A NEW charity tackling dementia, depression and loneliness is calling on the “catalytic” powers of sport to get conversations rolling.

Whether it’s a legendary team, a sporting hero, or recollections of chilly cross-country runs in school days, sport’s ability to unite and create seemingly indelible memories is what Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland is all about.

In West Dunbartonshire, three groups meet at Crosslet House care home and Chest, Stroke, Heart Scotland in Dumbarton, and Dumbarton Library, welcoming people with varying conditions.

Maurice Donahue, chief operating officer of Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland, explained: “I just think sport is an easy hook. You can show a picture of a player and someone will say, ‘I remember him’.

“We look at the old and new. Recently we’ve been talking about the European Championships and the open water swimming in Balloch.

“That started us talking about swimming and I was asking the group about their experiences of swimming. Some were saying how they used to swim in the River Leven. It’s all relatable.

“When you start to ask about sports, everybody at some point will have something to say – whether they’ve played it before or watched it on TV.

“It’s amazing what comes out.”

The chance to reminisce about Rangers teams of the past and catch up on the latest achievements of today’s sporting stars is the big appeal for Angus Bremner, 87, who attends both the Dumbarton Library and Crosslet House sessions.

“It’s mainly football we talk about,” Angus said.

“It’s important. We talk, we’ve all got a few memories.”

Maurice is now seeking volunteers to help expand the charity’s reach and get the sessions running on a weekly basis.

“Our volunteers could be people who might be retired, or people who are not working who want to give something to the community,” Maurice said.

“It’s open to anybody. They just need to be enthusiastic and be empathetic towards the conditions we are dealing with.

“It’s about bringing people together, irrespective of the condition they have and having a bit of a laugh and some fun and banter.”