A number of EFL Clubs including Crawley Town FC will come together this week to launch ‘Extra Time Hubs’ – a national project designed to engage retired and semi-retired individuals and combat loneliness in the older generation.
Studies show that 42% of those over the age of 55 are inactive and would like opportunities to meet peers to feel less isolated, live well and do things they enjoy.
Launched in line with Loneliness Awareness Week, the Extra Time Hubs will harness the unique assets of the football clubs to bring older people together and provide a range of activities that could benefit their physical and mental health.
Funded with the support of Sport England’s Active Aging fund from the National Lottery, the programme will initially be delivered by 12 EFL Clubs across the country, harnessing the power of football in local communities to bring people together. All 12 Clubs will hold launch events at their respective grounds throughout this week.
Mike Evans Director of Operations at EFL Trust said “We have a BIG ambition - an ambition to help older people to create a national movement of Extra Time Hubs that will make a positive difference to how thousands can enjoy their later years. Extra Time Hubs will enable people to decide which activities they want to do and not be prescribed for them.as well as giving people the opportunity to meet like-minded people and feel less isolated”.
Mick Brown, who attends Extra Time Hub, said, “The project interested me as soon as I saw it because I’ve been looking for somewhere where I could get more exercise and stay active for a while.
It's taken me back 40 years, to when I used to play football and I have met some great people through the sessions.”
Mike Diaper Sports England’s, Executive Director for Tackling Inactivity. Comments “Maintaining an active lifestyle as you grow older delivers massive health and social benefits. However, we know that you are more likely to be less active as an older person.
Often it can feel like the barriers to getting active grow as we age. But there are simple change people can make to get active or stay active and Sport England invests National Lottery funding into projects like the EFL’s Extra Times Hubs to make that happen. I believe that the EFL’s hubs will go a long way in not only boosting activity levels for older adults - we hope to see them bring people together, improve mental wellbeing and resilience while reducing loneliness. The EFL and those working on the Hubs have taken specific care to understand the needs of the older adults taking part in their local areas to provide a fantastic service and prove that getting older doesn’t have to mean slowing down.”
Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.