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NI Danderballers In A League Of Their Own

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It’s the beautiful game as it’s never been seen before - walking football or ‘Danderball’ is giving men over 50 a new lease of life on and off the pitch.

The innovative sport has been adopted in Northern Ireland by Sport NI’s Active Communities’ coaches who are funded by the National Lottery.

The game is just like normal indoor football, with one exception; players must walk and are not allowed to run.

Among those getting to grips with rules and showing off some silky skills are men from the National Lottery funded Action Mental Health’s Fermanagh Men’s Shed as part of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Active Communities programme.

Their exploits will feature in a special video as part of the National Lottery’s ‘Old is Gold’ campaign which celebrates the life changing difference funding makes to older people.

The film also features legendary BBC NI football commentator Jackie Fullerton, who got behind the microphone to offer his unique perspective on proceedings.

Jackie said: “We all start to slow down a bit when he hit a certain age, but Danderball proves you don’t have to stop, but just take life at a gentler pace.

“Walking football is a terrific idea brought to life in Northern Ireland by the National Lottery and Sport NI. It offers a fantastic opportunity for men to get their boots back on again and show the younger generation how the beautiful game ought to be played and improve their own physical health and well-being.

“National Lottery players can be proud to have supported this wonderful project and the Danderballers taking part really are in a league of their own.”

Martin Carney, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Active Communities coach, said: “Walking football is such a brilliant game for older men to get fit without realising they are getting fit.

“It is more difficult than it looks and the men can get extremely competitive. But overall, it is tremendous fun for men of all abilities including those who thought their footballing days were behind them.”

Sonya Slevin, Action Mental Health’s Fermanagh Men’s Shed project officer, added: “The men who take part get so much out of playing Danderball.

“We have men who have retired from work or may have suffered health problems but they get so much energy and exercise from taking part.

“There is an excellent social side too, as the lads enjoy each other’s company and build up a great team spirit, although some don’t like to lose.”


Notes to the editor

Notes to Editors

Pics by Bill Smyth 07720 077284

To download National Lottery Old is Goals video visit http://isbx.it/c74c6

Active Communities is a National Lottery-funded initiative through Sport NI that aims to increase participation in sport and physical recreation especially amongst under represented groups. Sport Northern Ireland has invested more than £14 million towards the employment of 116 Active Communities coaches and their deployment throughout all council areas in the North. Each week, coaches deliver more than 1200 sessions in a variety of settings including schools, sports clubs and community-based venues.

Action Mental Health received £391,641 of National Lottery funding via the Big Lottery Fund in 2012 to establish Men’s Sheds in Enniskillen, Antrim and Downpatrick. The Men’s Sheds bring together men aged 60 and over to socialise, share skills and connect with their wider community.

National Lottery players have raised more than £1 billion for more than 20,000 projects in Northern Ireland since it began in 1994. To find out more visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

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