“Aged 70, I’m at last playing football”- and you can too!

Published Monday, 13th July 2015

Following a successful pilot scheme between the council and York City Football Club Foundation a new opportunity is available to anyone aged over 50 who would like to step up to walking football.

Walking football is a popular, slower-paced version of the game where running is treated as a foul. This ruling makes it suitable for older people who would like to return to sport or take up a new challenge.

The pilot ran for six weeks from early June with equal numbers of men and women aged up to 70 years. Each session involved some football skills coaching by York City Football Club Foundation followed by a competitive but friendly five-a-side game. The pilot was successful in introducing an accessible version of football to York, with regular attendance recorded by all participants.

Christine Leach, a 70-year-old participant on the pilot scheme, said: “I would love to have played football as a child, but back in the 1950s it wasn’t the done thing for ‘young ladies’. At primary school I did get to join in with the lads at playtime and kick a ball about, but then I went to an all-girls secondary school and, although I thoroughly enjoyed playing rounders, netball and athletics etc, I still missed football!

“The 50+ sessions are great. Aged 70 I’m at last playing football. We’re getting skills training, improved fitness, meeting new people. I’d recommend it to anyone – not just the over 50’s. I’m very grateful to both the council and York City Football Club Foundation for introducing me to this activity.”

Simon Wood of York City Football Club Foundation, said: "We are big believers at York City Foundation that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate in football at any age or level: the sessions have been enjoyable and competitive with every participant feeling the benefit."

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Working with partners to provide sporting opportunities that help residents of all ages keep active and involved is so important and I’m delighted with this joint venture with York City Foundation.”

New sessions start on Monday 20 July from 10am to 11am at Burnholme Community Sport Hub on the artificial pitch. Participants can simply turn up and pay a small charge on a weekly basis.

For more information about this recreational and fun opportunity or to find out more about other 50+ activities visit www.york.gov.uk/engage or contact Megan Hale, City of York Council’s Older People’s Physical Activity Officer on 01904 551094, email megan.hale@york.gov.uk

Or, for more information on York City Football Club Foundation, please call 01904 559508 or email simon.ycfc@live.co.uk

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