Ilkley Town AFC to launch “Walk-On”


Ilkley Town AFC to launch “Walk-On”, a community walk scheme promoting both physical and mental well-being.

Ilkley Town AFC continue to dedicate their time off the pitch to brainstorming new ideas and initiatives that have a positive impact on Ilkley and the wider community. With a history of standing for health through inclusion and active lifestyles, the club now aim to move beyond conventional sporting boundaries and are launching a new well-being initiative that focuses on benefiting both the physical and mental health of the community.

The club is organising a match day walk from Ben Rhydding station to its home on Leeds Road, and back. A 1.5 mile round trip all about getting people on the move. The club invites anyone to come along who would like to take part, all are welcome.

Paul Wintersgill, Director at Ilkley Town AFC has championed the initiative: “We want to help people in our community to be more active. We have over 600 players at our club who are active through sport but what about those who don’t or can’t play? We are reaching further afield. We want to get more young kids outside and away from their screens, older folk to keep moving, families to keep active together and anyone who wants to start exercising to join us.”

“Movement is important. We want people to move more, for it to become routine and for people to be motivated to keep healthy and active. Physical benefits include strength and toning, and supports detox. Mental health benefits include stress handling and boosting brain power. I believe there is no medicine on Earth that is a better substitute for movement!”

Imaginatively entitled “Walk-On”, connecting its football heritage to the lyrics of the famous Gerry And The Pacemakers song You’ll Never Walk Alone, the walk also aims to bring people together with a purpose.

Paul continues: “There’s an obvious physical benefit for those taking part but as I’ve alluded to already, there is a further benefit to mental health from being part of something in an environment that encourages people to talk.”

Gemma Green, Community Fundraising Officer at Leeds Mind comments: “We are delighted to support the upcoming match day walk. It is encouraging to see clubs such as Ilkley Town AFC understanding the importance and links between mental and physical health whilst raising awareness in the region in such a fun and positive way. We hope that the match day walk is successful in promoting both positive mental & physical health.”

Ryan Anderton, co-founder of #ItsWorthTalkingAbout (a Keighley based peer support group) is also supporting the initiative saying: “I’ve had significant struggles with my own mental health in the past and I am delighted to be supporting “Walk On” because through exercise & talking about my difficulties I have found a greater sense of well-being which has transformed my life.”

Ilkley Town AFC will be looking to launch a lockdown compliant version of “Walk On” even before competitive football matches resume. For more information please email Paul Wintersgill at: paul@ilkleytownafc.co.uk

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