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 the Young Ambassadors who has been heavily involved in the project. He comments:
"Since becoming a Young Ambassador I have had several opportunities to increase the profile of sport across my school and community. I also applied to become a Community Chest panel member, which gave me an opportunity to encourage community clubs to develop and expand by using the facilities we have in Afon Taf during the evenings."
The High School started 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.
This story supports the following 2026 objectives:
Get 75% of young people and young adults hooked on sport