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Walking Football shows support for Change Step

The Community Trust has continued its support of Welsh charity, Change Step this season through the delivery of Walking Football sessions.

After working with the local military veterans’ charity last year, the Community Trust delivers weekly sessions, as well as a relaxed health programme, all designed to improve the health, well-being and employability of as many of the service users as possible.

Aiming to make a positive impact, both physically and socially, on Change Step’s participants, the sessions have proved popular with both charities.

“Walking Football has been a huge success with attendance at the sessions growing every week in parallel with the skill level and competitiveness shown in each session,” said Jack Spillets, the Community Trust’s Senior Health Trainer. “Having regularly joined in with the sessions myself, it is easy to see the benefits that these sessions can have on an individuals’ health and well-being.”

One of Change Step’s participants, Mark Oelofse, added, “We’ve been playing for about two months. It has helped me improve my fitness but also my mental stability. It allows me to cope better, and adapt with, civilian life. It has also helped me to communicate better with civilians.”

Another service user, Dave Hampson added, “I’ve noticed a big improvement on my health, as well as helping me to get out, meet people and being active, which, being veterans, a lot of us need. The aspect I enjoy the most about Walking Football is the comradery between us all. When we’re together, it’s just like being one big family.”

Delivered by veterans for veterans, Change Step offers peer mentoring and help to access relevant services, including support with mental health, substance misuse, criminal justice and housing issues and the charity has recently been working with the Community Trust in a variety of ways.

In addition to the Walking Football sessions held at Baglan Boys and Girls Club, the Community Trust is supporting the charity’s upcoming awareness raising challenge.

“We cover all of Wales so we’ve decided to do the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge to raise awareness of the charity,” said Kevin Bogdan. “We’ve got about 20 people, both service users and staff, taking part and Walking Football has helped us to prepare. Some of these boys haven’t walked further than to a bus stop in years, but Walking Football is excellent.”

“The challenge hopes to raise awareness of the incredible efforts of the Change Step group as they work to support ex-military personnel in every area of life post service,” added Jack, who is taking part in the challenge. “I believe this is such a worthwhile cause and an event that will greatly benefit the group in terms of awareness, funds and also well-being that I have volunteered to join them on their challenge. Providing the Welsh weather is good to us, I’m sure it’s going to be a hugely rewarding challenge.”

To donate to support the challenge, text PEAK + £5 to 70070 and if you want to get involved with the Community Trust’s open sessions, feel free to turn up at play at Meadow View Sports Complex on a Monday (12-1pm) or at Llandarcy Academy of Sport on a Thursday (3.15-4.15pm).

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