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Walking footballers taking old age in their stride

Written by Euan Duguid.
Published at 13:53 GMT on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013.

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THE cut-and-thrust of the beautiful game will be brought down to less frantic pace at Fir Park next week – with the advent of walking football!

But the close-season match, which has all the rules of the normal game - without running - isn’t part of the Steelmen’s build-up to the forthcoming season.

It’s being laid on for over 65s as part of a special event to showcase a variety of activities, services and practical help available to older people and their carers in the area.

Ageing Well with Positive Choices in Motherwell is being organised by North Lanarkshire Carers Together (NLCT).

The event is part of the multi-agency Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) strategy. The overarching aim of RCOP is to allow people to continue to live full, positive and independent lives by strengthening local communities.

The day kicks off on Friday June 21 at 10am in Motherwell FC’s Centenary Suite, finishing at 2pm and Melissa Keyes of NLCT is urging people to come along.

Melissa said: “There will be many activities on the day, including Walking Football for anyone, male or female, willing to give it a try!

“Walking Football is becoming big for older people in England. Motherwell Football Club Community Trust is helping out with the match in the stadium grounds and we’re looking to see how popular it is here.

“Who knows, we may be able to put a team together on the back of it!”

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There will also be relaxation therapy sessions available for older people and their carers, information about befriending services, community transport, carers support and much more.

Melissa added: “Essentially, we are inviting all older people and carers to come along and find out what is going on in their area and have an opportunity to join in with activity groups.

“A big part of the RCOP programme is also about helping older people beat loneliness and isolation and events like this, which showcase the variety of activities out there, are key to achieving that.”

Research shows most older people would prefer to remain in their own homes, with support, if they are unable to look after themselves.

To make this a reality, RCOP is combining the expertise of voluntary, third sector organisations, like NLCT, with partner agencies including NHS Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council and the independent sector.

Melissa explained many of the agencies involved in the partnership will be in attendance.

She added: “In practical terms, RCOP is a collaborative approach to devise ways to support the growing numbers of people aged 65 and over, focusing on providing more care at home, homely settings or in the community.

 “Anyone coming along will be given an opportunity to hear what all these services do and how they can benefit. The key is really about getting that vital information out there.”

Part of the event’s focus will draw on Motherwell becoming Scotland’s first Dementia friendly town.

The dementia friendly community initiative saw shops, services and businesses in Motherwell town centre being asked to sign up to support people with dementia, their families and their carers.

For more information on the day please contact Melissa Keyes or Pauline McIntosh on 01698 404055. Transport can also be provided.

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