Join the walking football revolution
By David Wood
Where: Stratford Park Leisure Centre, Stroud
When: Monday, December 10, 10am
Next week is Walking Football Week in Gloucestershire - and anyone can come along and try this version of the beautiful game free of charge.
Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire Football Association are laying on a free session at Stratford Park Leisure Centre on Monday, December 10, to introduce the game to as many new players as possible.
Walking football is an adapted version of the beautiful game for men and women, and provides a wide variety of health benefits, such as an improvement in general health, balance, enhancing psychological wellbeing and reducing stress levels.
This format of the game is very accessible and is also used across disability football, for injury rehabilitation and for those of any age who don't feel suited to the full pace game.
"It's a great way to get fitter and make new friends, it's good fun and not over-competitive," said Stroud district councillor Steve Lydon. "As someone with a long-term heart condition, I find it's not overly tiring too!"
Sessions run at Stratford Park Leisure Centre on Mondays from 10am to 11am and when the teams kick off on Monday, December 10, participants will do so free-of-charge.
Those who do not wish to actively play the game can engage in other aspects such as team manager, administrative roles or officiating.
"One of Stroud District Council's key objectives is to promote health and wellbeing for everyone," said community services and leisure committee chair Councillor Mattie Ross. "Walking football sessions are inclusive and reach people who might think that sports activity is not for them.
"The sessions are popular but more players are always welcome, and this free-of-charge session provides an ideal opportunity to try it."
Currently more than 600 players have participated at 19 weekly sessions and in the 17 teams in the Walking Football League in Gloucestershire.
"We want these numbers to keep on rising, so that more and more people can experience the benefits of walking football," said a GFA spokesperson.
"Throughout the week we will be give emphasis to different areas and versions of the game and visit many sessions throughout the county."
GFA will give advice on who they should speak to get involved, who it is suitable for, where the sessions are, why they should take part, when each session takes place, how they can get involved, and how more people can set up new sessions.
When you can get involved:
Monday 10/12/18 - Launch Session at Stroud - Turn up and play day! Stratford Park Leisure Centre, 10am-11am. An opportunity for people in the area to come and try one of the weekly sessions for free!
Wednesday 12/12/18 - Disability Walking Football. Oxstalls Sports Park, Indoor Hall, 10.30am-11.30am. Witness how walking football is being utilised to engage those in care homes in activity that gets them out from their normal surroundings and active!
Thursday 13/12/18 - Refereeing Walking Football. Cirencester Arena, 11am-2pm. The latest round of the 60+ division of the Gloucestershire FA walking Football League takes place with live streaming of matches and interviews with our best referees. We will also be releasing information regarding the NEW FA Walking Football Referees course. Contact Jack Stanbury on 01454 615888.
Stroud District Council also runs walking netball sessions with Gilly Slater Consultancy every Friday from noon until 1pm, and walking rugby with Gloucester Rugby from 10am to 11am every Thursday.
To find out more, call the centre on 01453 766771 or visit the centre.
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