MK Dons SET and Age UK Milton Keynes launched the first offering of walking football for older age groups specifically for Women as part of the legacy work of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in Milton Keynes.
The Women’s Walking Football sessions were developed for women aged 55 and over as a great opportunity to get outside, make friends and have fun. Additionally, it provides a social space for participants to enjoy free hot beverages in the clubhouse afterwards. The activity is supported by MK College Group alongside their men’s walking football offering.
The programme has seen significant growth since its inception, with 22 participants registered and an average of 10 at each session. There is now an increasing demand for an evening session. Furthermore, participants are finding opportunities with other providers to play more football as a direct result of taking part.
One participant from these sessions, Annette, has always been active through going to the gym but wanted to get involved in fun group activities outside. She also wanted to increase her activity levels to improve both her physical and mental wellbeing. Annette and another participant are now working with MK Dons SET to develop an evening session which will be used to create a team to play matches against other women’s walking football clubs
Annette was apprehensive at first to participate as she hadn’t played football before but always loved watching the game. She slowly gained the confidence to ask about volunteering at session, which she is now really enjoying. Annette is currently completing The FA Playmaker course and aspires to complete her Introduction to Coaching Football qualification with The FA and beyond in due course.
Annette said: “I have gained knowledge and confidence to follow my dreams and overcome obstacles. My physical and mental wellbeing have improved since I started partaking in walking football. l have met so many nice people of all ages who share the common goal of playing football and thereby improve our physical and mental wellbeing.”
On the success of the legacy work in Milton Keynes, Rachel Pavlou, The FA’s Women’s Development Manager – Diversity & Inclusion said: “The MK Dons SET Women's Walking Football session in partnership with Age UK Milton Keynes is a great programme for women to get outside and play football in a supportive group for those who didn't get the opportunity to when they were younger. I really enjoyed attending and is fantastic to see Annette wanting to develop as a player into a coach."
Anna Shiels, Football Relationship Manager at Sport England said: "It is great to see a Sport England-funded women's walking football session being developed in Milton Keynes. This is a brilliant opportunity for older women to get active and be social in an environment which they feel comfortable in. The partnership with Age UK Milton Keynes provides a great way to engage with the community and create a sustainable programme.”
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