Case study: Walking Football in Monmouthshire
Develop and provide opportunities for men and women aged 40+ to participate in a variety of walking sports in order to promote positive mental health.
Through initial taster sessions and blocks of sessions, numbers soon started to increase and social groups formed to support not only the physical activity but to develop friendship. A three way friendly tournament between our Caldicot Leisure Centre, Newport County and Merthyr Town took place to provide the first competitive experience for the players, this was a fantastic success.
Caldicot Walking Football club, in partnership with the local sport development team ran their very own walking football tournament in October 2019, with over 10 teams participating from across the UK and hundreds of players in attendance.
As a result of the success at Caldicot, the Sport Development team then took the initiative to Chepstow. 10 people participated in the first session,
with the majority of these being GP Referral members at our leisure centres.
The development of walking football in Chepstow has been influential to many, and as result has led to the team running their very own tournament in February. There are also ambitions to start up their own Chepstow Walking Football Club, replicating what has been established at Caldicot.
The Sport Development team have also begun the first steps of expanding the walking football initiative to the North of the county, with the initial plans of starting this at Abergavenny and Monmouth leisure centre’s over the summer period. The team also has ambitions of creating a winter tournament between the four Leisure Centre sites.
Since May 2019, Monmouthshire Sport Development have developed and provided opportunities for men and women aged 40+ to participate in a variety of walking sports, our most noticeable impact has come through Walking Football. Walking Football in Monmouthshire has seen a huge impact in 2019. Not only were we seeing a positive impact on physical activity levels, we saw a reduction in social isolation.
The Caldicot walking footballers have now become an affiliated and recognised club, which has allowed them to start entering the Wales walking football league and local tournaments, as well as receiving a recent community chest grant. The club has also represented Wales in national tournaments and currently has 3 players as part of the Welsh national team.
In addition to this, during March 2020, the club are working in partnership with Mind Monmouthshire to run an Active Healthy month, which in turn will work as a fundraiser for the charity to promote positive mental health. We have seen 83 adults engage in walking football with numbers continuing to increase each week.