More should be done to help community and grassroots sport in Wales, according to a Gwynedd MS.
The Dwyfor Meirionnydd Member of the Senedd, Mabon ap Gwynfor, has labelled the Welsh government’s current support for community sport a “postcode lottery.”
Mr Ap Gwynfor’s intervention follows a recent meeting with representatives from the Welsh Sports Association and Clwb Pel Droed Merched Porthmadog.
Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said; “I want sports to thrive in our towns and villages across Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
“A local sports team is more than the sport itself – it’s about bringing communities together. Some of Wales’ most well-known sporting champions started their careers at a community and grassroots level. Sporting events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games would not exist without grassroots sport. Community Sports activities have both physical and mental benefits. If they were invested in correctly it would increase wellbeing and save money for other services in the long run.
“The Welsh government has failed to invest in rural community sports. Everyone should have the opportunity to take part and enjoy a wide range of sporting activities.”
One of Gwynedd’s grassroots football clubs, Clwb Pel Droed Merched Porthmadog, attracts players from Barmouth, Dolgellau and Tywyn.
On a rainy training day, however, some players have to make a 3 hour round trip to their nearest all-weather pitch in Penygroes.
Speaking on behalf of Clwb Pel Droed Merched Porthmadog, Gethin Jones outlines the issue facing the club: “One big obstacle we have come across is the lack of sporting facilities for our players such as 3G artificial pitches.
“The covid pandemic has had a massive effect on our players, having missed the majority of the season this has not only had a negative effect on their physical health and mental health.With the pandemic slowly behind us we want the girls to maximise as much time playing as possible.
“Sadly this is not possible with the increased costs of maintaining our grass pitches and with extremely bad weather the amount of games and training that have to be cancelled especially in winter months.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor MS added; “This is the stark reality facing many rural grassroots sports in Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
“Without adequate sporting facilities, rural teams are at a greater disadvantage compared with their urban counterparts.
“The Welsh government must end this postcode lottery access to sport and get behind our rural grassroots teams.”