One of the most exciting developments for community sport in Wales this century.

By the end of 2018, North Wales will have its own unique organisation, Sport North Wales, to get communities active. We want to work with organisations with an interest in leading the transformation of sport and physical activity in North Wales, and it’s been fantastic to meet some of those potential lead partners in Colywn Bay this week.

People in North Wales want to be active – in fact over a quarter of the total population in the region told us that they would like to do more.

So what’s holding our communities back? It’s clear that there are gaps that we need to address – the evidence shows that women and girls, disabled people, those living in poverty and people from specific ethnic and cultural groups are all less likely to take part in sport and physical activity.  Barriers can be around confidence, lack of opportunity, or simply not being part of a family or community that is active.

The creation of Sport North Wales aims to remove these barriers and broaden the range and number of community sport options across North Wales.

Being part of Sport North Wales is a chance for organisations from many sectors to really make a difference to our communities – it’s a unique opportunity to transform sport and physical activity in our region and to get people hooked on an active lifestyle.  Essentially, Sport North Wales will lead an innovative programme to give everyone, regardless of where they live in North Wales, the opportunity to fulfil their potential through sport: to get active and stay active, for life.

We come from a nation with a strong sporting history – who could forget the triumph of the Welsh football team in the EUROs in 2016, or the sense of pride when Jade Jones secured her second Olympic gold Taekwondo medal in Rio? But being active is not just about becoming a top athlete; it’s about getting together with friends, helping others to participate, being part of a community.

There are already some fantastic community sport projects taking place in North Wales, which aim to break down those barriers to participation. For example, the Young Ambassador programme which is working with schools to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport – encouraging their inactive peers to become hooked on sport.

We’re now searching for organisations to form Sport North Wales, who will take on the exciting challenge of building on existing best practice to create active, healthy communities that we all want to live in.

We know there are many who share our ambition, and we believe this is an exciting prospect for potential partners across a range of sectors. Whether you are a local authority, educational establishment, health organisation, charity or voluntary organisation or a leisure operator – leading or partnering in Sport North Wales provides you with an opportunity to work with all sectors of the community to effect real change.

We need forward thinking partners who believe in the importance of getting more people active at every stage of their lives: while they are at school, when they leave education, when they get a job, if they have a family of their own, and when they retire.

Our ambition for Sport North Wales is clear – we want to see more people meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines, and a narrowing of the gap in participation between the general population and those groups where activity levels are shown to be low.

Together, we can make North Wales a place where people from all backgrounds and communities are inspired to build activity into their daily lives, where being active is easy – and fun!

In the words of Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

For more information on becoming part of Sport North Wales please visit http://playyourpart.wales