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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Walking football charity kicks off

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The slowed down version of the beautiful game is aimed at older people and those recovering from injury

Former footballing stars are being encouraged to lace up their boots – even if they have been out of the game for several decades.

A new charity has been launched to promote walking football across the country.

Walking Football Scotland aims to get older players to stay involved in physical activity for longer and for to attract those looking for a fun and social way to stay active.

Walking football is a slowed down version of the beautiful game. The sport has grown rapidly across Scotland by allowing people to reignite their passion for football, despite injury or illness, simply by slowing things down.

The new organisation already has over 45 member organisations running more than 70 sessions each week.

The project has been co-ordinated by partners including the Scottish FA, Age Scotland, the SPFL Trust and Paths for All as part of the Scottish Government's Active Scotland strategy to encourage more people to undertake physical activity.

The charity was officially launched this week by Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport at an event in Stirling.

Campbell said: “I took part in a game at this summer’s Walking Football Festival in Glasgow and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can vouch for walking football as a great way to get active, have fun and socialise all at the same time.

"Walking in itself can reduce the risk of a range of health conditions and promote better mental health. The additional social benefits that come from playing in a football match make this an excellent and inclusive game which I am proud to support."

Gary McLaughlin, chairman of Walking Football Scotland, said: “Walking football is a fantastic game. I play myself and would urge anyone and everyone to find their local centre go along and give it a try. The groups are very welcoming, and anyone can take part no matter age or ability. You don’t need football boots or special kit.”