Walking football in North Shields aims to make sport accessible to all

Walking football sessions take place at The Meadows in North Shields. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

People with Parkinson's are being encouraged to take part in a walking football group aimed at making the beautiful game more accessible to those with disabilities.

Last Legs FC is working with staff at The Meadows, in North Shields, to put on the sessions for people with a range of disabilities and mental health conditions.

They have been running for the last six months and have been growing in popularity.

Players of the non-contact sport aim to keep the ball on the ground and move at a slower pace, with participants prohibited from running.

David Noble, who coaches the sessions, told ITV Tyne Tees: "I used to be a service user here at the centre and when that came to an end I started volunteering here and we set up a weekly football session. It's giving something back really."

Coach David Noble says the sessions are good for both physical and mental health. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

He added: "It's great not just for fitness but for your mental health. It's great for your personal wellbeing.

"It's got a good social side to it. After the sessions here we'll go into the room inside and have a biscuit and a cuppa and a bit of a chin wag."

Volunteer Tony Brooke said: "I've enjoyed playing walking football for about a year now. It's really increased my fitness.

"On top of that it's just giving back something to the community. I've enjoyed playing with the lads and getting to know them."

The group was recently given funding from Parkinson's UK to try and get people with the condition to get involved.

Tim Morton, physical activity programme manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Being active is one of the best ways to manage Parkinson’s symptoms, as regular physical activity can improve both long-term physical and mental wellbeing.

"Plus, activities like walking football offer great social opportunities for people with Parkinson's to enjoy."

The sessions take place every Tuesday from 1pm to 2pm and participants are invited to "pay as they feel".

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