Leamington volunteer sets up walking football to help others get fit

Active South Leamington are running walking football and five-a-side football sessions at the Westbury Sports Ground on Saturdays.
Active South Leamington are running walking football and five-a-side football sessions at the Westbury Sports Ground on Saturdays.

A Leamington carer who has been giving up his spare time for years to helping others has set up a new community sports session.

Nick Wilkins, who is a full-time carer for his wife, volunteers for both Leamington Night Shelter and the recently developed LWS shelter and has volunteered for numerous other causes in the town, including Bath Place Community Venture.

He and his friend Lee Blake have now set up walking football and five-a-side football sessions through Active South Leamington at the Westlea Sports Ground off the Queensway on Saturday mornings.

Nick, 38, who used to run a football team, said: “Walking football is five-a-side football, but you’re not allowed to run. It’s quite difficult to stop yourself from running.

“It’s aimed at anybody aged 14 and over. It doesn’t matter whether you are physically fit or not.

“Walking football isn’t as active as normal football so it’s great for people who aren’t too fit, but at the same time, those who are used to normal football find it challenging.”

The walking football sessions - which are delivered by Leamington Football Club - take place every Saturday from 11am to 12pm and participants are charged £1, but this gives them free entry to join in the five-a-side football session at 12.30pm.

Nick said: “The aim is to help people who don’t have too much money or who aren’t used to exercising to get active.

“I am a full-time carer, so I wanted to do something to get myself active and out the house.”

Active South Leamington aims to provide exercise, sports and activities in the Brunswick and Sydenham area, thanks to funding from Sport England, People’s Health Trust, Healthy Warwickshire Partnership, Orbit, Warwick District Council and others.

The organisation is a partnership of Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs, Warwick District Council, Support Sport, and Sky Blues in the Community.

Other activities run by Active South Leamington include yoga, chair-based dance, volleyball, skateboarding/street dance, boxfit and bootcamp.

To find out more, visit www.activesl.org.uk