older people throughout the valleys. RCT Homes supported tenants from its sheltered housing complex Summerdale Close in Tonteg to get involved in the project.

As part of the project twelve children from Llanilltud Faedref Primary School in Church Village produced a film about the history of Pontypridd Rugby Club. The ten and eleven year old pupils interviewed tenants from Summerdale Close to record their memories of the club. The resulting film also features interviews with former players, supporters and even tea ladies!

Kian Withy, aged 11, was in Year 6 at Ysgol Llanilltud Faedref Primary School, when he took part in the project. Kian said,

“It was really good interviewing all the different people. We spoke to Joyce, Teg and Molly who were tea ladies at the club, as we wanted to know what they got up to when they did their jobs. Joyce had some really good stories and it was so interesting.”

Rena Karadogan, RCT Homes’ Care and Support Manager said,

“With older people, especially men, becoming increasingly isolated in the communities they have grown up in, RCT Homes is keen to work with other organisations to provide opportunities for older people to engage with younger people.

“The idea of a sporting reminiscing project was welcomed by tenants who live at Summerdale Close. The complex already has a number of activities and a good social scene but we are always keen to support tenants who want to involve themselves in community activities.

“The project has had an added bonus in that the local school children and tenants from Summerdale Close now have a much better relationship. It has broken down barriers and fear of the unknown and now they are on first name terms when they chat in the street.”

The final film will be used by Welcome Friends to engage with more older people who are at risk of isolation.

To find out more about RCT Homes’ sheltered accommodation call RCT Homes on 08453 014141. To find out more about RSVP’s Welcome Friends Reminiscence Project call 07776 140585.

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