Older Peoples Day Kicked Off with Football Match in Bristol Refereed by Minister for Pensions Steve Webb
UK (News4us.com) October 1, 2010
A five-a-side football match organised for the over-60s in Bristol has kicked-off thousands of events being run across the country today to celebrate Older People’s Day (1 October). The Day highlights the important contribution that older people make to society.
Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb, visited the Extra Time project, where he refereed the match at Bristol Rovers’ stadium between a team of over-60s from the Swindon Town Extra Time project and a team of Bristol Rovers coaching staff.
Extra Time is a national programme, designed and funded by the Football Foundation and Comic Relief, that uses sport to improve the physical and mental health of older people. It is delivered by 24 football clubs across the country. The Minister also took part in other Extra Time activities with the older people, including armchair aerobics and skittles.
Seventy-nine year-old Pat Martin, who attends the group and took part in the day’s activities, said: “I have rheumatoid arthritis and my husband Len has Alzheimer’s. Extra Time gives us the opportunity to get out of the house and mix with other people as well as keeping active. There are also seven women at the group whose husbands have dementia or Alzheimer’s, so it’s good to know you’re not alone in what you’re going through.”
Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “Older people are at the forefront of British society today – throughout business and industry, as well as in family life. Currently 13.4% or 1 in 7 of people in Bristol are aged over 65 and the figure is set to rise to 15.7% or 1 in 6 within 20 years!
“We must harness the skills and experience of our older generations and Older People’s Day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the important roles that older people play here and all over the world.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are, of course, delighted that Minister for Pensions and local MP, Steve Webb, is helping us celebrate national Older Person’s Day by visiting Bristol Rovers’ excellent Extra Time project today.
“Extra Time is a very important programme that fills a significant gap in the lives of thousands of older people across the country, many of whom would otherwise suffer social isolation and deteriorating health.”
Peter Argall, UK Learning and Development Manager, at Comic Relief added: “The Extra Time projects, in partnership with the Football Foundation, are making a real difference to the lives of many isolated and disadvantaged older people. I feel that this work chimes well with the theme for UK Older People’s Day 2010 of ‘getting and staying active in later life’ and wish everyone a successful day at Bristol Rovers.”
Events will be taking place throughout the country at community centres, theatre groups, shopping malls and libraries, including exercise classes, dances, craft fairs, skills workshops and sporting competitions.
For more information, contact:
Rory Carroll (Football Foundation) on 0845 345 4555 ext. 4280 or 07545 932432
Claire Djordjevitch (DWP press office) on 02920 804232
Out of hours: 07966 134 172
Notes to editors
To find out more about UK Older People’s Day and for information about events taking place in your area, visit www.fulloflife.direct.gov.uk/older-peoples-day
Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town are two of 24 football clubs across the country that delivers Extra Time projects for older people in their local area.
Delivered by professional football clubs, Extra Time uses a wide range of activities, from badminton to bowls, to improve the physical and mental health of older people.
To find out more about the Extra Time programme visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk/our-schemes/extra-time/
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