Active Merthyr, Better Merthyr


Inspirational initiative in Merthyr Tydfil to bring sport, physical activity and community closer together

Merthyr Games and Couch to Community projects are launched

On 16th October the Sports Development Team at Merthyr Tydfil Council ran a ground-breaking, hands-on event where everybody with a desire to develop a better Merthyr was invited to attend.

Almost 60 representatives from a wide range of community organisations and public and sports bodies got together to learn more about and to agree on how collaboration with community sport and physical activity providers across Merthyr could have a major impact on the local economy, health, education, social cohesion, crime and social behaviour and all in all, help build stronger communities.

Merthyr Tydfil is situated approximately 23 miles north of Cardiff, has a population of about 60,000, and faces a number of considerable challenges in terms of health and employment.

This initiative was developed with Svend Elkjaer of Sports Marketing Network who has been working with Gareth Hughes and Emma Christopher from the Sports Development Team to help develop more vibrant, visible and viable community sports providers and opportunities.

On the day there were presentations from:

Sport Wales on the challenges and opportunities facing sport and physical activity providers in a world of fast social and technological changes. Innovation, enterprise and community engagement are key

The Council Economic Development Team told of the six investments they, through the European Regional Development Fund, have made into six local sports clubs, helping them to develop into sports social enterprises.

Youth Service spoke of the crucial role sport plays in engaging young people and how they have already delivered 600 non-formal sport sessions this year.

Physical Literacy Partnership spoke of the importance of why physical literacy skills need to be learned and developed from an early age in order ‘hook children onto sport for life’.  Parents, teachers, coaches and young leaders all have a part to play in this important physical literacy journey.

Sports Marketing Network highlighted examples from across the UK where sport has played significant roles in developing stronger communities and reducing Anti-Social Behaviour.

Sarah Draper – From 3 stone overweight to completing Ironman triathlon challenge and setting up community sports enterprise

A highlight of the presentations came from Merthyr born and bred Sarah who told how she in 2006, having given birth to her second son was 3 stone overweight. She took up running, completed three London Marathons, and the Paris and Wales Marathons.

She then set up Merthyr Running Club which now has 150 members and 18 qualified coaches and include Walk to Run sessions in its programme.

She recently launched Inspire Fitness Coaching which offers 1-2-1 coaching, classes and training plans and as you can see from their Facebook page they are having a big impact

Her future plans include organising the Merthyr Half Marathon on 22nd March, set up running weekend workshops in Merthyr and setting up Merthyr Ladies Bike Club…and there’s more to come!

Merthyr Games

6th – 7th June 2015

The Games for All

Physical activity and sport but not as we know it…

The Merthyr Games are about physical activity and sport with a friendlier face and a neighbourhood base.

Held during over a weekend the Games could include:

  • Walking Football for 50+
  • Floathon (Sponsored Float for five minutes)
  • Chairobics ‘competition’ between care homes
  • Teenage girls playing netball while holding their mobiles
  • Trampolining Bouncethon
  • Doggy Walk
  • Walking Netball for 50+
  • Walking Rugby for 50+

…the list goes on

The Games will partner with a number of non-sport partners.

Taking a leaf out of London 2012 the volunteers at the Merthyr Games will be called Merthyr Makers

From Couch to Community

Getting more people in Merthyr engaged with their community

A four month programme commencing February 2015 culminating at the Merthyr Games 6th – 7th June 2015

Engage people who are not engaged in and with their communities

  1. Create and improve community links and cohesion
  2. Reduce social isolation
  3. Decrease anti social behaviour
  4. Develop volunteers and community leaders

Develop training and volunteering programmes in partnership with housing, college, Police etc. with the objective to develop self-confidence of participants and get them ready to volunteer at the Merthyr Games and become Merthyr Makers (and improve their improve their employability)

Following on from the event a project group has already been established, determined to drive forward these initiatives, proving that an Active Merthyr can create a Better Merthyr

This entry was posted in Grow Sport. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s