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Age UK Walking Football Programme

Age UK worked with Sport England and the Football Association from 2021 – 2023 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.

Together, we aimed to:

  • Reach more than 1,000 older people, offering them physical activities to help stay fit and well.
  • Provide a space for older people to connect and interact, thereby helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
  • Increase participation in walking football across England with a focus on targeting those from lower socio-economic groups, older people with long-term health conditions and groups that may be marginalised from society.
  • Encourage sustainability of walking football groups to continue beyond this programme.

By the end of the Walking Football Programme in December 2023 we had achieved this and so much more!

  • 1833 Older People took part in the sessions.
  • 86 Walking Football Groups.
  • 38 Local Age UK’s took part in the Walking Football Programme.
  • Over 2800 Walking Football Sessions were delivered.


We’re incredibly proud that, as of November 2023, 69% of the groups established with this funding will continue beyond the funding, either delivered solely by the local Age UK, in partnership with an external organisation, through management of the group by a partner organisation or by the participants themselves.

The external evaluation, along with the learnings of other local Age UKs, is also integral to supporting all local Age UKs to deliver further walking football and other physical activity opportunities. We shared the findings from the evaluation, our own learnings from the Programme, and those of the participating local Age UKs at an online event open to the whole Age UK Network on 13 December 2023.

Local partners involved with the programme
  • Barnsley
  • Birmingham and Sandwell
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bolton
  • Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset
  • Bradford and District
  • Bristol
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Calderdale and Kirklees
  • Carlisle and Eden
  • Devon
  • Faversham
  • Gateshead
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • Herne Bay and Whitstable
  • Hull
  • Hythe and Lyminge
  • Kensington & Chelsea
  • Lincoln and South Lincolnshire
  • Manchester
  • North Tyneside
  • North Yorkshire Coast & Moors
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • Plymouth
  • Salford
  • Sheffield
  • Somerset
  • Stockport
  • Sunderland
  • Trafford
  • Wakefield
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • West Cumbria
  • West Sussex, Brighton and Hove
  • Wigan Borough

Top of section

Taking time to do the things you enjoy

We spoke to Denise Welch before a game of Walking Football to hear about the importance of staying active for your mental and physical health.

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The many wins of walking football

Four local Age UKs discuss the benefits the Age UK Walking Football Programme is bringing to older people in their communities.

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Last updated: Jun 20 2024

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