A walking football group for older men and students has received the approbation of a representative of Prostate Scotland.

Elaine Stewart, manager of the charity’s COMPASS project, visited Queen Margaret University (QMU) to see a ‘fitball’ game in action and to provide helpful information about prostate health issues to the men in the group.

She has been working on the Prostate FFIT project, at Tynecastle – a 12-week exercise and healthy living project for men with prostate cancer.

She was keen to see how the charity could use initiatives like QMU’s ‘Walking Fit-ball’ to share what could be life-saving information and help keep men active once they have finished the Prostate FFIT programme.

Elaine said: “Since our Prostate FFIT programme only runs for a short time, we are keen to identify what other opportunities men have to stay healthy once they have completed it.

“Walking football is often a favourite sport among older men so QMU’s group seems like a perfect fit.

“Prostate cancer typically affects older men so it is crucial to target those most likely to develop prostate issues for support and information.

“However, this support is equally relevant to younger men. These health conditions will become increasingly relevant in older age but those with relatives suffering from prostate cancer are at an increased risk of developing it themselves.”

QMU’s Walking Fit-ball group is a weekly event that enables men over the age of 60 to meet up and play a more accessible version of football with students from the university.

A university spokesman explained: “While an element of competitivity remains, the ultimate goal of Walking Fit-ball is to help older men, as well as students, who may suffer from loneliness and isolation, develop a sense of community and connection.”

He added: “With incidences of prostate cancer continuing to rise across Scotland, QMU was delighted to welcome Prostate Scotland to the university to find out more about the Walking Fit-ball group.”

QMU academic Dr Christos Theodorakopoulos said: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome Elaine to this week’s game.

“Increased awareness of this serious health issue is crucial for improving the outcomes of those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Being aware of the warning signs and taking steps to get checked when you identify them, and, ideally, even before symptoms present themselves, can help catch cancer early and give people the best possible chance to beat it.

“So many men will suffer from prostate cancer or other prostate issues in their life. We hope that projects like this will get more men to actively pay attention to their own health.”