Walking Football Scotland (WFS) picked up the prestigious Jess Barrow Award for Campaigning and Influencing at the Age Scotland 2018 National Conference and Awards Ceremony which was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Tuesday 20 March.
The annual event was opened by life peer Lord George Foulkes who was part of the judging panel along with Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive and chaired by Pennie Taylor.
Popular broadcaster Jackie Bird presented the beautiful glass trophy and certificate to WFS Chairman Gary McLaughlin in recognition of the charitiy’s work in promoting the sport and reaching out to more people who are looking for a fun way to stay active.
Also present of stage were fellow WFS trustees Vivian Wallace from the Midlothian Aging Well Project who was instrumental in introducing walking football to the local community in 2012, Colin McKay from Edinburgh City, John Hislop from Gala Fairydean Rovers and patrons, former Scotland manager Craig Brown and World Cup winner Rose Reilly.
The award was named after Jess Barrow, a tireless community campaigner who sadly died from cancer at the age of 43. Jess was a leading voice for the rights of the elderly and played a central role in saving Portobello Baths when they threatened to fall into ruin in the early 1990s
Afterwards Gary, who plays with the Ayr United Football Academy, said “To win the Jess Barrow award is just tremendous, we have achieved a lot in a short period of time and this is the icing on the cake. To us it’s about getting the message out to people to enjoy the benefits of exercise in a safe manner.”
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said “We’re delighted to recognise Walking Football Scotland with this very well-deserved award. It’s wonderful to see how they have inspired hundreds of people throughout Scotland to stay active and rediscover their love of the game.
“Walking Football is a great way for people to keep playing or take up a new sport, no matter their age, mobility or fitness level. As well as being more active, it can help them socialise and make new friends, helping to reduce isolation and improve mental health and well-being.”
Other winners included Gladys Cruikshank (Volunteer of the Year / sponsored by Solicitors for Older People), Dalbeattie Men’s Shed (Member Group of the Year) R.O.A.R (Services for Older People Award) Toe to Toe Footcare (Patrick Brooks Award for Best working Partnership, sponsored by McCarthy and Stone), Scone and District 50 plus Group (Age Scotland Inspirational Award Group) and Mary Walls (Age Scotland Inspiration Award).
A large invited audience enjoyed a presentation on The Changing Role of the Third Sector and Older People by Dr Robert Means, Professor of Health and Wellbeing from the University of the west of England which was followed by a question and answer session with Marjory D’Arcy, Grampian 50 Plus Network, Bill McDonald, Renfrewshire Seniors Forum and Derick Tai from Hawick Senior Citizens to celebrate 75 years of older people’s groups in Scotland.
Age Scotland, part of the UK-wide Age Network, is an independent charity dedicated to ensuring that older people in Scotland get the support and opportunities they need to be able to enjoy a better later life.