Being based in a Communities First area with the spectre of
deprivation, it gives more credibility to the month-by-month rise
in people walking through the doors to exercise.
And that's even when you're badged as a weightlifting centre and
challenged with the negative stereotype of muscle men pumping
Passing the 800 member mark, with additional outreach
opportunities in the community, the Holyhead and Anglesey
Weightlifting and Fitness Centre (HAWFC) is jam-packed on a daily
basis with people using its facilities.
Since re-opening in April 2011 following a £300,000
refurbishment, HAWFC is home to elite athletes training
side-by-side with members of the public who want to exercise, lose
weight and get fit.
Most recently, they have provided outreach opportunities for
communities outside of the Holyhead area to become healthier and
fitter through Functional Fitness. With their own van to
transport kit, this form of fitness involves training the body for
the activities performed in daily life.
Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ray Williams, who heads
up the centre, said:
"We dispel the myth that lots of women have about resistance
training building big muscles, and educate them into the fact that
it assists in body sculpture and weight loss.
"I vary most sessions and include all components of fitness into
the sessions. The people who attend leave having completed an hour
of sustained effort."
Initially targeted at Holyhead town and its local communities,
they have now developed to offer opportunities further afield to
more rural communities across Anglesey.
The philosophy is simple - affordable fitness for all.
Following major refurbishment of the existing facility, HAWFC
was re-opened in April 2011 and was supported by a £25k development
grant from Sport Wales. Since then, the club has been
supported with two Community Chest grants to purchase equipment
required to cater for the increase in women and girls members, and
to increase the variety of exercises being delivered. They have
gained further financial support through additional funding in
partnership with the Isle of Anglesey Council's Sport Development
Unit to develop the Functional Fitness programme.
Partners have included Bangor University, Isle of Anglesey
Council's Sport Development Unit, Menter Môn and Môn and Menai; as
well as local schools and communities.
Not stopping there, the centre recruited local people through
Jobs Growth Wales and has helped them move on to long-term
employment and further education opportunities.
On the performance front, HAWFC has recently produced two
British Champions - Gwilym Sion Pari and Sam Henderson - who will
both attend the British elite age group camp in Loughborough in
early 2014. This is alongside Steph Owens and Olympian Gareth
Evans who have already made the Commonwealth Games qualifying
The centre has also had visits from many of Wales' leading
public figures, including the First Minister who praised the work
of the enterprise.
HAWFC will also be included in a programme on ITV in May and a
potential 5 million viewers.
"We are currently looking for funding to extend the facility to
provide a physio and rehab suite and additional floor space for our
"Our vision is to open another centre on Anglesey within three
years as it is our firm belief that taking fitness into the
community is an innovative model of delivery at no cost to the
local authority. At the same time it carries out many of the social
inclusion policies that ensure the population are provided with
"Our aim on the performance side of the business is, in the
future, to provide a residence for our top performers - providing
every opportunity to compete at the very top level.
"We share the Sport Wales Vision that everyone in Wales should
be hooked on sport for life, and we believe at a micro level HAWFC
is making a big impact. Our aim is not to stand still, it is to
grow and spread the positive message."