“The main reason I came was because I was lonely.” says Satish Ahuja a member of Wigan Athletic’s Extra Time Hub. “I really enjoy Extra Time because you meet new people and can develop future friendships.’
Extra Time Hubs is a national, run at football clubs across the country, that has given people who are retired and semi-retired the opportunity to meet like-minded people and create activities for the group that could have a benefit for their physical or mental health.
For local retired GP Satish Ahuja, Wigan Athletic has played a big part in his life from his role as club doctor to now enjoying regular activities with the Extra Time Hub initiative.
Funded by the National Lottery and Sport England and backed by the EFL Trust, Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Extra Time Hub aims to make a positive difference to the lives of retired and semi-retired people.
And for Satish, 84, the programme has been extremely beneficial to him and one he has really enjoyed.
He said: “I saw the advert for it in a local newspaper and I don’t live far from the stadium either.
“The main reason for coming was loneliness, I do have friends but I live on my own after my wife passed away and I thought I would come along to Extra Time.
“It was the first time I thought to myself to come as normally my friends would ask me to come here or there.
“I really enjoy coming, we are looked after every week by the staff you meet new people and also try different activities.
“We visited Fleetwood Market last year as a group which was an enjoyable trip. The sessions offer you the chance to make friendships and develop future friendships too.
“It’s very important for people to be able to meet each other, talk to each other and help each other and these sessions provide that.”
Having worked as a GP in Wigan for most of his life, Satish spent five years with Latics from 1978-1983 as the club doctor and a period he fondly remembers.
He said: “I was a GP in Wigan town centre and I was approached to be the doctor at Wigan Athletic through a friend and this was how my involvement began.
“At the time they had just been promoted to Division Four, Ian McNeil was the manager with Arthur Horrocks as Chairman.
“I was quite busy in general practice so I didn’t go to many matches but those I would go to would be on Saturday and then Wednesday evening. I really enjoyed my time there.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Latics ran two weekly Extra Time Hub sessions with over 70 members enjoying activities including quizzes, table tennis and badminton.
During lockdown staff have been in regular contact with members through a number of ways and have also delivered over 60 goody bags containing a number of things to keep them physically and mentally active.
For more information about the Extra Time Hub, please contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Extra Time Hub Activator Christine Blundell on email@example.com.