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Move It – Back in the Game

Move It – Back in the Game


Back in the Game was delivered by Macedon Ranges Shire Council as part of the Australian Government-funded Loddon Mallee Region “Move It” project, which aimed to increase participation in physical activity by older people who were previously inactive.

The Council chose to offer “Back in the Game”, a modified indoor sports program designed by Council on the Ageing Victoria (COTA), for local residents 65 years and over who were physically inactive. The aim was to improve the physical wellbeing and quality of life of older people and provide opportunities to connect socially in a fun and friendly environment. No prior sporting experience was necessary – and activities could be adapted to suit the fitness and skill level of participants.

The Council offered a series of free sessions for older people in the townships of Romsey and Woodend. Activities offered included:

  • Walking soccer
  • Walking netball
  • Balloon volleyball
  • Table tennis

Transport to and from the sessions and a healthy morning tea were provided free of charge as part of the program.

Key facts

Main target group: Older people in general

Sector(s): Health

Desired outcome for older people:
Be mobile

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Ageing in place
  • Healthy behaviours (e.g. physical activity)
  • Inclusion
  • Participation

Contact details

Name: Naomi Scrivener

Email address:

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Other

Other project lead: Macedon Ranges Shire Council

How collaboration worked: Back in the Game was funded by Australian Government through Sport Australia from January 2019 – June 2021, as part of the Loddon Mallee Region “Move It” project. “Move It” was coordinated by Macedon Ranges Shire Council and Mildura Rural City Council, with projects tailored to local needs and interests, and implemented either by Councils or community organisations across ten Victorian Local Government Areas. A project steering group, comprising representatives from Macedon Ranges and Mildura Councils, relevant Victorian Government Departments, community organisations and La Trobe University, monitored project planning and implementation and supported funded projects. COTA, the peak body for older people in Victoria, which developed “Back in the Game”, provided resources and advice in regard to planning and implementation for Macedon Ranges Council’s project. Regular Community of Practice meetings brought together funded organisations to learn and share information. Each project submitted quarterly reports to track progress against project outcomes. La Trobe University undertook an independent evaluation, which included pre-and post –program surveys of participants, interviews with selected participants and focus groups with program facilitators.

Older people’s involvement: Older people were consulted during the planning process

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: Yes

Was the impact positive or negative:

Evaluation report: SubmissionReceipt-LoddonMalleeMoveRegionItProjectFinalReportFormForFundedOrganisations-LM-Move-It-Project-Final-Report-Organisations11.pdf

Although no longer funded, Council continues to offer “Back in the Game” for a nominal fee across both the Woodend and Romsey facilities in response to strong demand from participants. There has been good attendance at the program since then. The overwhelming feedback from participants across all programs funded by the Loddon Mallee Region “Move It” project was the substantial social benefit gained through participation in project activities. The proportion of participants who reported being physically active for three or more days of the week increased as a result of being involved, and people reported feeling happier, more confident, and just feeling good about themselves in general.

Looking back

A key challenge in implementing “Back in the Game” was the COVID-19 pandemic. For significant periods during the funding period, restrictions prevented face-to-face activities. To address this issue we created regular online Zoom sessions for participants, and activities were modified so they could be undertaken at home while still being relatable to a sports program. A key aim of “Move It” was to engage people in physical activity who were not already active. For these people there are a number of real and perceived barriers to increasing levels of physical activity, including lack of confidence and motivation, previous bad experiences and cost. In implementing “Back in the Game”, Council sought to address as many of these barriers as possible, by focusing on the fun and social interaction benefits, ensuring the activities were accessible regardless of ability or fitness levels, facilitating social interaction afterwards and keeping costs to a minimum. Transport was identified as an issue for many participants in the project. Macedon Ranges comprises a number of small townships about 30 – 40 km apart and not having access to a vehicle or being able to drive was a barrier to participation for many. To alleviate this issue transport to and from the sessions was provided.