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Walking football competition sees care home group take on Premier League side AFC Bournemouth

A goal-scoring care home resident and staff from Care South competed in a special intergenerational walking football competition against teams from Premier League football club, AFC Bournemouth.

Six teams in total competed as AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust hosted its annual walking football tournament at the Ringwood Community Hub. Care South, a not-for-profit provider of high quality residential and Care at Home services across the South of England, are long-time partners of AFC Bournemouth and fielded two teams made up of staff and residents.

The Care South teams played against AFC Bournemouth under-18s and women’s team and a Community Sports Trust over-50s side, competing on a round robin basis with 11 games played over the afternoon.

John, a resident from Talbot View, a Care South home, took to the field for the first time in 45 years and scored a goal in one of the matches. Four residents from Fairlawn, another Care South home, came to cheer on the team, join in the warmup and enjoy a kick-about themselves between games.

A partner of AFC Bournemouth since 2014, Care South backs a host of club initiatives which provide richer experiences for residents, creating stimulating and lasting memories through the power of football.

The Cherries second-year scholars emerged triumphant following a closely contested final against the Community Sports Trust over-50s, while all the games were played in good spirits.

Simon Bird, CEO of Care South, said: “We’re very proud of our long-standing partnership with AFC Bournemouth which enables residents in our care to re-engage with activity and enjoy unique events such as this. The partnership is widely enjoyed by residents whether it’s walking football, football in the homes, visits from the team, and other special events that the residents get to benefit from.”

Steve Cuss, who heads the Community Sports Trust, said: “Our walking football tournaments are always a lot of fun but are competitive as well. They are played in a light-hearted manner, and everyone enjoys them and plays with a smile on their face which is what our community work is all about. We’ve got a great partnership with Care South, going into their care homes, and working with the residents, delivering football sessions and talking all things AFC Bournemouth.”

Care South’s partnership with AFC Bournemouth has delivered special memories for both residents and care at home clients, including family and friend football days at the residential homes, VIP resident stadium visits, Christmas coffee mornings for residents at the Vitality Stadium, residents attending players dinner and visits from the men’s first team.

AFC Bournemouth run weekly walking football coaching sessions in partnership with Care South. Walking football is a version of the popular sport, with a few small rule changes. These sessions are offered to both men and women aged 50+ and encourage them to keep fit and healthy without playing an especially competitive or demanding sport.  

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