Young people lead the way in Merthyr

Sports:

Rugby , Football

Location:

Merthyr Tydfil

Youngsters in Merthyr have taken the health of the local community into their own hands.

In a quest to get local residents more active, pupils from Afon Taf High School have opened the school doors to bring new sport and leisure activities to the area, all as part of a community pilot project delivered in collaboration with Sport Wales and Merthyr Sport Development.

Recognising a lack of sports facilities in the area and concerned about the future health of their local community, the High School's Young Ambassadors and Young Leaders (who have pledged a commitment to improving sports opportunities for others as part of their role), set about creating new ways of getting the people of Merthyr fit and active.

A full programme of leisure classes and sports club training sessions are now available of an evening within the schools grounds for both pupils and the local public.  The young role models created the new opportunities by taking ownership of the Sport Wales 5x60 programme at their school, which traditionally increases the choice of PE activities available to school pupils.

Afon Taf High School Head of PE, Sian Carter comments:

"This project will not only increase the opportunities for our pupils to become involved in more physical activity outside of school, but has also provided members of the local community, young and old with a range of exciting new leisure and sport sessions.

"Through the Sport Wales 5x60 programme we have already been able to engage more girls at the school in sport, offering activities such as dance and fitness alongside traditional PE; we are hoping that this programme will now help encourage more local women into sport.

"The project is also providing huge development opportunities to our Young Ambassador and Young Leader pupils, who have been heavily involved in the planning of activities, offering the schools facilities for hire to local clubs and leisure providers, and who will also deliver some of the sessions themselves."

Harry Baberis one of thoseYoung Ambassadorswho will be heavily involved in the project.  Hecomments:

"Since becoming a Young Ambassador I have had several opportunities to increase the profile of sport across my school and community. I also recently applied to become a Community Chest panel member, which will give me an opportunity to encourage community clubs to develop and expand by using the facilities we have in Afon Taf during the evenings."

Presently the High School is offering a range of sporting and leisure activities including rugby, football, cricket, circuits and fitness classes until 8.30pm every evening.  It is hoped that this list will also continue to grow with the possibility of Community Chest grants being awarded to clubs and community groups looking to develop in the area.   

Getting every child hooked on sport for life and creating thriving community clubs are key elements of the Sport Wales vision.  It is hoped that projects such as this one being piloted at Afon Taf High School will help to realise this vision.

Sport Wales Senior Officer Angela Farr said:

"Projects such as this one between Sport Wales, Afon Taf High School and Merthyr Sports Development play a pivotal role in ensuring that each child has the opportunity to develop their love of sport outside of school within their preferred activities.  It also provides an excellent facility for all members of the local community to become involved and maintain a healthy lifestyle."

For more information about the sports club and leisure facilities at Afon Taf High School please visit www.afontaf.merthyr.sch.uk For more information about Community Chest grants please contact Merthyr Sports Development on 01685 725408

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