In the male dominated, fast and furious world of mountain biking one Neath Port Talbot resident is making an impact.
Busy mother, Ally Campbell, has brought her many skills to Neath Port Talbot by moving her mountain biking coaching school to Afan Forest Park, opening the door to anyone keen to enjoy this exciting sport here in South Wales.
Neath Port Talbot has seen significant investment over the years which has created a world class destination at Afan Forest Park, which has become a magnet for mountain biking enthusiasts. Its many and varied trails span the length of the Afan Valley and now more and more bikers are learning and developing new skills to enable them to enjoy the trails to the full thanks to Campbell Coaching.
“Originally I was a competitive kayaker travelling around the world for my sport. I learnt my coaching skills through the sport and my husband Bob who was a world champion.
“We brought that coaching knowledge to the sport of mountain biking, working in North Wales, but we eventually decided rather than work for someone else we could set up our own coaching school.
“I came to Neath Port Talbot when my husband got a job with Natural Resources Wales looking after the trails in the area and I moved Campbell Coaching here about three years ago.”
She has also recently set up a base at Bryn Bettws in Tonmawr creating an extensive skills area for the business with jumps and drops and other sections of trail to practice on.
She has also identified the growing demand for someone to help women riders where there was a growing female interest but mainly male coaches.
“I had considerable help from Neath Port Talbot Council and the Business Development team who helped finance banners and flags and are helping us develop a new website with online booking etc.
“This has enabled me to grow the company and attract more interest into the area and provide confidence to people getting into the sport. “I hope to hold some open days at the new skills area which I have built here. There will be a small charge but it will enable people to learn more about the sport and the money will be used to develop the site even more,” she added.
The coaching is also building new friendships among local riders and creating a unique community in the area as well as bringing wider benefits to the local economy by attracting visitors to stay and spend money in the area.
Ally hopes to expand on her current achievements in the years ahead and encourage more people into the sport she loves.
“There is enormous potential in the area and the sport and we are delighted to be at the heart of it,” she said.
Cllr Annette Wingrave, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development said:
“Neath Port Talbot Council is committed to raising the profile of the borough as a visitor destination. I am pleased that we are able to invest in local facilities and support businesses to maximise growth within the tourism sector and increase the number of visitors to the area.”