DR PAUL THOMAS has been appointed as the new Chair of Sport Wales, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates has announced. Having spent more than 30 years working across a range of community development, strategic leadership and sport inclusion roles, often in socially disadvantaged areas, Dr Thomas brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important role. As well as leading on major projects for UK Sport and Sport England, his recent achievements include setting up a community fitness gym in Ebbw Vale to offer local people an opportunity to improve their physical fitness and wellbeing and, in 2015; he was shortlisted for Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Most Influential Leader’ of the year award.
Building on the excellent work of Professor Laura McAllister, the new Chair, Dr Paul Thomas, will be responsible for leading Sport Wales into an exciting period for Welsh Sport. One of his key priorities will be to drive and facilitate a new approach to community sport that creates a clear line of sight between Welsh Government goals and investment decisions and the needs and challenges of clubs, communities, coaches, athletes and volunteers. Dr Thomas will be expected to galvanise the sport sector in Wales to deliver against the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and to do that by maximising the collective effort and investment of Sport Wales and their partners in National Governing Bodies, Local Authorities and the Third and private sectors.
The Deputy Minister said: “The calibre of talent applying for this role was very high but I am delighted to announce Dr Paul Thomas will be the new Chair of Sport Wales. His vision, passion and commitment, along with his knowledge and experience in leadership and management made him the right person for this important role. “We want to break down the barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to become hooked on sport for life. I am confident Paul’s qualities, experience and commitment will help the Welsh Government deliver a more physically active and successful sporting nation.”
Dr Paul Thomas said: “Having grown up in the South Wales valleys and played sport most of my life I am certain of the benefits sport and physical activity can have on people’s health and wellbeing. Sport has provided me with great opportunities and skills so to be appointed to this role by the Deputy Minister is a privilege. “I particularly look forward to meeting all those involved in grassroots sport and to help in some way to create a new future for the generations of communities throughout Wales; making us even stronger, more active and resilient.
“I am also looking forward to working with the Board and everyone involved at Sport Wales to help it deliver the vision of ‘Uniting a Proud Sporting Nation’ but one in which everyone in Wales is active, fit and enjoying life through the benefits of sport. “Over the past decade I have worked in regions all over the world, making a difference to the health and wellbeing of people, leaders and organisations. It’s such a privilege to be able to use that experience to play a part in the future of Welsh sport.” Dr Paul Thomas’ term of appointment will begin in April, for a period of three years, until 31 March 2019. He succeeds Professor Laura McAllister who has served as the Chair of Sport Wales for six years.