Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Training, TV & TT Times

Things beginning with T.

Training at Elland Road
I was always a little nervous and never fully looked forward to delivering training sessions. Will people turn up? Will they engage and react as we planned? Have we all the resources on hand? Will we actually get the correct messages across and will the learning we are trying to pass on be useful?

That has changed somewhat after having the pleasure of working alongside Charlie Murphy in developing and refining the training for the sporting memories projects across England and Scotland over the last five months. There's still the worries of have I brought everything along and will folk turn up of course, but gone are the nerves as to whether the sessions will engage and get people sharing thoughts and ideas. We've recently trained over ninety people in Leeds and last week we brought a group of those back together as part of the action learning model we are now using on projects. I have to confess to having butterflies once more before the session, as this was to explore how or indeed if, people were using the resources following training, what they thought of the training and what they would change.

The energy in the room was just fantastic and the feedback was truly uplifting. A favourite quote was that one delegate would have loved the session to have lasted at least another hour as they enjoyed the practical experiences on reminiscence so much fun. The project in Leeds is being evaluated by Dr Michael Clark of the Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics and I'm really looking forward to seeing how such a diverse range of people and services (from care homes to leisure centres) develop the use of the approach and what impact it has on those participating in the activities.


We occasionally receive invites to attend sports events and in August we headed to Silverstone. Having met with and gained the support of the British Racing Drivers' Club in June, we headed South to the Classic Weekend meeting. On the first evening there was a wonderful dinner to celebrate 50 years since Jim Clark won the British GP for the first time. We were fortunate to be sat on a table with some of the great man's relatives, friends and fans. A chat with one gentleman who had travelled over from the Isle of Man just for the dinner as he had idolised Clark, led to an invite for us to go talk sporting memories on the island later in the year.

It was my first visit and I certainly hope not my last. What a beautiful place. Whilst much of our time was spent in meetings and presentations, our gracious host kicked off our second day on the island with a 37 and 3/4 mile tour of the TT course. How anyone can learn a course that long and that challenging is beyond me. With absolutely no margin for error, no 'run off' and a scary amount of solid walls and houses the current lap record is an average of over 130mph for the whole lap, just incredible. A spectacle I really must try to see one day. The memories recalled by many we met virtually all included one essential ingredient. Castrol R....

A spectacular drive to work on the mountain road!

During my time working on national mental health programmes, I was involved in making several podcasts on various topics working closely with a film crew. Until this week however, I'd never appeared on the other side of the camera and on-screen. Heading across to take part in Estuary TV's weekly sports show 'On the Bench' I started to plan what I'd say and how I'd respond to various questions I'd anticipated.

They are a very professional and friendly crew at the station, after introductions and a briefing it was time for make-up (please make me look ten years younger....) and then into the studio and on to the couch with fellow guest Andy Carr and regular presenter Rachel Chadwick.

Rachel Chadwick, Andy Carr & me!
It was fascinating to see how autocue works and I was put totally at ease by all in the studio, so much so I probably ended up a bit too relaxed and for a rare moment completely forgot what on earth I was meant to be talking about... Thanks to some skilful editing most of the points I actually planned to cover were included! The main talking point was the launch of the Grimsby Town memories game, which is on Thursday 19th December, their home league match v Kidderminster Harriers. More info at:

We are really looking forward to working with the club and community to raise awareness of dementia and to celebrate the history and heritage of The Mariners