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2 August 2023

Strength Academy Wales (SAW) – Community lifters

Volunteer directors at Strength Academy Wales have created a sustainable, not-for-profit organisation based in the heart of Pembrokeshire.

The coaches and volunteers at SAW are committed to driving forward pathways for Olympic Weightlifting, three forms of Powerlifting (Para, Mainstream and Special Olympics), strength and conditioning for Sports people, and general strength training open to all ages and abilities from the local community.

There has been a long tradition of Weightlifting in Haverfordwest and throughout Pembrokeshire spanning back to the 1940s. The Tower Hill club in Haverfordwest was a strong hold in the ‘60s and ‘70s, followed by Haverfordwest Weightlifting Club which was prevalent in the ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s.

The people involved there, and the ethos created from the club in Haverfordwest, were the inspirations to create SAW, which opened in 2013 with the support of funding from Sport Wales.

SAW has an excellent partnership with Pembrokeshire Leisure, who have supported the organisation during its infancy and its relocation from its previous facility into a new build, the amazing Pembrokeshire Sports Village at the Haverfordwest High VC School site.

The club is well supported by the local community; members and friends of SAW have raised large sums of money to support the development of its amazing new facility. In 2022, over 45 members volunteered their time to relocate the whole organisation and to fully install new flooring and equipment.

The organisation has been fortunate to access a range of funding to support employment, equip the new training facility, and to organise a range of free programmes for various groups of people from the local community to access.

SAW works closely with several National Governing Bodies developing strength and power sports, and supports various sporting pathways.

“We are very lucky to have such an inclusive club,” commented SAW Head Coach Simon Roach.

“Training sessions include Weightlifters of varying abilities – some learning the sport, others well established in Welsh rankings and competing internationally. There are Welsh and British sports people strength-training for performance, Disability Sports Wales athletes, and a strong contingent of Powerlifters, some who compete for Wales and Great Britain!

“When these strength athletes come together and train, along with the backing from the coaches and volunteers,” Simon continued, “an exciting and supportive atmosphere provides the ideal training ethos, and this is having a real positive impact on their progress.”

The Weightlifting Wales, Raise the Bar programme continues to support youth Weightlifting at SAW, as well.

When new lifters begin at SAW, there is an inclusive and encouraging coaching environment with a large emphasis on learning techniques and general conditioning, along with encouraging lifters to work together. As lifters develop, they are exposed to local Tier 3 competitions with opportunities to progress further.

The club has had much success over the previous year, with strong performances in Weightlifting at Academy Open competitions, Welsh and British National Championships, the Grand Prix, Commonwealth Games, Junior Battle and Commonwealth Championships.

In Powerlifting, athletes have competed in Regional, Welsh and British Championships, competed for Wales in the Home Nations International and the British Masters, and, in Para Powerlifting, solid performances have been gained in Tier 2 and 3 local and National competitions.

In Special Olympic Powerlifting, meanwhile, Gold medals have been won at the World Games!

Alongside its competitive members, SAW have a growing general membership – made up of anyone, of any age, and of any ability, to enjoy strength training, either through group coaching or open gym sessions.

And the club supports various community groups with free access to programmes, especially for the over 65s, unpaid carers, home-educated families, people living with dementia or arthritis, and children aged 11-16 accessing the Raise the Bar youth Weightlifting programmes.

These community support programmes are very successful, with some even being oversubscribed while also having huge benefits to the health and wellbeing of those involved.

SAW is looking forward to growing its Weightlifitng, Powerlifting and Sports conditioning community. And also, the community programmes.

With SAW continuously looking ahead to growing its community, the club is keen to train and support new volunteers into its work – both coaching and officiating at events.

If you live in Pembrokeshire and would like to join SAW’s inclusive community then please contact office@strengthacademy.wales for further details.

SAW is a British Weightlifitng licensed club, Weightlifting Wales Academy, Disability Sport Wales Insport club and Special Olympic GB registered club. Find all you need to know via the details below…


Strength Academy Wales

Pembrokeshire Sports Village



SA61 2NX