The award recognises ECH for its extraordinary work and commitment in supporting older people with the program, which was launched in March 2020 after a successful pilot in 2019.
A collaboration between ECH and the SANFL, the modified Australian Rules Football program is aimed at over 50s, promoting physical activity and social connections. Games are non-contact, with four 10-minute quarters in teams of six or more, held at SANFL venues.
ECH Chief Executive Claire Scapinello said the national accolade was a great achievement and is testament to the extensive efforts the organisation undertakes in enabling older members of the community to stay active and maintain social connections.
“Our clients remain our focus in everything we do, so to ensure their needs are met, the entire ECH team works tirelessly to deliver a range of services, which includes activities that promote social connections and a healthy wellbeing,” Ms Scapinello said.
“I’m so proud of the entire ECH team and we are delighted with the Walking Footy program that we have created in collaboration with the SANFL. It’s a fun way to meet people and get the heartrate up.
“We know the importance of staying socially connected so we will continue our promise in offering opportunities to older South Australians to engage in enjoyable activities.”
SANFL Head of Game Development Brad Humphrey acknowledged the outstanding support from ECH to ensure the success of Walking Footy, which provided a safe and accessible way for over 50s to get active and socialise with others who share a passion for Australian Rules footy.
“With a focus on having fun, the rules prohibit running, tackling or bumping so there is an opportunity for everyone to shine and be involved, no matter if you’ve ever played footy before or not,” Mr Humphrey said.
“Importantly it provides physical activity but also a great social connection, with participants enjoying a catch-up together over coffee after games.”
The Future of Ageing Awards, organised by industry publication Inside Ageing, recognise leadership and innovation across Australia and New Zealand’s aged care sectors. The awards bring together aged care providers, industry suppliers and those individuals driving change to improve the lives of senior communities. In the five-year history of the awards, this has been the biggest year, with nearly 70 entries received.