As the governing body for Walking Football in England, it is our duty to help develop the sport at all levels. With the majority of players coming into the sport for fun and fitness, this grassroots support is the cornerstone of everything we do.
“Our aims are to support grassroots Walking Football at all times. The sport gives players at the grassroots so much pleasure and tremendous health benefits. We like to recognise and celebrate the dedicated people who help to make grassroots Walking Football what it is”
Stuart Langworthy | Walking Football Grassroots Director
- Writing and running of a referee course – In England and Wales a total of 250 Club and Tournament referees have now been trained. We have also helped to train over 50 in countries overseas. Having a competent referee at club sessions as well as tournaments is vital in terms of the game being played correctly and safely. The more qualified referees there are at club sessions the safer and more consistent the game will become.
- Development of a coaching course – The nature of Walking Football is such that at most clubs and session players just want to turn up, warm up and play – there is very little coaching that takes place, but we have responded to calls from this country and overseas to write, accredit and deliver a grassroots Walking Football Coaching Course.
- New Club Toolkit – Written by WFA and sponsored by Pure – to help any new club or session with some sensible, easy to understand help and guidance. This can be supported by willing, experienced and helpful volunteers who will answer the call to help whenever possible – either virtually or in person.
- LOTG – Written so that the game is non-contact, safe and simple, as demanded by our affiliated clubs. Reviewed by referees and clubs each year, so very much owned by the Walking Football community.
- Guide to Walking Football – As a follow-up to the Club Toolkit – written to support and inform any new players thinking of taking up the sport. Again, produced and sponsored by Pure Retirement, this document has been very well received in the Walking Football community with many messages of thanks for this ‘helpful and informative’ publication.
- Website – a new informative website with an up-to-date ‘find a club’ section, that gets over 3,000 hits a month
- The National Cup – Played firstly in regions – this is the largest solely Walking Football competition in the country – now sponsored by P2U. In 2021 a record of over 240 clubs from all over the country have entered.
- Newsletter – Keeping all clubs up to date with all that is happening in the Walking Football world – with club features, international news etc. This is the regular, go-to document for walking Football clubs.
- Regional Teams – For the more able club players and acting as a gateway for players into the WFA England Squads, 5 Regional Teams have been formed at 3 age groups – these will play in the new National Super League – the Premier League for Walking Football in England – now sponsored by P2U. The plan is to get 3 regions and enable Regional Tournaments for all 3 Women’s age groups as well as Over 75s. Further development is to enable yet more players to take part in a two-tiered system – Premiership and Championship regional Teams
- Supporting new sessions – WFA members have regularly supported new clubs and new sessions starting up in their area
- Working with County FAs and local leagues – many examples around the country of where WFA players and officials work with local FA Leagues to help run their competitions smoothly
- Dick Kerr Cup – supplying all the referees for this famous annual grassroots women-only competition
- Other Leagues and Competitions – the East Midlands League, the South West Super Cup and just two examples of how the WFA wants to get more involved in local and regional grassroots leagues if they do not already exist.
- Grass Roots Awards – To recognize and celebrate the suburb individual and group work that takes place day in day out across England. Coach of the Year, Team and Club of the Year Awards were presented in the first year. These will be presented again at the end of 2021.
- Health and Safety – The WFA have led the way with organisations to build awareness of health and safety issues – such as the Lion’s Club, Message in a Bottle and working with the providers of pitch-side defibrillators.
- WFAi and Parkinsons – The WFA is proud to be supporting the development of Walking Football for Parkinson’s – developing appropriate training routines and supporting clubs to develop Parkinson’s specific sessions. Taking this development further and working with local GPs and Health Care providers to encourage more people to take up the game who are living with a variety of impairments, as we know that the physical and mental health and welfare benefits of playing the game can be enormous.
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