Russell Todd talks about the development of a framework for sporting heritage in Wales and why voluntary groups and volunteers are key players in this game.
Sport has always been important to Wales as a nation, from the ancient game of cnapan, to modern rugby and football; from boxing to cycling, athletics to swimming. Our country has produced an impressive array of exceptional sports people and we punch well above our weight in international competition across the board, including in disability sport in which Wales has long been a pioneer.
Sport in Wales touches every parish, village and town, bringing people together, improving health and driving personal development, providing opportunities for life-long friendships and generating good natured rivalry.
FRAMEWORK FOR SPORTING HERITAGE
For all the joy that the Wales men’s football team brought to the nation by qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar, or brought by Geraint Thomas winning the iconic Tour de France in 2018, the backbone of this rich culture is provided by grassroots clubs run by volunteers. Volunteers are often the ones too, even in professional sport, who cherish the heritage of a sport and is one of the reasons why Sporting Heritage CIC spent time with the heritage sector during the pandemic developing a National Framework for the Sporting Heritage of Wales, supported by Welsh Government.
With the doors to museums and collections once again open to the public, the time has come to take the Framework forward and put in place some specific plans for delivery in coming years. I have been appointed to facilitate this work and a central element is supporting the voluntary and community sectors to contribute to this process so that the Framework is responsive to the needs and aspirations of voluntary groups who are already passionately and enthusiastically caring for the nation’s sporting heritage, as well as the heritage professionals.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
There will be a range of ways that people can get involved including events, online and in person. There will be an online sporting heritage exhibition for Wales to which you may wish to nominate a heritage item from your club or association.
A survey has just opened to help ascertain what sporting heritage collections exist in Wales, where they are held, are they catalogued, and in what condition are they: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/understanding_sporting_heritage.
To know more about the forthcoming Framework activity or about Sporting Heritage CIC more generally, visit their website www.sportingheritage.org.uk, follow them on social media – @sportinghistory on Twitter and @sportingheritagecic on Facebook and Instagram – or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature image: ‘Lady footballers’ in Newport in 1895. The image is part of the Crowd Cymru project; the original is held at Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale