Saturday 19th November is #InternationalMensDay and we’re showcasing three community groups, supported by our Healthy Fenland Project team, that provide opportunities for friendship and physical activity through the shared interests of the local men who run them.
‘Walking Football – March and Chatteris’ is coordinated by great mates Steve Wright and Tony Whibley. The March group meets at Elm Road Sports Field at 10am on Wednesday mornings, and Chatteris 10am on Monday mornings at Chatteris Town Football Club, West Street.
All abilities are welcome for 60 minutes of play, followed by a hot drink and biscuits at the Club House or Changing Room.
Steve tells us. “The culture that is promoted at Walking Football is to benefit from physical exercise and then to enjoy some social interaction afterward. People attending Walking Football have varied backgrounds and come with different levels of mobility, health, and skills. Therefore, it is important that everyone is made to feel comfortable to contribute accordingly to their personal health situation, which they may or may not decide to share with the group. This is not a competitive arena where everyone is urged to give their utmost effort to win the game. Players less mobile and/or less skilled are included in the session by the ball being passed to everyone and their achievements with intersections, tackling, passes or goals are celebrated by all.”
Steve says,” The banter between players can be very entertaining and this continues whilst we enjoy the refreshments. It is not unusual for some players to bring in some goodies they have made at home, such as fairy cakes, flapjacks, or chocolate rice crispy cakes.”
“All sessions are conducted outside, so in the summer training shoes would be quite appropriate. However, when the ground is wet, boots are more conducive to prevent slipping and sliding. There are a few spare boots if anyone is lacking this equipment although football boots can be purchased locally or on the internet at low cost. Any clothing is welcome and we encourage people to dress according to the weather. Coloured Bibs are provided to distinguish which team you are playing with.”
“Walking Football is a great environment to make friends. Many players make contact with each other during the week, therefore, the social interaction can be enjoyed throughout the week if one wishes. This is very important to mental health. Fitness is also important, and this is an obvious benefit for everyone attending on a regular basis. Some players have undertaken medical operations and received positive feedback on their physical health from medical staff and this fitness has had a constructive impact on the recovery process.”
Walking Football has evolved to be much more than the Monday and Wednesday sessions, with trips arranged to International Football Games, Football Stadium and Duxford Air Museum. The team also meets for a traditional Christmas Lunch and social get togethers.
For more information about the group, you can find them on Facebook @Walking Football – March and Chatteris or speak to our Healthy Fenland team.
Ellie Buckton from our Healthy Fenland Team tells us about the setting up of the ‘Make and Mend’ group in March. “The Men’s Shed has been a project that has taken approximately 3 years to complete. The difficulty was finding a space in March to erect a custom-built unit. Following on from some joint work, FACT in March offered us an area at their compound which was gratefully accepted and so the plan was put into action.
Initially a survey was conducted, and local men were invited to a coffee morning to establish if there was a need for such a venture, nineteen men put their names forward on the day to show their interest.
Healthy Fenland helped with the funding for the building which was supplied and fitted by a local company in March.
The aim of the shed is to provide a safe space for men to chat and make friends, helping to combat loneliness and isolation in a meaningful and creative environment. Tools and materials are supplied so it is just a case of turning up and using your imagination.
The shed currently opens on a Wednesday and Saturday, but it is hoped to increase this so that it is open every day, we just need a few more volunteers to offer to open up.”
For further information on the Men’s Shed please contact Dave Everett on 07766 335236 or Ellie Buckton on 01354 707411.
March & District Model Railway Club has been well established for 19 years as a group, well known in Fenland.
Chairman, Keith Sharp, tell us, “We have a very active and hard working committee with full support from members. The club meets every Wednesday night at St Mary’s Church Hall, Westry, March from 7.pm to 10pm, with a tea break and chat at about 8.30pm.
The club agreed in 2018 they would like to support a community project assisting organisations improving the lives of elderly and frail residents of the local community, a proposal to construct an O gauge layout which could be taken out to people in care homes and similar places. Healthy Fenland kindly agreed to help fund this project, also the club obtained further support from firms relating to the model railway hobby. The club constructed the layout now called Fenland Yard which completed nineteen visits prior to the first lockdown.
The club was shut down from March 2020 to September 2021, we started meeting again, then shut down from the end of November 2021 to February 2022. Members have been working on layouts and constructing a multi-gauge test track. So far this year the club has had four talks to members, also visited six organizations with layouts.”
If you live in Fenland and would like help to set up or develop a group or activity for the benefit of your community, please get in touch with the team on 01945 464289 or email us at email@example.com . Interested in joining a group near you? Speak to your district #CommunityNavigator https://care-network.org.uk/community-information-and-advice/ or send us a direct message #PeopleAtTheHeartOfEverything