Walking Football produces positive steps forward

8th June 2017

The Community Trust’s Walking Football project has teamed up with Welsh charity, Change Step, to deliver weekly sessions.

Aiming to make a positive impact, both physically and socially, on Change Step’s participants, the sessions have proved popular.

“Walking Football has been a huge success with attendance at the sessions growing every week in parallel with the skill level and competitiveness shown in each session,” said Jack Spillets, the Community Trust’s Senior Health Trainer.

“Having regularly joined in with the sessions myself, it is easy to see the benefits of these sessions can have on an individual's health and well-being.”

One of Change Step’s participants, Mark Oelofse, added: “We’ve been playing for about two months. It has helped me improve my fitness but also my mental stability. It allows me to cope better, and adapt, with civilian life. It has also helped me to communicate better with civilians.”

Another service user, Dave Hampson, added: “I’ve noticed a big improvement on my health, as well as helping me to get out, meet people and being active, which, being veterans, a lot of us need.

"The aspect I enjoy the most about Walking Football is the camaraderie between us all. When we’re together, it’s just like being one big family.”

Delivered by veterans for veterans, Change Step offers peer mentoring and help to access relevant services, including support with mental health, substance misuse, criminal justice and housing issues and the charity has recently been working with the Community Trust in a variety of ways.

In addition to the Walking Football sessions held at Baglan Boys and Girls Club, the Community Trust has delivered a relaxed healthy programme to Change Step’s participants, and is supporting the charity’s upcoming awareness raising challenge.

“We cover all of Wales so we’ve decided to do the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge to raise awareness of the charity,” said Kevin Bogdan.

“We’ve got about 20 people, both service users and staff, taking part and Walking Football has helped us to prepare. Some of these boys haven’t walked further than to a bus stop in years, but Walking Football is excellent.”

To donate to support the Challenge, text PEAK + £5 to 70070 and if you want to get involved with the Community Trust’s open sessions, feel free to turn up at play at Meadow View Sports Complex on a Monday (12-1pm) or at Llandarcy Academy of Sport on a Thursday (3.15-4.15pm).