A FORMER Hereford United player and manager is drawing on the skills he has acquired from his long association with the professional game to help inspire a love of sport in others.

Jamie Pitman made more than 200 appearances for the old Bulls and served as manager during the club's final two seasons in the Football League.

Now, after spells working in the Swindon Town Academy and with the FA's Skills programme, he has linked up with another highly experienced FA coach, Jim McGettrick, to launch sports coaching company PACES - a title which symbolises the company's values, Professional; All inclusive; Committed; Excellence and Supportive.

"It's about delivering sport in schools, provisions for local clubs, to support teachers and coaches in their development and to give everyone, including children, a life-long love of physical activity," said Pitman.

"Over the last two and a half years, I have been fortunate enough to work in the FA's skills programme and to work with the England DNA Foundation Phase project which is based around child development, specifically aged five to 11.

"That has given me a great insight into the development of children and the impact that you can have on them.

"Both Jim, who has been working in the industry for about 10 years, and I wanted to set up something where we can have an impact.

"The idea is to give children the best experience of physical activity. If we can do that then hopefully it's something which will continue for the rest of their lives.

"There are some quite frightening stats out there - 50% of children come out of primary schools obese or overweight.

"If a child represents their school at some sort of physical activity then they are 144% more likely to be hooked on sport. That's what we want to home in on - that everyone can be involved, it doesn't matter what level you play at."

Pitman was the Bulls manager from October 2010 to March 2012, continuing as an assistant to his successor Richard O'Kelly before leaving Edgar Street when the club was relegated from the Football League at the end of the 2011/2 campaign.

"I'm a different man now to the one I was when I was managing Hereford," he said.

"There are, of course, a number of things I would have changed but at the time I handled it the best I could.

"It was a learning experience and a tough one at that but one which helped me develop into who I am now.

"After I left Hereford, I went to Swindon and did a number of years in the academy there," he continued. "Then I got an opportunity to work for the FA in their Skills programme, something I'd not been involved in before.

"The Skills programme is delivered in primary schools and we did some skills centres as well for all levels of ability.

"It's given me really great experiences in developing children in sport in general, not just in football."

For Pitman, the new project is also about putting something back into the community he has made his home.

"I've been in Hereford almost 22 years and both my boys have grown up in the city - Harry is now almost 13 and Owen is 10," he said. "I want to give them and also other people in the county the best experience of sport.

"I've had a great life within sport and seen many benefits of it; the relationships I have built with people, the ups and downs, the highs, the lows, the tears and the joy - all of those things.

"Sport can bring so much more than just plain physical activity, it's about all of those other things - what it can do for you psychologically and socially as well as giving you the best possible physical life.

"We want to bring that to everyone - not just elite sportspeople but to give everyone a chance to find what they are good at."

More details are on the website at www.paces.co.uk or by contacting jamie.pitman@paces.co.uk