Award-winning Golden Games set to launch this week

Aberdeen's biggest ever Golden Games is set to start this week – with scores of sports and physical activities for older people, spread over seven days.

The award-winning free festival will feature almost 80 different activities at nearly 30 venues across the city, from Thursday 09 to Friday 17 June inclusive, and looks set to see around 450 of Aberdeen’s older citizens taking part – many of them for the first time, and in many cases signed up for in multiple events.

The 2016 programme gets under way this Thursday with activities including wall-climbing, gym, swimming, abseiling and archery. Events continue on Friday with, among others, pickleball, weight-lifting, boccia, aqua dance and Nordic walking.

The Games carry on into next Monday with sports including badminton, table tennis, walking football and 10-pin bowling, along with a walk up Bennachie and a belly-dancing session.

Tuesday features golf, walking football, croquet, a gym session and a health walk from Pittodrie Stadium. Scottish country dancing, aqua exercise, outdoor bowling, rhythmic activity, indoor cycling and curling are among next Wednesday’s events.

The Thursday programme includes swimming, lawn games, zumba, ‘golden oldies’ rugby, and an activities and history walk around Duthie Park. And next Friday’s final Games day will see events like putting, bowling, chi gung, seated Zumba and dance.

The 2016 Games will also feature the popular Care Home Pentathlon event. New additions to the programme this year include archery, belly dancing, indoor cycling, Olympic-style lifting, and Scottish country dancing.

The full programme is available on the Aberdeen City Council website at http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files/SocialWork/GG2016-final.pdf.

Activities will be supported at the venues by pupils from Mintlaw, Torry and Kincorth Academies, and will be held across Aberdeen at –

  • Aberdeen Sports Village
  • Transition Extreme
  • Aberdeen Health and Care Village
  • Beach Leisure Centre
  • RGU Sport
  • Pittodrie Stadium
  • Kincorth, Beacon and Jesmond Sports Centres
  • Altens, Balnagask, Woodside and Old Torry Community Centres
  • Northfield and Tullos Pools, and Sports Village Aqua Centre
  • Albury and Westburn Outdoor Centres
  • Westburn Tennis Centre
  • King's Links Golf Centre
  • Kings Playing Field
  • Groats Road car park
  • Aberdeen Bowling
  • Cults Bowling Club
  • Bennachie
  • Duthie Park
  • Codonas

Golden Games participants can also look forward to an early evening social event at the Beach Ballroom at the close of the programme next Friday, from 6-8pm, featuring refreshments and entertainments – and the presentation of the Pearl Mitchell Memorial Trophy to the individual or care home, nominated by participants, for whom the Games has been the most life-changing experience.

The initiative is a partnership between Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP), Aberdeen FC Community Trust, Sport Aberdeen, Aberdeen Sports Village, Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian and aims to encourage older people to become as active as possible, to boost their health, and to get out and meet new people. The programme can be enjoyed by people of all abilities and the Games aims to provide further opportunities for people to maintain their involvement in sports and physical activities year-round.

Integration Joint Board chair Councillor Len Ironside CBE said: "The Golden Games is going into its sixth year in great shape. The programme is now a key part of Aberdeen’s calendar and a much valued event for many hundreds of older people.

“The Games set out in 2011 to provide over-65s with opportunities to stay fit and active into older age. It has emphatically achieved its aims. We have challenged the preconceptions of what older people can and want to do, and through the Games we have established year-round opportunities for active ageing.”

ACHSCP Chief Officer Judith Proctor said: “The Golden Games has proved to be an inspiring initiative, which has drawn interest from across the UK and among our European twin cities, who all want to know what we have achieved in Aberdeen.

“The Games now has a six-year track record of success. I am proud of what the event has contributed to the health and wellbeing of older people in the city and I am sure that the Games will continue to go from strength to strength.”

The Golden Games has been shortlisted for a special award in the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Scottish Charity Awards 2016, which will be announced in Edinburgh this Thursday. The Games was the winner in the Health & Wellbeing category in the Association for Public Service Excellence Awards in 2013, beating off competition from seven other local authorities from across the UK.