THEY may be rivals on the pitch but Athletic and Raith Rovers are teaming-up off it to offer free football to those living with a neurodegenerative disorder.

The Pars Foundation, the charity which runs community programmes on behalf of Dunfermline Athletic, and their counterparts from the Raith Rovers Community Foundation, to deliver walking football for those with Parkinson's disease.

Both organisations have joined forces with Parkinson's UK and Walking Football Scotland to offer the walking football project, which will be based at Pitreavie Sport and Soccer Centre and at Stark's Park in Kirkcaldy.

Beginning on Thursday May 2, the sessions will provide fun, inclusive and low-impact walking football, and social engagement activities for people living with Parkinson's to improve their social, physical and mental health.

Dunfermline Press: The Pars Foundation and Raith Rovers Community Foundation are offering free walking football sessions for those with Parkinson's.The Pars Foundation and Raith Rovers Community Foundation are offering free walking football sessions for those with Parkinson's. (Image: Craig Brown.)

The progressive condition, for which there is currently no cure, is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine, which plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body.

That is responsible for many of the symptoms of the disease, which according to Parkinson's UK, is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and affects around 153,000 people in the UK.

A typical walking football session will see those participating taking part in a dynamic warm-up, including stretching and movement; drills and coaching sessions; a game of walking football; a warm down; and a get together with tea and coffee.

Brian Carson, of Parkinson's UK, commented: "What a wonderful provision for those who have Parkinson’s within Fife. It’s great that two clubs have joined together in creating these sessions."

Drew Wilson, of Walking Football Scotland, said: "Football brings a lot of fun and camaraderie, no matter what you’re going through.

"The power of football helps us keep healthy and supports our mental health. Well done to The Pars Foundation and Raith Rovers Community Foundation in delivering this project.

"Good luck to everyone involved."

The free sessions run from 10.30am-12pm and the first, on Thursday May 2, will be held at Pitreavie.

Carers and family members are welcome to stay and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with others from the programme and, for more information,, or call 01383 745901.