Walking football is increasing in popularity across the country, and this is no different in Salford.
The Salford Community Walking Football Club, or SALCOM, run a variety of sessions, in the morning or afternoon. These are on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays.
Each session costs three pounds, and is held either at the Salford Sports Village, or at the Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre. These sessions are outdoors and indoors respectively.
Between the sessions they run, they have over a hundred members.
Members range from those in their fifties, to those in their seventies, and their abilities range from beginners to the more advanced.
Eric Lowndes acts as club secretary, and has been at the club for four years. He believes the increase in the popularity of walking football in Salford can be partially attributed to increased awareness from the FA.
“The FA run a competitive league now, and more and more people are realising your playing days do not have to end in your thirties or forties. The focus is taken away from the running, and more emphasis is on movement, passing and shooting.
“Its a great way to keep playing football, and stay healthy.
“For those who want to take it more seriously, we do run competitive matches as well.” says Eric.
The benefits of walking football are not only physical however, with Eric also believing in mental health benefits.
“You get a lot of men who are socially isolated. There’s a lot of people out there that if they didn’t have something like this, they wouldn’t socialise.
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“We have had some people who when they first came were introverted and shy. They come down, they really enjoy themselves, and after the game they get a chance to make friends and talk to each other.” says Eric.
Not only does the club provide an opportunity for members to keep active and socialise, but it also plays a big part in the wider community.
“Last year, we managed to raise a thousand pounds for MIND, which is a mental health charity, and this year we are on track to raise the same for BASIC, the Brain and Spinal Injury Centre. This was all with the help of our social secretary Bob Fletcher.” says Eric.
If you are interested in joining the Salford Community Walking Football Club, they meet on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday. For more information about the club, click here, and they can also be contacted on their Facebook page.