Partnering with Forces in the Community to offer free walking football sessions
Over the summer, Nottingham Forest Community Trust partnered with Forces in the Community to provide free walking football sessions at Carlton le Willows Academy. The free programme aimed to provide an avenue to integrate veterans further into society by providing free spaces for individuals aged 50+ – whether ‘squaddie’ or ‘civvy’. The sessions took place on Mondays over 6 weeks during August and September, in addition to NFCT’s existing Wednesday and Friday sessions at The Forest Sports Zone.
The Nottingham Forest Walking Football programme provides players with an adapted and slow-paced version of the beautiful game and is a great way to keep active and engaged in physical exercise. As well as the physical benefits, it gives participants a chance to see their friends, former colleagues and make new friends too. The importance of social interaction is invaluable at any age and as a Trust we are proud to be able to provide a platform whereby our participants can engage with like-minded individuals.
Forces in the Community, based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, is a charitable organisation dedicated to helping the ex-military community. With their volunteers, staff, and partners’ dedication, they always strive to improve the lives of everyone who needs help within the community. Mark Leek, Operations Manager, provided an insight into the partnership with NFCT and an overview of the sessions.
“Forces in the Community contacted Nottingham Forest Community Trust and asked them to help us motivate veterans to take part in walking football sessions and see if we could put a team together.”
Mark continues, “The sessions bring veterans together with regular on-the-pitch activity. It’s helped lift the mood of those who may be socially isolated or face symptoms such as depression. It also brings companionship, focus and distraction and offers a time to talk to others with similar backgrounds who face similar wellbeing challenges”.
“It is a good opportunity for individuals to get both physically and mentally fit as the game encourages players to work as a team and engage with others.”
He also added “As a charitable organisation, we are proud to have partnered with NFCT as both charities have come together in order to support veterans in and around Nottingham”.
At the end of the six-week period, participants received a free branded Macron shirt which all players wore at the final free session. Nottingham Forest Community Trust is very thankful to Mark and the working relationship that has grown with Forces in the Community.
Following the success of additional session, the Trust made the decision to continue running the walking football programme on Mondays for the foreseeable future and participants now have the option to play walking football 3 times per week.
The Nottingham Forest Walking Football programme has been running for 2 years now and its success in that time has seen the programme grow to 3 sessions per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday with 28 slots per day available to males and females over the age of 50.
To attend the sessions, it costs only £3 or, £1 for veterans and participants are encouraged to book online. The programme regularly organises competitions and tournaments with other local teams so there could be an opportunity to represent NFFC!