More than 70 people of all ages and from across Wiltshire took part in a successful walking sports festival at Springfield Community Campus, Corsham, on Sunday (10 September).
The festival, which was hosted by Wiltshire Council in partnership with Wiltshire County FA and England Netball, was a huge success and saw adults of all ages and abilities take part in walking football and netball matches.
Anita Gallop, a walking netball participant, said: “The day was all about fun, laughter and enjoyment. I never expected to be playing netball in my 60s, but thanks to the walking netball sessions I am and I absolutely love it!
“This inclusive sport is a great way to keep active and meet new people.”
Both sports involved participants who attend the regular sessions, as well as people who came along to try walking sports for the first time.
Tony Norton, lead volunteer and participant for walking football, said: “The event was very well organised and it was great to see so many new and old faces coming together and playing in mixed teams from across the county.”
Walking sports are adapted from traditional sports and take place at a slower pace, making them ideal for older participants, people recovering from an illness or injury, and those who wish to take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle.
The walking sports festival, along with the weekly walking sports sessions, is part of Wiltshire Council’s adult participation offer, which focuses on creating sustainable informal sporting activities.
More than 550 individuals have now signed up to weekly sessions across both sports, highlighting the demand for opportunities of this nature in Wiltshire.
John Thomson, cabinet member for leisure said: “We were delighted to see so many people enjoying the walking sports festival.
“We have a thriving walking sports programme here in Wiltshire and the festival was a great celebration of walking sports and the benefits of taking part.
“Evidence shows that walking sports have a positive impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of participants, and we hope the festival will encourage more people to take part.”
Wiltshire Council’s walking sports programmes are held at locations around the county and are open to adults of all ages and abilities. People can enjoy sessions in walking football, netball, hockey, rugby and basketball. To find sessions near you, go to www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-returning-to-sport or call Becca Higgs, sports development officer, on 07584 509219.