Matt's doing a good job as an Active Young People Manager

Matthew Freeman of Sport PembrokeshireHere, in the latest feature on the Sport Pembrokeshire team, Matt Freeman explains his role as Active Young People Manager and details why he believes it is critical to continue to invest in community and school sport.
Matt’s own background in sport includes running for Wales in cross country and coaching David Omoregie at football. David later went on to become a very successful international hurdler.

A keen sportsman in his own right

A keen sportsman throughout his teens, Matt played football, tennis, basketball, gymnastics and athletics.
Athletics finally won over through university before a return to football with Merlins Bridge, Clarbeston Road, plus Camrose and Spittal, with the latter also being the venue to get the whites out in the summer.
After completing his degree in Sport and Physical Education, Matt began coaching the under 8s boys’ team at Clarbeston Road and this led to working with the Sport Pembrokeshire team.

Joined Sport Pembrokeshire and has grown into the role

Projects on tennis and disability sport led to some casual paid work before Matt progressed into the department full-time as the Cricket Development Officer and the 5x60 Officer at Sir Thomas Picton School before taking on the Active Young Manager role.
Matt said that ensuring sport is open to all is hugely important:

“It gives me great satisfaction seeing projects that I have initiated come to fruition and the positive impact it has on the lives of the participants, especially seeing more inclusive provision of sport and physical activity that engages a wider diverse demographic.

So vital for young people

Matthew Freeman with silverware playing for Clarbeston Road“This is even more important to me now that I have my own child.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the job is running successful fully- inclusive events that are accessible to all children and seeing those children regularly engage and develop further through school and community sport as a  consequence of attending the event.”
Matt adds that sport plays a vital part in young people’s lives and in many more ways than simple physical fitness.
“It’s critical that we continue to invest in community sport and school sport as it plays such a pivotal role in improving the mental, emotional and physical well-being of the youngsters across the county,” Matt said.
“We also need to ensure that all children and young adults have the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to participate in sport and physical activity across their life course, ensuring we create healthy confident individuals.

“Also, looking back at my sporting journey as a youngster, sport for me has helped to develop the softer skills that ultimately help you along your chosen career path.

Other areas of life benefit from involvement

“The development of team work, problem solving, communication, leadership, self-motivation and the ability to work under pressure and time management have all been honed through my sporting experiences through team or individual sports.”
Like every other sector, sport has had to find a way to work through the pandemic and adapt to online learning.

Matt and the team have helped create the Sport Pembrokeshire Learning Zone.

“It’s a great well-being resource with lots of information and links to physical activity ideas, lessons plans, challenges, healthy eating and nutrition. It is something that will be utilised and developed further even once the pandemic does come to an end,” Matt added.
And looking further forward Matt’s aim is for Sport Pembrokeshire “to further support the development of the workforce within schools and community providers to further motivate and challenge them to capture the interest of children in sport and physical activity at an early age.”

Ben Field and Matthew Freeman