Tuesday 26 September saw the long-awaited return of the ‘Better Club Games’ tournament at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Copper Box Arena. This annual event for the over-60s last ran in 2019 (before Covid).
This year, 19 teams took part from Better leisure partnerships across London, the south east, Lincolnshire and Rugby competing in a diverse range of activities - darts, dominoes, short tennis, short-mat bowls, swimming, badminton, table tennis, cycling, walking netball and walking football.
In a tightly fought contest, Epsom & Ewell took the ultimate overall title – ahead of Greenwich in 2nd and Sutton in 3rd.
Kensington & Chelsea entered teams in the badminton and table tennis competitions, which both attracted over 25 entries. One of our table tennis came in fourth place, while the badminton made the final to finish runners up. Well done to all that represented Kensington & Chelsea.
GLL first decided to put on the Better Club Games back in 2006 when it realised there was no major multi-sports activity in the UK which brought older adults together annually in the spirit of fun competition.
Competitors are drawn from Active Ageing Clubs facilitated by GLL in leisure centres; the activities chime with GLL’s mission to improve health and wellbeing as a key community service through physical activity and sport.
Active ageing has since become a major public health priority with noted benefits to physical health, mental health and helping reduce social isolation in the UK’s older population. In addition, keeping active reduces the burden on the NHS.
The Better Club Games Ambassador was actress and radio presenter Vicki Michelle - of ‘Allo Allo’, EastEnders and Emmerdale fame. She added a touch of glamour and cheered on the participants.
‘Better’ is the brand name of the UK’s leading leisure charitable social enterprise GLL. The company’s ethos is to reinvest in local community health and wellbeing and the Better Club Games is a key part of this commitment.
GLL CEO Peter Bundey said: “It was great to see over 550 participants at the Copper Box Arena turn out to take part in this year’s return of the Better Club Games, compete and have fun.
“Wider society benefits in so many ways from active ageing and as a social enterprise we will continue to drive activity for this important age group.
“Congratulations to all those who took part and to our worthy winners – Epsom & Ewell.”
Members of the Kensington & Chelsea winning tea said;
‘It was a lot of fun getting to play against different boroughs in a great venue.”
“We all really enjoyed playing at the Copper Box and it was a lot of fun. Thank you for organising us.”
The team leader commented;
“It was great to have the return of the Better Club Games, the participants really enjoyed competing against other partnerships in a friendly atmosphere. Well done to all our teams that played so well”
Since its inception in 2006, the Better Club Games has grown to become a major event that brings together over 700 competitors alongside dozens of GLL “Club” facilitators, community sports teams and volunteers over 2 days (walking football and netball were held the day before the Club Games with 150 people participating at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre).
Better Club Games is organised and funded exclusively by charitable social enterprise GLL. In addition to transport and refreshments, participants enjoy raising awareness for their club, a celebrity ambassador on the day and a medal for everyone.