Group photo of walking football players

Optalis Community Lives Wokingham link with Woodley Pensioners Walking Football Club to introduce new walking football sessions

The team at Westmead had been looking for new ways to support customers to increase their physical activity and increase opportunities to participate in a wider range of community activities.

Candice explains – “We re always looking for ways that our Community Lives service can develop and grow its offer. Through consulting with customers we identified that they were interested in football. We wanted to make sure that everyone could be included, regardless of the diverse abilities of our customers, so we suggested a trial of walking football. Which offers low-level physical activity in a safe and inclusive manner. 

I did some research in the area and approached Woodley Pensioners FC, they were very interested and after meeting we put together an initial 6 week programme. Groups from Wokingham, Woodley & Earley day service have been participating.

Woodley Pensioners FC have been extremely forthcoming from the start, this is a first venture for them as they want to be an inclusive club that supports all abilities. They have been really supportive of the group, sharing their skills and knowledge and just having fun.”

Loveleena, one of the participants adds: 

“Its’s been brilliant, running after the ball. We do a match and then have a break and then play again”

The group have already experienced a number of benefits in just six weeks of sessions. Including making new friends and meeting people from other clubs and groups. They have all been more active and have had the opportunity to explore a new environment within their community.

Danny explains

“I think it’s good, nice, got lots of friends”.

John, Chairman of the WPWF team adds: “We’ve seen a change already in the last six weeks, they have developed new skills and improved their technique.”

Candice continues “The six week pilot has been a brilliant success. A second 6 week course will now run and it will be reviewed at the end of summer. We are also looking at setting up some friendly matches for the groups.”

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