Beccles residents are set to benefit from a new weekly free sport and social programme run by Norwich City Football Club’s Community Sports Foundation and funded by East Suffolk Council.
Called ‘Extra Time’, the programme aims to keep men and women who are over-55 active and connected. Participants can enjoy a wide range of different sports such as badminton, football, netball and table tennis, with the opportunity to unwind afterwards at the social sessions.
Thanks to funding from East Suffolk Council's Enabling Communities Budget, the sessions – which will take place at 11am every Thursday morning at Beccles Town Football Club – will be free of charge.
Initially, due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the sessions will all take place outdoors, including the post-exercise cup of tea and biscuit. An extra social hour, held virtually on Wednesdays, will give an additional opportunity for participants to connect, with the Foundation running quizzes or hosting guest speakers. Recent guest speakers have included Bryan Gunn, Neil Adams and Michael McGovern.
Joe Harvey, the Foundation’s Community Engagement Officer, said: “We’ve been running Extra Time successfully in Norwich since 2008. There, we regularly have over 30 attendees each week who have built a really strong bond with each other.
“Thanks to the backing of East Suffolk Council, we can extend the programme to Beccles and Suffolk and we hope to mirror the programme’s successes here.
"Following the year we’ve all had, being active and connected socially is so important for everyone, but particularly those in society’s older age groups. Extra Time in Beccles will hopefully be that opportunity to re-discover the importance of being active and connected to others in the community.
“Both the sport and social elements are optional, so our participants can pick and choose which works for them best initially.
“Of course, while we often have a Norwich City FC angle at our social sessions, you don’t need to a fan of the club to take part – Ipswich Town fans are more than welcome! It’s a friendly and welcoming group, and we hope that many will take advantage of this free service.”