Still game? You’d better believe it! Football scheme proves big success


Sometimes pulling the trainers on and just having a good old fashioned kickabout can be the best ‘anti-ageing therapy’ of all!

When most footballers get to that proverbial ‘certain age’ they rather reluctantly accept that their playing days are over - but the group currently taking part in the ‘Back In The Game’ programme at the Sports Hut, Galgorm have decided to give old father time the ‘yellow card’.

The programme aims to provide long term opportunities for men and women to re-engage with football in their local communities. The group is made up of people from all ages and all walks of life.

The objectives are to increase physical activity and provide social opportunities to those who may feel vulnerable, isolated, are suffering from mental health issues, long term unemployed or socially deprived.

Categories include 35+, 45+ and 55+years of age.

Ian Getty, Irish FA coordinator, is organising the 10 week programme and says: “The reason Ballymena was chosen for this programme is because we now find ourselves in an area of high unemployment. With this comes the risk of mental health issues over job losses, redundancy and anxiety over future employment.

“I could never have imagined the response we have received with this programme, as we have 40 people coming along on Tuesday nights from 5.00pm until 8.00pm. These are people who just love playing football against players in their own age group. Everyone realises that they are now leading a healthier lifestyle and the social integration is just fantastic”.

To conclude the sessions, everyone meets in the upstairs lounge for tea/coffee and an opportunity to have a chat, make new friends, re-engage with old ones and discuss the highs and lows of their evenings work!

Two teams will attend a regional “Back in the Game Festival” in Newtownards in March of this year, with a similar event will taking place locally in the summer. A National Festival, involving all regions, will be held soon after.

So if you might be interested, get the boots polished and get in touch with Ian on 07713003376.