Stonehaven Strollers success

From Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership

In Partnership with Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network (MCHLN), Stonehaven Community Sport Hub have been supporting the community to develop Walking football, with weekly sessions now taking place every week at Mackie Academy at 4 pm, before moving back outside as the weather improves this year.

Walking Football is a simple adaption from the sport that targets those of any age and has leagues being introduced all over Scotland. The main rules include the game being non–contact, players only taking 3 touches before releasing the ball, ensuring the ball remains below head height, and that there is no running!

Organised by MCHLN volunteer and lead coach Allan Glennie, sessions have grown in popularity since they first started back in May 2023. Allan was already travelling to Aberdeen to take part in sessions and having done that for almost 2 years decided to see if there was something in the local area he could attend. Discovering there was nothing locally, he contacted Jane Mitchell at MCHLN and together with the help of Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Community Sports Hub officer Greg Welsh, they organised a block of sessions to understand the local demand. Since then, participant numbers have slowly grown to the current level where they have 20 attending weekly and are even looking at options for additional sessions in future.

Talking about the success of the project, Jane Mitchell said: “This has been a great piece of work, together with Allan and Greg, we have been able to deal with practical elements such as volunteer support, sourcing funding, helping to advertise, and secure lets for the group, which has allowed the players to focus on playing the sport they love.”

Greg Welsh added: “The most pleasing thing has been the social growth within the group, they now have a What’s App group where people communicate with each other and seem to have built a network of friends, they even organised a Strollers Christmas lunch at the end of 2023. This shows the power sport can have in a community like this.”

Allan is delighted with the success of the sessions and commented: “I love playing football, and I didn’t want to stop playing but realised I could no longer keep up with the younger ones. This has allowed me to keep playing something I love and keep my levels of fitness up too.”  The success of the strollers has also led to further conversations around more activity that they may look to develop, with early discussions now taking place to establish some targeted group exercise sessions in future.

We’d also like to acknowledge the input of Ben Girdwood – a young, self-taught videographer who helped us celebrate the success of the project by creating this short film which you can view below. Ben stated, “It’s been really special to be able to use my skills as a videographer to help promote a group which has such a positive impact on the local community’. This is a fantastic piece of work by a very talented young person, and we hope to be able to work with him again in future.

You are invited to watch the video and learn more about this fantastic project here: https://youtu.be/d8ZwIzwOtPc

For more information on the sessions or to find out how you can get involved, contact office@MCHLN.org.uk or Call 01561 378130