Walking football: Age UK Sheffield and Community Wellness Services team up to begin new sessions
Age UK and Community Wellness Services have come together to start walking football sessions in Sheffield to promote exercise and social contact.
The project is funded by The FA and Sports England on behalf of Age UK Sheffield, and is delivered by Community Wellness Services.
Sessions began in June and have already seen plenty of people getting involved. Taster sessions for the walking football are free.
Initially, the sessions were started to help people in the community following the pandemic and help them get back to full health and fitness. The project focuses on over-50s who may also be living with health conditions.
Community Wellness Services have opened the sessions to anyone over-50 regardless of ability or experience. They want to keep people nimble on their feet and in a good state of mental health.
The charity’s overall aim is to have over 1,000 people across the country active through walking football. In Sheffield, Community Wellness aims to have 100 people involved in the walking football sessions, with 70 currently involved.
David Birds, director of Community Wellness Services Ltd, said: “We only started the scheme five months ago but we are really seeing huge benefits. As the project expands we are looking to set up a ladies only session and possibly also a mixed session so we need more people!
"Our over-50s are finding it to be the perfect way to combine physical and mental well-being with fun and friendship.”
Kelly Thomas began the sessions when the programme first began, and took to it so well, she is now a qualified coach and is soon starting her own sessions as part of the programme.
Kelly said: “The sport has given me a new lease of life as my confidence was very low and I had poor health. Meeting lots of new people and taking part over time has restored my self-confidence so becoming a qualified coach is fantastic.”
Joanna Woodward, from Age UK Sheffield, says that there is still time for more people to join in.
"We’re trying to get as many people involved as possible, and when you see how much it means to people and how much it can change their lives for the better it’s quite humbling to be a part of it,” she added.