Picture of players at the walking rugby club in Richmond

Weekly walking rugby club in Richmond aiming to boost health of older adults

A rugby club in Richmond offers a weekly walking rugby game for over 55s to increase their physical, mental and social health.

Coached by first-team players, the club takes place every Thursday from 10-11.30am at Richmond Athletic Ground, with free refreshments available for a chance to socialise with other members.

The club currently has around 15 members a week but is looking to increase numbers and encourage people from the local community to come and give it a go.

Coach and head of community for Richmond FC, Ed Roberts, said: “Unfortunately when you get over the age of 55, there’s a lack of sporting opportunities for people and a stigma that they’re unable to keep up and not as good as they once were. 

“There’s also some damning research that if you stop taking part in physical activity, you start to become poor of health.

“Some of them are re-lacing their boots as they’ve played rugby before and they’re getting back into it or others are enjoying learning a completely new sport.

“That’s why walking rugby is so great because it levels the playing field and we can help support you to improve.”

Richmond Parish Lands Charity funded the initiative two years ago so the community could get involved in a sport which has been adapted for their ability.

It is a change to your traditional game of rugby with safety measures implemented such as no tackling and passing the ball higher than shoulder height. 

Walking rugby player Valerie Reading-Kitchen has been attending the club every week for one and a half years and is part of the growing number of female players.

She said: “I’ve played sport all my life but I started the club because I was looking for an outdoor activity that was engaging and fun.

“I came from nothing, not knowing anything about rugby, and my skills have gone from zero to where I am now.

“I enjoy learning new skills and socialising with other members of the club.

“There’s a real team spirit, everyone makes you feel welcome.

“Whether you’ve come from nothing or not, the coaches are so understanding and care for our needs.”

For more information and to get involved contact: [email protected]

Featured image credit: Richmond Rugby

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