Two of the UK's biggest charities are teaming up to help address health issues for older people across the country.
The Football Foundation and Sport Relief are launching a £500,000 initiative aimed at helping the over-60s stay active and healthy. The initiative offers football club community schemes the chance to bid for funding which will enable them to develop and manage a community project aimed at getting older people in the community to take part in a local health and exercise programme.
One key focus of the programme is the link between physical activity and stronger bones and muscles. The exercise programme will improve participants' balance, strength, suppleness and mobility – therefore likely to give them more independence in later life.
Another key objective is to increase the social opportunities for older people. Isolation for this section of society is an increasing issue. This programme will not only improve the health and wellbeing of this group but also reduce the social exclusion that many face.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "This is an exciting new venture which will help improve the quality of life for older people and provide important opportunities to stay fit and healthy."
Initially the programme will be delivered by community coaches at 15 professional football clubs, which, if successful, will be expanded to more clubs across the country. The Football Foundation will centrally manage the programme, as well as monitoring and evaluating it.
Community schemes from across the country have applied for grants and the assessment process is now ongoing. The successful applications will be announced in August 2008.