Walking football has provided more than just exercise for a group of people with mental health problems in Bristol. Talking to one of the participants, we get a real sense of what became important for them.
“It has been good – I wasn’t doing much before that like going out or anything really… it’s good for my mental health to be with people and talking to people and things like that ‘cos I am meeting new people…I feel in general confident to be around people, the social aspect, and go to the shops, or gym and things like that… Something to do to, to keep busy, to be sociable and to exercise more. It’s a big help for mental health, just knowing that I am not on my own being social, walking around town from the bus and knowing that I am going to see people here is a big help…”
In addition to gentle exercise, walking football has helped these people improve the social elements of their lives.
The walking football sessions were run as part of an evaluation project overseen by Healthwatch Bristol. Sessions were carried out by Bristol City Community Trust, and were a collaboration with Second Step, Bristol Active Life Project, and University of the West of England.