The amazing weekend of success for Welsh sport should be what we all work together to expect as the norm, says Sport Wales Chief Professor Laura McAllister.
With the national rugby side taking their second six nations win of the campaign, Swansea City lifting the League Cup at Wembley, Becky James winning two cycling World medals, and a host of other successes, Wales is sitting at the sporting top table.
And Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister, is calling on all involved in Welsh sport – from grassroots to elite – to play their part so that the wonderful weekend becomes a familiar habit.
“After such a great year in 2012 I really feel we are carrying on that momentum now,” said Professor McAllister.
“What is impressive for me is that we seem to have a crop of young and emerging talent that are making such a big mark on their sports, not least Becky (James) and Elinor (Barker) at the World track cycling.
“It’s no luck to have success like this, it takes hard work and planning and commitment from so many different people. But there should be no reason for a young child not to be able to follow in Becky’s footsteps and achieve their dreams.
“Not least we need a bigger army of coaches and volunteers to keep grassroots sport in Wales ticking.
“No child turned on to sport by people like George North or Ben Davies at Swansea City should be turned away at their local club because of a lack of volunteers and coaches.”
Picture: Becky James.
Back in 2010, Sport Wales pledged a commitment to supporting coaching and volunteering with the launch of a Coaching Strategy. The strategy is seeking to galvanise 10% of the country’s adult population by 2016, creating a total over 250,000 coaches and volunteers nationwide.
Figures revealed recently showed that Wales has seen a huge increase of interest in sport from the 2012 Olympic Legacy and it is predicted that this interest will continue to grow following the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“Two years ago we set an ambitious target to double the number of coaches and volunteers to a quarter of a million by 2016. We are building towards that but we have a way to go,” adds McAlllister.
“Often we rely on the amazing work carried out by one or two people. The fantastic network of clubs that we have needs to be secure and sustainable. With a strong and diverse volunteer base, all clubs can build for the future.
“We need parents and family members to make sure they offer their own children the sporting opportunities that all young people should be able to access.
“Alongside our work with our sporting partners to raise the bar in school sport and community sport, it is only with the support of people on the ground that we can look forward to magical Welsh sporting weekends every week.”
Coaching and Volunteering Statistics - 2008-09 Active Adults Survey
• 7% of adults receive sports coaching or instruction;
• 5% of adults volunteer in sport; of which 2% are volunteer coaches;
• On average sports volunteers contribute 3 hours a week;
• Majority of volunteers do so every week;
• 9% of adults would like to volunteer more often