A number of EFL Clubs will come together this week to launch ‘Extra Time Hubs’, which are designed to engage retired and semi-retired people and combat loneliness and inactivity.
Studies show that 42 per cent of those over the age of 55 are inactive. EFL Trust’s own research revealed many people would like the opportunity to meet peers to feel less isolated, live well and do things they enjoy.
Launched to coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week, the Extra Time Hubs will harness the unique assets of the EFL Club Community Organisations (CCOs) network to bring older people together and provide a range of activities that could benefit their physical and mental health. Activities vary from quizzes to arts and crafts and even bungee jumping.
Funded with the support of Sport England’s Active Ageing fund from the National Lottery, Hubs will initially be created at 12 CCOs across the country, harnessing the power of football in local communities. All 12 Extra Time Hubs will hold launch events at their respective grounds throughout this week.
Director of Operations at EFL Trust, Mike Evans said: “We have a big ambition - to help older people to benefit from 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.”
Sport England’s Executive Director for Tackling Inactivity, Mike Diaper 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 changes people can make to get active or stay active and Sport England invests National Lottery funding into projects like the EFL Trust’s Extra Time Hubs to make that happen.
“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.”
Loneliness Minister Mims Davies said, "Loneliness is one of the biggest health challenges our country faces and we know that getting out and making new social connections can really help people feel less isolated. 'Extra Time Hubs' is a fantastic project, helping older people stay active and make friends - bringing communities together through sport."
The 12 Clubs involved in the scheme are: Bolton Wanderers, Burton Albion, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City, Crawley Town, Derby County, Lincoln City, Northampton Town, Plymouth Argyle, Shrewsbury Town, Sunderland and Wigan Athletic.