Walking football is really kicking off with Northumberland residents as players across the county start to take up a more sedate version of the beautiful game.
A new group formed by residents from Blyth and the surrounding area is now up and running, or rather walking, and another group is also set to launch at Morpeth Leisure Centre.
Walking Football is open to adults of any age and the rules are the same as normal five-a-side except that no running is allowed.
Partners, including Active Northumberland and Northumberland FA, are organising the sessions which provide opportunities for adults to try this new form of the game growing in popularity across the country.
Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Walking football offers a new way to keep fit for the over-50s and for people who want a slower-paced team game than traditional football.
“It’s vital that we all keep active, whatever our age, and this new version of the sport can help us stay healthy through regular exercise.”
Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “The weekly session at Blyth is going from strength to strength and it is a fantastic way for former players to take part in the game they love. It is also a great way to get into football if you have never played before.”
It is hoped that as the groups flourish, they could link with teams across the county to organise fixtures.
Gary Middleton, football development for Active Northumberland, said: “It’s great to provide an opportunity for people to play the game once more at a different pace but which still maintains the core skills we know.
“Some of the participants are being able to reconnect with their younger days and pull on their strips once more and they love it.”
The sport may be played at a gentler pace but it still provides a good workout, boosts coordination and strength, and keeps the mind active in a different but fun way.
Wansbeck MP, Ian Lavery said: “The walking football project gives people, who maybe aren’t quite as mobile as they used to be, the chance to get back on the pitch again.
“The social side of playing a team sport provides a chance to meet new friends.”
and the prospect of new teams forming could herald the start of a new county league.”
For anyone interested in attending the weekly walking football sessions, they run every Friday from 2pm to 3pm at Blyth Sports Centre at a cost of £3 per person.
A new session starting at Morpeth Leisure Centre on Monday from 2pm to 3pm with a view to expanding sessions to the north and west of the county very soon.
To find out more about walking football, visit www.activenorthumberland.org.uk or contact Gary Middleton on 07917 166832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to get back into sport or try a new sporting activity in Northumberland, visit www.northumberlandsport.co.uk