The Age UK Walking Football Programme

The Football Association and Sport England

Client: Age UK

In 2019, Age UK, the FA and Sport England came together to form a dream team.

United by our shared goal of making football accessible for all, we worked together to set up the Age UK Walking Football programme, bringing the sport into the heart of local communities. We wanted to engage older people, particularly those from underrepresented communities, to increase physical activity and tackle social isolation.

The pandemic created many challenges, especially for older people. With so many shielding at home and unable to leave the house, our programme was more vital than ever to help older people get moving again after months of inactivity.

Together we rose to the challenge. Working as a united team from the start, we’ve launched 42 walking football groups, engaging over 800 older players at over 7,000 individual games, and the programme continues to grow, with 32 more groups kicking off in 2022.

Not only have these games increased older people’s activity by one day per week, while reaching underrepresented communities – including older people living with dementia and older women – it’s also brought older people together, with a purpose, after months of isolation. This consortium has scored the perfect hat-trick for the team.