Walking football helps Swindon Parkinson's community

By Amanda Wilkins - 9 May 2024

CharityHealthClubs & ActivitiesSport

A walking football pilot programme is helping more people living with Parkinson’s in Swindon to enjoy the sport.

The programme is a joint effort between Parkinson’s UK and the Walking Football Association (WFA).

Waking football clubs in the Swindon area listed by the WFA include Swindon Town Walking Football, Croft Walking Football Club, Swindon Parkinsons Football Club, Royal Wootton Bassett Sports Association, Shrivenham Wanderers WFC and Highworth Town WFC.

The WFA website is https://thewfa.co.uk/ 

As Europe prepares for the start of Euro 2024 in the summer, people living with Parkinson’s in England and Scotland have already been sampling the benefits of playing walking football and helping each other to live well with the condition.

Since its launch in February 2023, 15 football clubs and grassroots football teams across England have benefitted from grant funding to help more walking football projects to get off the ground and help more people with Parkinson’s to get active in a fun and social way.

More than 100 new Parkinson’s walking footballers have taken up the sport since the investment from Parkinson’s UK and the WFA started.

It is hoped that many more people will be able to experience the benefits of walking football in the future.

Premier League teams such as Arsenal FC and Nottingham Forest FC are among the organisations that have started walking football projects to help more people living with long-term health conditions, such as Parkinson’s, to get back into football.

Arsenal’s Community Foundation work has also been featured on BBC’s Match of the Day programme, further highlighting the growth of walking football for people with Parkinson’s.

Walking football events, tournaments and challenges also continue to grow in popularity with the Parkinson’s community at a national and international level.

Parkinson’s UK began funding the Walking Football Association through their Physical Activity Innovation Fund in 2023 and the sport continues to go from strength-to-strength with more clubs looking to get involved across England.

Tim Morton, Physical Activity Programme Lead for Parkinson’s UK, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our work with the Walking Football Association and we hope that even more people living with Parkinson’s will be able to try the sport and live well with the condition.

“Walking football is not just about being physically active, it can also have many social benefits for participants. Being active is so important for people with Parkinson’s as it can help manage symptoms, maintain health and lift your mood.

“It can make you feel good inside and out. The more physically active you are, the easier it is to live well with Parkinson’s.”

Stuart Langworthy, England Team Manager for Over 60s Walking Football at the Walking Football Association, said: “Since our Parkinson’s walking football project started in February 2023, we have seen a marked increase in the participation and engagement from the Parkinson’s community in England.

"We are delighted to see so many participants taking part and enjoying football together.

“We are also grateful to Parkinson’s UK for their support and generosity which has allowed us to deliver the new walking football programme and make it a huge success.

“Quite simply this project has helped the WFA in its drive to increase support for grassroots walking football - and has undoubtedly enabled many more people living with Parkinson's to get up, get out and get active”

To learn more about the benefits of walking football and for further deatils on the Swindon Parkinsons Football Club, follow this link: @walking-football/swindon.

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