As part of Men's Health Week 2024, Millwall Community Trust are showcasing our Walking Football Programme at The Lions Centre.

During the 2023 reporting period, the trust delivered a weekly programme tailored for older individuals in the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark. The sessions were made available for free due to funding secured from our partners at Southwark Charities.

The programme aims to unite older individuals from diverse backgrounds by engaging them in enjoyable football activity. This not only fosters a sense of camaraderie but also serves as a means to alleviate stress, combat isolation, and alleviate loneliness. Walking Football plays a vital role in supporting older individuals who may currently lead sedentary lifestyles or grapple with two or three limiting long-term health conditions, including dementia, mental health issues, and limited mobility, empowering them to maintain their fitness and overall well-being.

Benny Stone, participant of the Walking Football Programme at The Lions Centre said: "I really enjoy the walking football sessions at Millwall. I was nervous about going along the 1st time as I'd never played football to a great extent. I was made very welcome & even at my standard; they included me from the start. It's a fun way to spend an hour or so on a Friday morning.

"The group is more of a social group & includes men & women. Some of us meet up in the Millwall cafe first & after the session we use the cafe upstairs in the hub, to have a cuppa & a chat.

"We're all friends together & we enquire about the health of our members who are unwell & keep in touch with them. We organise events outside of the WF such as Christmas Parties & raffles. I have made a lot of new friends since being involved in WF & meet up with them drinks, meals outside of our sessions. We have a Whatsapp group which we use to stay in touch with each other, to comment on games & to organise events.

"It's been very good for my health & encourages me to do more physical exercise. I feel I've lost weight because of it. As I help organise some of the events & friendly games against other WF teams, I feel it's helped me mentally to focus on what I'm doing & what I'm trying at achieve. 

"It also helps me bounce off the others & run my ideas by them & get their ideas & feedback. The WF sessions are now built into part of my & other players routine. We look forward to our games & to meeting up again & catching up with everyone's news. We also discuss ways to improve the game for us & are always trying to recruit new members."

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