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Active Ageing project to give Bristol's older generation a sporting chance

Bristol Sport Foundation has teamed up St Monica Trust, The Anchor Society and LinkAge Bristol to launch a new project set up to transform attitudes to - and opportunities for - sport and physical activity in over 55s.

Active Ageing (Bristol) is a fully inclusive programme, which is jointly funded by The Anchor Society, Bristol Sport Foundation and St Monica Trust, with support from LinkAge Bristol. It will build on existing provisions and develop new opportunities to encourage people aged 55 and over to become and stay active.

The project aims to allow everyone - regardless of their age, background or level of ability - to live actively to their fullest potential.

As we get older, we are far more likely to be inactive, with a large number of older people doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week - and *two fifths of older people saying that their television is their main form of company.

Research shows that keeping as active as possible is good not only for your physical wellbeing, but also your mental health, helping to reduce the risk of depression, heart disease and dementia, increasing your social networks and reducing the risk of becoming isolated and/or lonely.

Bristol City Community Trust's Walking Football programme (JMP UK).

Karen Lloyd, Active Ageing (Bristol) Manager, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be involved with this ground-breaking initiative. Not only does this initiative provide people with the opportunity to increase their level activity in later life, it also helps to enhance their well-being and social networks as well." 

Kris Tavender, who manages the Foundation’s Golden Memories programme – targeting over 55’s living with dementia and those challenged by social isolation, depression and loneliness – said: “Active Ageing is an opportunity for genuinely passionate and driven groups in Bristol to come together under one banner to really make a difference to older people across the city.

“Sport, physical activity and general social interaction – what we are really looking to do is build pathways to friendship, and put an end to inactivity.”

"Active Ageing is an opportunity for genuinely passionate and driven groups in Bristol to come together under one banner to really make a difference to older people across the city."

Kris Tavender, Golden Memories programme manager

Opportunities currently available include walking football, rugby, netball, basketball and cricket, as well as ‘Walking for Health’, gig rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

Bristol Rugby Community Foundation have been developing Walking Rugby for more than 12 months across the Greater Bristol area and now has south (Greville Smythe Park, Monday mornings) and north (Westbury Fields, Wednesday mornings) hubs and a self-sufficient satellite club at Kingswood Rugby Club.

These all add into the Walking Sport provision - working in partnership with Bristol Sport Foundation - including Walking Football (Bristol City Community Trust), Walking Badminton (Bristol Jets Community), Walking Basketball (Bristol Flyers Community) and Walking Netball.

Bristol Rugby Community Foundation's Walking Rugby programme in action at Twickenham (JMP UK).

Bristol Rugby Community Foundation has recently launched its latest pilot at St Mary’s Old Boys Rugby Club, and is always seeking new local combination and sports facility partners to develop new hubs.

For more information on Walking Rugby at Bristol Rugby Community Foundation - and other Walking Sports at Bristol Sport Foundation - please contact programme manager, Kris Tavender (ktavender@bristolrugby.co.uk).

If you would like to find out more about Active Ageing (Bristol), click here.

*(Age UK, 2014)