A sporting manager’s mission to bring health and energy to all

Ben Pohill outside Wesgate Leisure Centre
Ben Pohill outside Wesgate Leisure Centre

This week Vicky met with sport and physical activity development manager, Ben Pohill.

In a nutshell, what does your role entail?

Providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get more active, right across the district. Everyone Active is a partnership with our local council and there is a real commitment to helping people overcome any barriers to fitness. As well as Westgate we also work with The Grange and Bourne Leisure Centres. There are lots of different sports and activities on offer and it is an ever-evolving programme. My job is certainly never dull!

Can anyone become fitter by being more active?

Yes! You don’t have to play sport or go to the gym; it could just be walking the kids to school or taking part in Park Run, both of which are free of charge and done entirely at your own pace. I sometimes start the day by leaving my phone at home and walking around the block. It clears my head and energises me.

Have you always been sporty?

I have played rugby with Chichester Rugby Club since I was four years old. I have rowed, run and played different sports, but rugby is my sporting passion and I am very grateful I found it early because it has done so much for me.

Like what?

It has given me values. It has taught me the importance of being a team player and about being disciplined. Sport has shaped my life.

Any personal achievements you are proud of?

My team made it to National League in 2014 and that was a huge accomplishment. A couple of years ago I was also lucky enough to play at Twickenham. A nice way to spend a Sunday!

What about work highlights?

The feeling you get when you feel like you’ve made a difference. Some people come in via GP referrals and when someone who has never run before tells you they have just run for three minutes continuously for the first time, well, that feels fantastic. It’s great watching those changes happen. We also host three Sports Festivals and they are always highlights. The first year we staged a half marathon I remember looking down from the top of the trundle and seeing 600 people heading towards me. It took a lot of hard work and planning, but that sight made it all worthwhile. I won’t ever forget it.

You’ve got an event coming up?

Our Get Active Festival takes place on September 8 on the Prebendal School playing fields; 12pm to 4pm. There are loads of taster sessions for all age groups to try, as well as lots of local sports clubs.

Are you ever too old to take up a sport or get more active?

No! And a more active lifestyle also helps with social connections and has a positive impact on mental wellbeing. Besides, we live in a beautiful part in the world; somewhere a walk, run or ride can really uplift you.

More further information visit: www.everyoneactive.com.