A walking football team is looking razor sharp after being kitted out thanks to funding and a sponsorship deal.
In 2013 as part of its Fit Forever programme to improve the health of local residents aged 60 and over, St Helens Borough Council’s Sports Development team got the ball rolling to form St Helens Beacon WFC.
Now operating independently since 2015, keeping a close relationship with sports development, the Sports England small grants-backed club provides exercise opportunities for approximately 30 members – with an age range from 40 to 80 years of age – playing social five to seven aside games at Sutton Leisure Centre every Wednesday, 6:30pm-7:30pm, and Ruskin Sports Village on a Monday between 11.00am -12.00pm.
The club, which has competed in league events and is now looking at entering tournaments, recently received a boost after receiving funding from the Lord Lieutenant of Liverpool which went towards providing every player and representative with a badged rainproof jacket. While shaving company, Harry’s, which promotes better mental health care for men – initiatives like walking football can help with – have sponsored playing kits and footwear.
Michaylo Fedyk, Secretary of St Helens Beacon WFC, who used to work as a sports development officer for St Helens Borough Council, said: “The aim of our club is to expand the opportunity for adults – irrespective of age, ability or gender – to participate in healthy exercise and social wellbeing.
“We’ve formed a good group here but are always on the lookout for more people to come down and see what we’re about. I’m really proud of how far the club has come in a relatively short period of time – and now we’ve received funding and sponsorship backing, it’s nice to look the part as well.”
A spokesperson for St Helens Borough Council said “Many people that participate in competitive sport think their playing days are over when they reach a certain age or because of injury – and that can be hard mentally for a lot to accept.
“Initiatives like walking football prove that doesn’t have to be the case, and people can carry on playing the game they love, socialise and meet new people – improving physical and mental wellbeing as a result.
“I’m pleased to see that the club, with assistance from our fantastic sports development team, has gone from strength to strength. I wish them the very best for the future and look forward to more updates on their further progress and achievements.”
St Helens Beacon WFC welcomes new playing enquiries, particularly at Ruskin Sports Village, with the club keen to develop more interest in female participation.
To find out more about St Helens Beacon WFC, visit www.sthelenswalkingfootball.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Fit Forever programme, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/fitforever