It all started when...
Walking football began in Scotland in late 2012, initially starting in Midlothian with early games also played in Tranent through the Hibs Fit Fans in Training programme and in less than four years has become one of the fasting growing sports in the country.
In just over four years there are now over 80 groups with around 1500 participants, covering most regions with an age range from early 40’s to late 80’s. Membership in the group/clubs go from 10 to over 100 with new participants joining every week. Many of the groups welcome participants with disabilities, dementia, and those recovering from major illnesses, offering an opportunity to greatly increase fitness levels and improve social integration.
For more active participants there is also the opportunity for competitive play with many groups organising friendly tournaments and festivals. In June 2015 the first National Walking Football Tournament, organised by AgeScotland, took place in Edinburgh attracting 14 teams, which grew to 24 in 2016 and produced a record entry of 32 teams from all over Scotland to Glasgow Green in June 2017.
Following several steering group meetings which included representatives of participating clubs and groups, it was decided to create a governing body to develop and promote walking football.
In April 2017 Walking Football Scotland was formed, a board of six trustees elected and in September 2017 achieved charitable status and affiliated to Age Scotland. Supported by Paths for All, Walking Football Scotland is now working in close partnership with the SFA, SPFL Trust, Age Scotland to raise the profile and support groups across Scotland.
In the longer term, discussions are also underway with local health services and other organisations to consider referral schemes into walking football programmes.