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WOMEN’S WALKING FOOTBALL THRIVING IN WIGAN

27 March 2019

Wigan Women's Walking Football Club have more than 50 members and host weekly sessions at Wigan Soccerdome.

  • Wigan Women's Walking Football Club were formed in 2018.
  • Sessions take place every Monday at 8pm-9pm at Wigan Soccerdome.
  • Club recently competed in the FA People's Cup event in Manchester.

“I’d never played football before in my life even though I’ve had a season card with Latics for years, but I absolutely love these sessions and the women are fantastic,” claims Fran Calder, 51, member of Wigan Women’s Walking Football Club since its inception last year.

Supported by Wigan Athletic Community Trust, the club were formed by Nicol Meredith with sessions taking place every Monday evening between 8pm-9pm at Wigan Soccerdome for women of all ages and abilities.

Helping to improve participants’ health and wellbeing while also aiming to reduce social isolation, more than 50 women are registered with the club who recently competed in their first tournament in Liverpool before taking part in the FA People’s Cup competition in Manchester.

Nicol said: “I’ve played football from a young age so decided to set this club up to give something back to the women of Wigan. I wanted to help them get fit, make new friends and ultimately have something for them to enjoy every week because a lot of these women have been socially excluded so football aside they come to the sessions for the social aspect too and that’s so pleasing to see.

She added: “A couple of them have stopped smoking since coming here and others have lost a few pounds here and there, so the health benefits of walking football are great and a lot of the women are generally just looking and feeling a lot better about themselves.”

For Jackie Tither, 58, and Fran Calder the sessions have proven life-changing, with weekly walking football activities helping them to get fitter and improve their overall health.

“I started coming in January after seeing the sessions advertised online. I’ve always had an interest in football but have never really played and didn’t think I’d be able to get into any kind of physical activity again because I had quite a serious back injury a few years ago, said Jackie.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to get back into doing something, and it’s brilliant because there’s no age limit to it and there’s such a plethora of diversity so it’s great for any ability or age as you don’t have to have played football before.

“It’s not just about the physical side of things though because the sessions are good for mental health too and we go out socialising and the girls are just great.”

Fran added: “I love the game of football and have supported Latics for years but have never really played, but these sessions are brilliant and really help with your fitness. I feel a lot better about myself since being a part of the club because I didn’t do any physical activity previously.

“We all have that much fun that we don’t realise that we’re exercising at the same time! We have a great laugh and it’s just so enjoyable every week.”

For more information about Wigan Women’s Walking Football Club, please call Nicol Meredith on 07964 905606.

Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through Together. 

For more information about Together, please click here.


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