Dan does a great job as 'Active Young People's Officer'

Dan Bellis is doing a great job‘The importance of sport in getting young people moving again after months of lockdown is highlighted in this month’s Sport Pembrokeshire team member profile - and for Active Young People Officer Dan Bellis, the job title is a perfect fit.

From as far back as he can remember – including bruising brotherly battles in the garden – sport has been in Dan’s blood with football being the first love.

That love even took Dan to America in 2011 to coach ‘soccer’ in Boston for six months, a move he described as a great learning experience.

Involved with talented top sportspeople

Coaching and being involved in sport has seen Dan’s path cross with several of the County’s most promising sportsmen and women.

Pembrokeshire footballers Liam Cullen and Angharad James – who is about to make her own switch to America after being signed by North Carolina Courage – are among those who Dan has seen progress from having natural ability and real promise to professionals reaching the top of their games.

From youngster to old hand!

Dan Bellis with baby and cupDan’s Sport Pembrokeshire role came about through volunteering at football camps with Haverfordwest County back in 2005, which eventually led to further coaching opportunities, thanks to Gerry Rigby and Russell Jones.

Starting out as one of the youngsters, Dan now finds himself as one of the more senior members of staff (“something that has taken a lot of getting used to”) and supporting some of the newer members of the team.

Looking ahead after Covid

Dan’s role takes him across the County and with schools now looking forward to a sense of normality after a year of disruption, the Sport Pembrokeshire team are looking forward to getting children up and active once again.

Dan said: “I think it is so important to ensure that everyone has a lifelong enjoyment of sport and physical activity. The benefits to physical and mental well-being are well known but it is the other life lessons you learn through Sport that are also so important.

 “Youngsters are lucky now in one sense in that they have got a lot more opportunities than my generation did growing up to take part in a wider variety of Sports with much better facilities whether that be in School or in the wider community.

Challenges ahead

“But there also a lot more distractions now which weren’t around when I was young – like the internet, screen time and social media.

 “We all know that obesity is a huge issue in the UK and especially in Wales and I would think with Covid and people being stuck at home for months on end that has probably become even more prevalent – so the more opportunities we can offer for youngsters to take part in inclusive activities, whether in or outside of school, the better – especially over the coming years, post-pandemic times.”

Dan believes in sport for all

Dan believes that everyone can find the sport or activity they enjoy.

“Sport and Physical activity should be for all and not just the most able – so the fact that we are able to offer bespoke activities that cater for everyone is brilliant,” said Dan.

“I have seen pupils go from PE refusers to loving sport by the end of their school life – it is just a case of finding that ‘thing’ that engages them.

“The more activities and opportunities we can offer the more likely we are to get a bigger audience taking part, which is exactly what we all want.”

Dan Bellis is on the ball

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