Sunderland AFC legends Jimmy Montgomery and Gary Bennett visited the Beacon of Light this week to celebrate the launch of Foundation of Light’s ‘Extra Time Hubs’, which is designed to engage retired and semi-retired people and combat loneliness and inactivity.
Studies show that 42% 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.
The Extra Time Hubs are a fantastic idea.
We all know when you get over 50 there is a lot of talk about social isolation and I think it’s important for people to keep in contact with each other, speaking, talking and communicating. It’s a great initiative.
Foundation of Light’s Delivery Coordinator for Sunderland, Jimmy Davison, added: “Our Extra Time Hub was launched in March and we have a good group of 30 members who attend regularly. We focus on improving our members’ physical activity but also their social activity too.
“Every Wednesday we arrange activities such as table tennis, bowling, curling, walking football but there’s also the social aspect to such as bingo, day trips or just a chat over a tea or coffee.”
Extra Time Hubs is a national project from the EFL Trust and gives people who are retired the opportunity to meet like-minded people and create activities for the group which could have a benefit to their physical and mental health.
Empowering people to decide which activities they want to do, the Foundation’s Hub members have enjoyed a range of sports alongside seated exercise sessions, cookery classes, cultural trips to historic sites and tours of the Academy of Light and Stadium of Light.
Director of Operations at EFL Trust, Mike Evans 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.”
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.”
Extra Time Hub member Tom added: “The Hub gives me a reason to leave the house and be more sociable.
“By coming to the Beacon, I have met new friends, done things which I thought I would not be able to do and more importantly has given me a more positive outlook on life.”
The official launch of Extra Time Hubs has been timed to coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week (17th-21st June) and has been made possible with the support of Sport England’s Active Ageing Fund from the National Lottery.
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.
The Foundation’s Extra Time Hub runs every Wednesday at the Beacon of Light from 10am. New members do not need to pre-register and welcome to turn up on the day.
Written By CHRIS FRYATT
19 June 2019