Football NSW’s Walking Football program received a major boost after a multi-million-dollar sporting grants announcement from the Federal Government in NSW.
The announcement comes as part of a federal government initiative aimed at the over-65s, with FFA successful in its application to the ‘Move it Aus – Better Ageing’ grant program.
Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge acknowledged the positive effects the grant announcement would impact on Walking Football within Australia’s largest member federation.
“Football NSW was pleased to be able to contribute to the FFA’s application for this wonderful grant, especially given the success of our various walking football programs to date.
“A number of our associations have taken up this initiative and with additional funding we hope to roll the walking football centres out across the whole of the state.”
Minister for Sport Senator Bridget McKenzie was delighted with the announcement.
“As outlined in the Government’s National Sport Plan – Sport 2030 – no matter what your age and no matter what your stage, we’re encouraging all Australians to embrace the philosophy of “Movement for Life”.
“This is a really important step in that process.”
Walking Football is a huge phenomenon overseas, with some 800 clubs in England alone, and it’s been successfully piloted in a number of Australian states over the past 12 months.
FFA CEO David Gallop is particularly excited by the opportunity this program will bring.
“Walking Football offers a great low-impact, team-based exercise, providing physical & mental health benefits and social connectedness for older Australians.”
“It reinforces football as the sport that everyone can play regardless of ability or whether you’re aged under 5 or over 75.”
FFA will partner with Active Ageing Australia and a number of community organisations to help build awareness of the program and the benefits of physical activity, and federal Minister for Senior Australians and Ageing, Ken Wyatt MP is looking forward to the outcomes.
“Studies show sport is fun with serious benefits including better heart health and weight control, while it reduces the progression of chronic diseases and the risk of falls.”
The Walking Football Program will once again be delivered across the Football NSW footprint in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.
It is hoped that Football NSW’s allocation from this national funding will allow up to 35 Walking Football hubs in year one with as many as fifty in year two.
Football NSW officially launched its Walking Football programs in collaboration with several Football NSW Associations in 2017 those included Nepean FA, Bankstown District Amateur Football Association, Canterbury District Soccer FA, Football South Coast, Hills Football, Gladesville Hornsby FA and Wreck Bay SC who ran it at the National Indigenous Football Championships.
Walking Football has been a huge success since launching in 2017 providing male and females over the age of 50 the opportunity to continue playing or participate in football for the first time in a fun, sociable and inclusive environment.