Chelsea Foundation’s renowned walking footballers are back in full swing with extra sessions, new locations and competitive matches following their enforced pandemic break.
The popular pastime is proving perfect for boosting wellbeing in both new and previous participants who are taking advantage of fresh air, regular physical activity and the chance to meet new people.
Surrey teams are now in a competitive league with weekly fixtures, and new sessions have been set up in central London, Middlesex and Sussex, opening walking football to even more participants. This includes some who have never played football before turning out for charity Age UK.
On Sunday, Chelsea and Birmingham walking football clubs – two of the biggest in the country - came head-to-head before the WSL match at Kingsmeadow between Chelsea and Birmingham Women.
Birmingham sent their men’s and women’s walking teams down to play their Chelsea counterparts next to the stadium before the walkers enjoyed lunch and watched the big match together.
Mark Blythe, walking footballer and health and wellbeing sessional coach said:
'The women’s game contained seven England internationals over both teams and was a quality game. The Chelsea men’s squad was full of lifelong Chelsea fans, now playing for the team they adore. It doesn’t get any better for them than that.
‘Season ticket holder Paul Holmes made his debut as men’s team manager having just been told he needs a knee replacement! There’s no holding him down.’
Ellie Lock, health and wellbeing project officer, added: ‘It’s always great to see our walking football teams in action. Both teams played brilliantly, and everyone had a great time.
‘It was really topped off by watching the women’s match together after our match, allowing the players to have a chat and socialise. After all, this is one of the main reasons we deliver our walking football sessions, to reduce social isolation and build friendships and we are very proud to be able to deliver this for the groups.’
Sheila Richards, Chelsea FC walking footballer and organiser said: ‘It was a fabulous day! A good time was had by all, the games were played in good spirit and we just wanted to show our appreciation for all the effort and time that you afforded to us.”
Email email@example.com to find out more about walking football sessions at Chelsea FC Foundation.