A housing association had a big thumbs up when they teamed up with North Wales’s regional rugby side for a day of sports activities for young people.
On a cold and drizzly winter’s day the undercover facilities at Colwyn Bay’s Eirias Park, headquarters of RGC – Rygbi Gogledd Cymru – proved ideal for the dozens of children and their parents from across North Wales.
The Sport for All Kids community event was organised by Cartrefi Conwy as part of its campaign to encourage healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.
There was a variety of sporting activities and skills to try out followed by lunch and the chance to form a guard of honour for the RGC team as they ran out to face their visitors from Ebbw Vale for a Welsh Premier League match.
Kelly Ann Woods, from Llandudno, was watching her son, Harrison, eight, enjoying a football session and she said: “He’s had fun today. I used to be with a different housing association and they didn’t do anything like this.
“I’m really glad to be with Cartrefi and to be invited to events. They’re really good for putting things on in the community.
“I grew up in a Cartrefi house and they did things for us then, like summer extravaganzas, so they’re really good for their communities.”
Shirley Garrathy, from Llandudno, whose son, Theo, 12, was enjoying the rugby, said: “It’s a good opportunity for him to sample different activities because they don’t do much sport in school
“It’s a really good day and I’m pleased Cartrefi Conwy have organised an event like this.”
Theo added: “I do like gaming but this has been fun here today.”
Will Lovelock, of MW Sports, a company set up in Llandudno by former Wrexham star Marc Williams, was overseeing indoor football sessions and he said: “These events are fantastic. It’s a great way to reach out and make young people aware of what’s out there for them.
“It’s great to get them involved in sport at as young an age as possible because it is good for them from a health and fitness point of view and it can provide lifelong friendships.
“It also showcases what we do and how we can support local community events.”
Helena Steflova, from Llanfairfechan, was watching her son, Seb, joining in the football and she said: “He loves coming to events like this. It’s really brilliant what Cartrefi Conwy do in organising events like this.
“I hope to become a tenant of theirs soon and they organise a lot of social activities which is brilliant and the children really enjoy it.”
Lloyd Jones, 10, a winger showed some neat ball control honed at Llandudno Football Club where he has been playing from the age of six and he said: “It’s been great. I love playing football and this has been brilliant.”
Zac Blackhall, 11, from Llandudno, was taking part in the rugby sessions staged by RGC representative Jason Craig, and he said: “I love rugby. I go to Ysgol Aberconwy and we don’t have a team yet but I’d love to be in a team with my friends.”
Zac’s mum, Laura, said: “He plays rugby in school and enjoys it and it’s great that Cartrefi Cowy puts on events like this. They’re great fun and the kids love them.”
Jason Craig, Hub Wellbeing Officer at Ysgol Y Bont, in Llangefni, said: “Events like this are really good in the way they provide lots of different activities for children to sample and take part in.
“It’s always great to see them smiling and enjoying themselves and this can be a gateway into sport for them, encouraging them to join local clubs, forge lifelong friendships and keep them fit and active.”
Zoe James, nine, from Ruthin, whose mum is a member of the Cartrefi Conwy board, said: “It’s great to be here. Horse-riding is my favourite really but I’ve really enjoyed the day.
Cartrefi Conwy Chair Helen Pittaway is an enthusiastic supporter of the event and she said: “It’s fabulous and just shows how we can work with other partners in the community to put on a day like this.
“It offers our tenants and the wider community something different to do on a January day with plenty of running around and having fun to keep them fit and healthy.
“Once again we are working with RGC with whom we have a strong partnership and we’re grateful to them for bringing us here to Eirias Park which is a great facility and right on our doorstep.
“I’ve got two kids of my own and I know the benefits of getting young people along to events like this to enjoy the benefits of sport and have a good time.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “It’s great to see so many young people being encouraged into sport by events like these.
“Sport is so important not just in terms of fitness and physical wellbeing but also in recognising the importance of teamwork and for mental health and in the lifelong friendships it builds.
“I know Cartrefi Conwy are very active in the communities they operate in across North Wales and this is another example of the excellent work they do with young people.”
Cartrefi Conwy’s Deputy Chief Executive, Adrian Johnson, added: “Health and well-being is a priority for us and I think the event here has been a brilliant example of how we work with the local community.
“It’s all about giving young people, whatever their level of ability, the chance to be included and to benefit from participation in sport with all that brings and it provides a showcase for the local clubs and the opportunities there are to get involved in sport.”