Across October and November, Lincolnshire FA hosted three separate friendly walking football festivals with great success. Results were not recorded, with the emphasis on players enjoying walking football in a social playing environment, keeping physically active and making new friends.
On 30 October 2021, the first-ever female-only walking football friendly festival was held at The Priory Pembroke Academy. This saw over 30 females in attendance, with a large percentage experiencing walking football for the very first time in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. This was the first of 4 female specific friendly walking football festivals to be held across the season.
The first-ever Over 65 friendly walking football festival was held at The Venue, Gainsborough, on the brand-new football turf pitch. This event saw 6 teams and around 40 participants come from around the county. Clubs included Boston United, Gainsborough Trinity, Lincoln Invictus & Stamford Strollers. It was also excellent to welcome Welton Imp Walking Football club to the event which was held on Wednesday 10 November 2021.
It was then over to the Over 50s who, on Sunday 21 November, were afforded the opportunity to play on the recently laid 3G surface at Lincoln City Football Club. A tremendous 11 teams were in attendance from across Lincolnshire, with over 80 individuals present. Again, it was brilliant to welcome new clubs Louth Town & Lincoln City Foundation who we hope to see again in the future. Boston United, Gainsborough Trinity, Grimsby Corinthians, Lincoln Invictus, Long Bennington, South Lincs Steelers, Stamford Strollers and Sutton Sharks made up the rest of the teams. It was excellent to be able to host an event for the Over 50 market given their absence from the Lincolnshire FA Walking Football League this season.
Complimentary water and fresh fruit was available to all players and match officials at each event.
One of most pleasing aspects across all 3 friendly walking football festivals was the opportunity to offer attendees of the recently held walking football referee workshops the opportunity to put their learning into practice. Over 75% of the match officials used had been through one of the three workshops which were held in Grimsby, Lincoln & Stamford, and delivered by Mick Hill of Grimsby Corinthians FC across October.
Jake Park, LFA Football Development Officer, said: “We’ve made really positive strides in relation to walking football over 2021. The friendly walking football festivals were a great way to round off a year in which we’ve delivered the brand-new Lincolnshire FA Walking Football League, supported 28 individuals who attended walking football referee workshops, and overseen the start of female only sessions within clubs. We’re looking forward to another exciting and progressive year for walking football in Lincolnshire across 2022.”
Anybody who wishes to be a part of the walking football festivals throughout the rest of the season should contact Jake Park (Male Pathway Officer) or Steph Powell (Female Pathway Officer) on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com