City College Plymouth students are encouraging Armed Forces veterans aged 50 and over to join them for weekly exercise sessions in a bid to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community.

With the health and wellbeing of students, staff and the community playing a vital part of the College’s vision for the next ten years, plans are now being rolled out for the creation of a community wellbeing hub. As part of this, the College has teamed up with Age UK Plymouth and Plymouth Argyle Community Trust to deliver walking football sessions to Armed Forces veterans aged 50 and above or disabled.

The sessions are being supported by level 1 sport students who will benefit from the experience of interacting with members of the public, preparing them for their future careers in the fitness and exercise industry.

Student Timea Tatar said: “The walking football sessions are lots of. They are really useful for building our confidence and they will give us experience of leading exercise sessions for members of the public.

“Physical activity isn’t just good for the body, it is great for the mind too; but what is really good about this scheme is that it also tackles the problem of loneliness – something that often goes unseen in the community.”

Mark Channing, College sport lecturer, said: “We have supported similar activities in the past that have always been well received by the public. Now, with our new strategic actions supporting the College’s vision and purpose,  community engagement is now a huge part of the College’s plans and we hope to reach as many people as possible.”

Walking football is simply a slower version of the game that allows people to continue playing later in life. With no running, jogging or heading – and tackling with reduced physical contact – walking football is a fun and safe way for players to enjoy football and socialise together.

Walking football runs weekly on Mondays, 2.00pm to 3.00pm, at Brickfields Sports Centre. All disabled and veterans aged 50 and over are welcome. Sign up via https://faevents.thefa.com and click on the Age UK Walking Football icon. Alternatively, you can turn up on the day. Sessions cost £5 but the first one is free and refreshments are available.

Karen Dorow, Executive of Health and Lifestyle Professions at City College, said: “City College is in a fortunate position to be able to support our local community whilst also preparing our students for successful futures.

“We are all delighted to have been asked to be part of this partnership that is actively improving the lives of people in our community. We have plans for more activities that will drive further engagement with the public and we are really excited to be able to help people in this way.”