THE PACE may be slower than its full-bodied daddy – the beautiful game. But the action certainly isn’t any less frantic.
That’s what pensioners across the Gazette area have been discovering during an innovative walking football activity course.
The scheme, staged by Brighton & Hove Albion’s charitable wing, Albion in the Community (AITC), is a rising sport designed to help keep elderly residents fit.
For the past six weeks, dozens of people have been taking part in courses in Littlehampton and Angmering.
And to mark the end of their time playing the slower paced, non-contact version of the traditional game, there was an exciting end-of-season match between teams from both communities, with Littlehampton proving victorious.
Wick resident Jim Davis, 65, has always had a love for football and was part of the winning side.
He said: “It is great to be able to play football again, I never thought I would. I love the social side of the game. It is fantastic.”
Walking football is a game designed for older people who still want to play the sport and improve fitness. Games are played on small-sized pitches and players are not allowed to run or jog while the ball is in play.
The sessions are part of a number of free or low-cost activities offered by AITC’s Young at Heart programme, run in partnership between the charity and Arun District Council
AITC physical activity instructor, Nicky Buckthorpe, said: “It has been great watching these men and women enjoy getting involved in walking football. Not only are they getting fitter, they are having fun and meeting new friends with a common interest. Some are already talking about meeting up each week to play walking football and keep themselves active”.
AITC’s walking football courses launched yesterday at Southfields Recreation Ground and Angmering Community Centre, in Foxswood Avenue, at £10 per course. These six-week courses are open to anyone over-65 living in Arun.
For those interested in enrolling in future programmes, or who want to know about the Young at Heart, which also offers Nordic walking courses, line dancing and other activities, contact Nicky on 07876898054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org