Walking Football sessions for Bury’s over-50s are leading to success both on and off the pitch.
Open to all, the sessions take place at Castle Leisure Centre in Bury every Tuesday from 11.15am to noon and are proving a big hit with residents.
A number of the regular players formed a team called Bury Relics to compete in Greater Manchester’s walking football league. They have now received a boost from Rock Healthcare, who have sponsored a full kit that both the 60-plus and 65-plus sides will wear.
The weekly sessions are run by coaches from Bury Football Club Trust and leisure centre staff. The cost is £3.50 (pay and play) and it’s free to those on a Bury Council leisure membership package. If you’re aged 50-plus or have a long term health condition and want to get back into walking football, go to www.bury.gov.uk/wellbeing
Lee Buggie, principal physical activity development officer at Bury Council, said: “Walking football is on the rise across England, so I asked my exercise referral officers at BEATS to see whether there would be an appetite for an over-50s walking football session at Castle Leisure Centre, funded by Bury Public Health. We’ve gone from five or so regulars to around 25 to 30 players of various abilities, and have had to open up both sides of the main hall. The sessions are great fun and non-competitive and open on a ‘pay and play’ basis for those wanting to give it a try.”
The Bury Relics could be described as the more competitive arm of the 50-plus walking football sessions, but it’s also a valuable source of friendship, with players in regular contact and attending social events together. For more information, tweet @Buryrelics or turn up on a Tuesday at Castle and ask for Keiran or Lee.
Keiran Tilley, Bury Relics Manager, said: “In just six months we have created two teams to compete in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League, which is no mean feat. It’s fantastic to find a sponsor like Rock Healthcare who stepped in to replace our old kit with a brand new one. All our members are very grateful for this support and we hope we can do justice to the kit.”
Paul Massey, business development partner at Rock Healthcare, said: “I am a long standing supporter and advocate of physical exercise and the positive effect it has on both physical and mental health and wellbeing. My connection with the BEATS team goes back some years, and I am proud to actively promote the work of the team within GP practices in Bury.
“Walking football is a really exciting concept, and I’ve been following the progress of Bury Relics from the very start. It’s really great to see the positive results it is having, not just on the field but among the team and its supporters.
“Supporting the local community is just one of the reasons Rock Healthcare was set up, and we hope our small contribution will go a long way to making a difference to people’s lives.”