County Councillors help launch a healthy football initiative

Glossop County Councillors George and Jean Wharmby recently helped to launch a five-a-side football session, which aims to contribute to the health and wellbeing of its participants and the wider community.

The new session, which takes place every Thursday from 11am at Glossopdale Community College’s Hadfield site and goes under the name of Glossop Gentlemen FC, is aimed at getting inactive football fanciers moving by offering them some gentle physical activity in a social setting.

The programme, which grew out of the WellFit Gamesley project run by the Cottage Lane surgery of public health advocate Dr Alan Dow, was launched with a game of Walking Football which involved local MP Andrew Bingham, County Councillor George Wharmby, County Councillor Jean Wharmby, Councillor Anthony McKeown and Glossopdale Community College principal Steve Playford.

The five-a-side soccer session for men and women who prefer their physical activity at a manageable pace is being run by local social enterprise WellFit Health & Wellbeing CIC as part of their bid to get inactive people just a little more active and is directly funded by Derbyshire County Council through their Sport Action grant scheme.

WellFit Director Mick Owen explained:

“We started running what we called Slipper Soccer sessions indoors as part of WellFit Gamesley which we launched back in May. We found that the space and the surface available were too restrictive so, with the help of a Sport Action grant from Derbyshire County Council and the support of football development officer Leanne Pace at the college, we have moved to the 3G pitch and opened up the session to anyone who can attend. The surface is perfect for older knees and ankles and we have far more room.”

The sessions, which run from 11 am to noon every Thursday till Christmas, will be led by FA coach Jake Connor from St Philip Howard Sports Centre and will initially start at a walking pace to accommodate anyone recovering from injury or using the sessions to improve their basic health.

After playing for a full 45 minutes, County and Borough Councillor George Wharmby was full of praise for the concept;

“I thoroughly enjoyed the session and didn’t realise how much exercise I was doing. I think I used as many muscles laughing as I did chasing the ball. I am glad Derbyshire County Council’s Sports Action Grant funding is able to support a community-led programme such as Glossop Gentlemen which is improving public health and contributing to individuals’ sense of wellbeing.”

After the game, Andrew Bingham said:

“It's really great to see the power of sport being used to get people active. Football is the national game and initiatives like Glossop Gentlemen give people who are less active the chance to enjoy it at a more appropriate pace. The coaching was excellent, the banter tremendous and the whole experience was a real tonic. I hope to be back”