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18 Dec 2023 531

2023 BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero Award Spotlights Volunteer Coaches

Recognising the dedication of unsung heroes: volunteer coaches take centre stage at BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

In the wake of a memorable night at the UK Coaching Awards 2023, where coaches were celebrated for their outstanding community contributions, attention now shifts to the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year, where a group of volunteer coaches are eagerly anticipating the possibility of being crowned the Unsung Hero of the Year.

Volunteer coaches are instrumental in shaping local communities, but their numbers have declined quite significantly in the last few years due to escalating demands and the lingering effects of the pandemic. As part of UK Coaching's collective commitment to fostering a more active nation, recognising, and supporting the millions of volunteer coaches across the UK is crucial.

As the sole organisation purely dedicated to all coaches, in all environments, across all sports and physical activities, UK Coaching proudly acknowledges and celebrates these extraordinary individuals who selflessly invest their time in others.

Among those nominated for the prestigious 2023 award are Ruby McDonald (Scotland), Melvyn Hamer (Wales), Gareth Mahood (Northern Ireland), Megan Allen (London), Lamin Faal (South East), Terry Dennis (South), Sadie Merrien (South West), Hamsa Hassan (West), Hannah Escott (West Midlands), Chloe Gibson (East Midlands), Rachael Hutchinson (East), Steph Atkinson (East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Des Smith (Yorkshire), Kate O'Sullivan (North East & Cumbria), and Khadija Patel (North West).

Heather Douglas, UK Coaching’s Head of Coaching & Policy, commended the nominated volunteers, emphasising the pivotal role coaches play in dedicating their time to fuelling sports and physical activity across the UK:

“Congratulations to each regional and national finalist nominated for the 2023 BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero of the Year Award. Coaches, especially those who volunteer, serve as vital conduits in guiding our communities towards healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles, delivering immeasurable positive benefits. And what better stage to celebrate them than the BBC Sports Personality of the Year?"

“Coaches are the heartbeat of their communities, adept at fostering relationships that address contemporary societal issues such as anti-social behaviour, crime, loneliness, social isolation, and disparities in accessing sports and physical activities.

“In the realm of sport and physical activity, coaches often lead the way in social impact, playing a transformative role in elevating the nation’s activity levels. We know that both children and adults who are active are healthier and happier, and we take pride in celebrating these outstanding coaches who deserve endless thanks for their invaluable contributions.”

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