ORGANISATIONS and venues across the region are preparing to play a full part in Gloucestershire FA’s Walking Football Week programme, writes Simon Parkinson.

The county association has teamed up with a series of sports centres and other football providers to extol the virtues of the slower-paced game between Monday, December 10 and Saturday 15 and demonstrate all that is available to older, possibly infirm, men and women eager to keep active.

GFA football development officer Jack Stanbury said: “There are currently more than 600 players participating at 19 weekly sessions and within the 17 teams in the Walking Football League in Gloucestershire, which is an eye-watering sum.

“We want these numbers to keep on rising so that more and more people can experience the benefits of slower-paced football participation.

“Throughout Walking Football Week we will give emphasis to different areas and versions of the game and visit many sessions throughout the county.”

Jack added: “The aim is to highlight opportunities to all who may wish to get involved in this version of football throughout Gloucestershire and Bristol.

“Walking football is an adapted version of the beautiful game, aimed predominantly at older males and females, which can provide an array of benefits such as improvement in general health and balance. It can also enhance psychological wellbeing and reduce stress levels.

“This format of the game is incredibly accessible and is also used across disability football, for injury rehabilitation and for those of any age who don’t feel suited to the full-paced game.

“The other benefit is that those people who do not wish to actively play the walking game can still engage in other aspects of it, such as team management, administration and officiating.”

BBC Radio Bristol will be promoting the project via Geoff Twentyman’s show on Wednesday, December 5 at 5.45pm, and BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Nicky Price will be doing likewise on Monday, December 10 at 3pm.

The complete itinerary of events and activities is:

Monday, Dec 10: Session launch and free turn-up-and-play at Stroud’s Stratford Park Leisure Centre, Stratford Road, Stroud, GL5 4AF (10-11am).

Tuesday, Dec 11: Bristol Walking Football (GFA’s first affiliated walking football club) event at Horfield Leisure Centre (10.30-11.30am). Watch former Bristol Rovers captain and current broadcaster Geoff Twentyman play alongside Bristol’s finest walking footballers.

Wednesday, Dec 12: Disability walking football, Oxstalls Sports Park indoor hall, Tewkesbury Road, Gloucester, GL2 9DW (10.30-11.30am). Witness how walking football is being utilised to engage those in care homes in activity that gets them out of their normal surroundings.

Thursday, Dec 13: Refereeing walking football, Cirencester Arena, Kingshill Lane, Cirencester, GL7 1HS (11am-2pm). See the latest round of the 60+ division of Gloucestershire FA Walking Football League taking place, with live streaming of matches and interviews with the best referees. The GFA will also be releasing information regarding the new FA walking football referees course.

Friday, Dec 14: Free lunchtime turn-up-and-play session (12.30pm-2pm) at Gloucestershire FA, Oaklands Park Stadium, Almondsbury, BS32 4AG. There will be players from the current WFA England Walking Football team taking part, offering the chance to play with the best walking football talent in the country. The hope is to entice some talent from local professional clubs, past and present, to take part.

Anyone wishing to learn more about GFA Walking Football Week, or what’s available locally to players and would-be participants, can email Jack Stanbury at or call him on 01454 615888 (option 3 at the automated prompt).