Days Hrs Mins Secs

27 October 2023

Community Lifters - South Pembrokeshire Weightlifting Club

Weightlifting clubs provide essential opportunities to be physically active for all in local communities.

One club that has a big presence in the community and thrives off that collective spirit is South Pembrokeshire Weightlifting Club.

“The club, and the idea for a club, started up in 2012 when Simon Roach opened SAW in Haverfordwest,” Justin Head, Owner and Head Coach at SPWLC, told Weightlifting Wales.

“I messaged him offering help and he put me on a Technical Officials course with Stephen Donovan and Darren Rogers. This rekindled the love of weightlifting!”

Justin soon started to compete himself as a Master lifter and followed up by opening his own club.

“SPWLC began in our storage lock up with family and a few friends,” he explained, “but we quickly expanded with help from Sport Wales. In 2018 we had to move into the Pembroke Dock Boxing Gym for financial reasons, but we have now returned to The Maritime Business Park, Pembroke Dock with help from SAW.”

The community feel is central to the club, and provides a welcoming, supportive environment for all.

“We have developed a small community who train and volunteer together,” Justin confirmed. “This was evident the last time we moved when we all came together to shift everything in just two hours!

“We also regularly meet outside the club for social events, and this has strengthened the community spirt.”

That community feel has stemmed from various areas, one of which being the club’s desire to provide accessible opportunities for all.

“We are situated in a deprived area,” Justin told us, “and our aim from the start was to provide a place where weightlifting can be accessed by all.

“This also led us into completing a Disability Insport Ribbon and offering para powerlifting as an option. The para powerlifting is also a good option for those who want to compete but find Olympic Weightlifting too technical.

“As a not-for-profit constituted club, we keep our costs low as we can and often run free classes for different groups.”

While community is a pillar of the club’s ethos, it hasn’t hindered its performance on the platform.

The club has had many lifters compete, with representatives in several Weightlifting Wales competitions over the years. SPWLC also boasts international competitors.

“Our first Welsh team member was Mena Williams who competed as part of the victorious Welsh team at the 2019 Celtic Nations,” Justin stated. “In 2020, Mena was selected to attend the British Weightlifting DiSE programme in Loughborough and in 2021 was part of the Welsh team for the Women’s Grand Prix!

“Ffion Barnikel competes in weightlifting as her second sport and is in the Welsh and Great Britain Octopush team,” he continued, “and Kyle Colella also trains with us. He has recently broken a Welsh U20 record in the Clean & Jerk, and we hope to see good things from him.”

It’s fantastic to see such a positive impact from our community clubs throughout Wales, who are also producing top talent that are shining bright already.

SPWLC runs six days a week with Justin, Sarah Williams and Scott Taylor as coaches, with coaching sessions provided every one of those evenings at 18:00. All sessions can be booked on the BookFit App.

If you’d like to learn more about the club, they can be contacted via Facebook, Instagram, email at southpembsweightlifting@gmail.com and WhatsApp at 07818448720.