Game On Wales is the award winning ‘Sport for Change’ programme delivered by The Coalfields Regeneration Trust.  

There are still significant problems for the majority of Welsh coalfield communities such as; fewer jobs; higher unemployment rates; more people with serious health issues and a struggling voluntary and community sector.  This is why we exist.  For 10 years, through sport, we’ve helped people in target communities gain new skills, achieve qualifications, find work and become more active.  

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Game On Wales run regular 'turn up and play', 'walking football' & 'street league' sport sessions.  In addition we stage tournaments and deliver sport leadership courses.  Something for everyone aged 7 - 70.    
By Ryan Jones 05 Oct, 2017
The relationship between the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Ebbw Vale Cricket Club has stretched back a number of years, with the club not only benefiting from CRT grants, but from advice and support that has led to the club growing from strength to strength. The club, which was established in 1852, set up Ebbw Vale Cricket Limited in February 2015, a social enterprise separate to the club who developed an indoor cricket training centre- which to this day remains only one of three centres in Wales.

This business model allows the club to reinvest any profits in to developing the game of cricket locally and ensuring facilities are affordable for all including age ranges right from under nine’s, ladies teams and first and second teams. Based on a programme established in Australia, the club are also piloting the ‘All Stars’ programme which looks to raise the profile of the game to children aged five to eight.

More than just grant funding

At the club’s helm, is club secretary Nick Pepper, who has been involved in playing and coaching at the club for over forty years and has been the key link between EVCC and support from CRT. This relationship started with CRT Development Officers identifying and working with Renew Wales to investigate energy sustainability for the club through advice, training and monitoring. CRT support and advice was also provided in improving the club’s governance and financial information and with links to key partners, guidance was provided after the asset transfer process to ensure its long term sustainability. Nick also attended a CRT funder’s fair, which he found inspirational in making the club’s ambitions a reality.

Inspiring the community 

Nick believes that the catalyst to the high standard of facilities at the club was kick started by a CRT grant for £7,000 to go towards a boiler, which opened up the centre to the wider community and made it more appealing for all. The centre has opened its doors to archery sessions with Coleg Gwent, keep fit sessions, after school activities and older person’s groups. Nick explained that the new thermostat also allows the club to be more sustainable with its energy use and heating costs. However, most importantly of all, the acquisition of the grant and continued support paved the way for further grant funding including a £55,000 English Cricket Board (ECB) grant which paid for improved lighting, specialist flooring and cricket net tension.

Club Secretary, Nick Pepper outlined

‘As a relatively new social enterprise, the advice we received from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has been invaluable. From advice on governance to business planning, CRT were there for us and their grant was the catalyst to where we are today – providing excellent facilities that are affordable for the public.’

Hugh Caswell from Renew Wales added

‘This was one of the best projects I have been involved in, but was also technically challenging. The project is a shining beacon of what can happen with a decaying asset in a socially deprived area. The main challenge, which would decide ECB funding, was turning a 1960’s building in line with today’s legislation and this could not have been achieved without a partner led approach.’

Moving towards a positive future

In an area where cricket has sometimes been overshadowed by the prowess of local rugby and football clubs, Ebbw Vale Cricket Club is expanding its numbers for all age groups and opening its doors to more people. They are looking forward to shortly completing a further CRT grant funded project for new windows, which will not only further improve their energy efficiency, but will improve the outside appearance of the club. With a view of continuing the strong relationship with CRT, they are also exploring further asset transfers and coach education projects in conjunction with Game On Wales.

By Ryan Jones 22 Aug, 2017

 The players representing Wattstown Boys and Rhydyfelin Girls travelled to Wrexham courtesy of Arriva Trains Wales and competed against other teams from communities in England and Scotland. Wattstown Boys were runners up to Kelty Hearts FC from Fife in Scotland while Rhydyfelin Girls were runners up to Wrexham Girls.

 The Trust’s annual Home International football tournament involved Under 16 teams from each of the three Home Nations. Players were selected on the basis of geography and impact on their lives rather than on ability.

 Speaking on behalf of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Programme Manager Ryan Jones said: “The tournament is a showcase for the Trust - it reconfirms our role in tackling head on the low levels of sport participation and high levels of inactivity and anti-social behaviour in coalfield communities. A key theme is engaging with young people providing support for activities that help divert them from the potentially negative influences by engaging them in healthier and more positive activities.”

 He continued: “Locally, British Transport Police Officers have been supporting the Pontypridd ‘Street League’ at Sardis Road, that regularly attracts 70 to 80 young people from Graigwen, Maes-y-coed, Ponty Town, Hopkinstown, Wattstown, Church Village and Trallwyn.”

 Geraint Morgan, community relations manager for Arriva Trains Wales, said; “We were pleased to support the young people with their travel arrangements to Wrexham. Sport is a great way of encouraging young people to lead healthy lives, make new friends, share experiences and bring communities closer together.”

 The two day tournament staged by Wrexham FC’s Community Foundation was held on the site of the old Gresford Colliery, which is managed by The Gresford Trust. It was the scene of the 1934 Gresford colliery disaster - one of Britain's worst coal mining disasters where 266 men and boys lost their lives.

 For further information, please contact Programme Manager Ryan Jones on 01443 404455.

   Geraint Morgan

Community Affairs Manager

Arriva Trains Wales

Trenau Arriva Cymru



02920 720521




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