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Our Awards

UK Coaching Heroes

The public vote for the UK Coaching Hero Awards has now closed. Votes will now be counted and winners announced later in the summer. More details coming soon. 

UK Coaching Awards 2020

The UK Coaching Awards is a unique opportunity for the sport and physical activity industry to honour and reward the work of #GreatCoaching across all levels in the UK. 

The showpiece event, seen as one of the most prestigious within the coaching community, was held virtually on Thursday, 3 December. This year the ceremony recognised the contribution coaches made in transforming lives in communities nationwide - especially against the backdrop of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The full winners on the night were:

Awards for Coaches:

Children and Young People’s Coach of the Year

  • Tom Bowen-Hall (rugby union) (Wiltshire, Melksham)

Community Coach of the Year

  • Prina Karia (badminton) (East Midlands, Leicester)

Changing Lives Award

  • Scott Burns (rugby league) (Greater Manchester, Wigan)

Talent Development Coach of the Year

  • Emma Collings-Barnes (swimming) (Devon, Tavistock)

High Performance Coach of the Year

  • Peter Rome (wheelchair fencing) (West Midlands, Coventry)

Young Coach of the Year 

  • Amy Moulton (gymnastics) (Somerset, Yeovil)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Donald Park (football) (Scotland, Lochaber)

The Coaching Chain

  • Marcus Rashford (football) – Colin Little, Dave Bushell, David Horrocks, Eamon Mulvey, Louis van Gaal, Maria Kelly, Neil Harris, Paul McGuinness, Stuart Leicester, Tarun Kapur and Tony Whelan.

Awards in Support of Coaches:

Coach Developer of the Year

  • Sarah Green (netball) (East Midlands, Nottingham)

Transforming Coaching Award

  • ECB - Cities Programme Team

Coaching for an Active Life Award

  • Scottish Disability Sport - Be Active, Be Well



From the nominations, an expert judging panel has carefully deliberated and selected the following finalists.

Awards for Coaches

Nicky Harveson (cycling)

Nicky Harveson


A British Cycling-accredited coach at Cheltenham Town Wheelers, Nicky plays an instrumental role in facilitating a safe, fun and social environment for young riders aged seven to 16 to develop their skills, build their confidence and realise their potential. 

Passionate about creating a culturally inclusive environment, Nicky tailors her approach to support progression and development, recognising that each rider is an individual with unique abilities and motivations. She also encourages parents to get involved and assist with session delivery.

Her impact on the community has been just as positive. An ambassador for cycling, Nicky worked with Cheltenham Borough Council in 2019 to organise the Cheltenham Festival of Cycling, which saw over 140 children given the opportunity to ride on the junior cycling track, and she also mentors and provides tailored support to other coaches.

A British Cycling Level 2 Coach, Level 2+ MTB and Level 2+ Road Coach, Nicky is studying for her Level 3 coaching qualification.


Ryan Kirby (rugby)

Ryan Kirby (right) with his Mad Dog Rugby man of the match 


Head Coach for the Mad Dog Sport rugby programme at Royal Wootton Basset Academy, Ryan works tirelessly to provide enjoyable, varied and creative rugby experiences. Taking pride in creating an inclusive environment, Ryan aims to build self-confidence and improve communication skills alongside sporting ability, giving players autonomy and responsibility alongside the opportunity for skill development.

Recognising the importance of mental health, Ryan offers safe, controlled opportunities for personal conversations and to build awareness. He provides all-round support to students, including those at risk of dropping out of school or losing interest in sport, and offers sessions on well-being, athletic development and transitions (post-school career advice).

He has also been at the helm of a collaborative, knowledge-sharing approach to working with other sports departments and coaches.

In the last 12 months, Ryan has taken on a coaching role with the Bath Rugby Developing Player Programme and established Tinies Rugby to promote the parent/child relationship in sport.


Tom Bowen-Hall (rugby)

Rugby coach Tom Bowen-Hall (second row, far right) with his team


Head of Rugby for the Mad Dog Sport rugby programme at Melksham Oak Community School, Tom delivers inclusive and supportive rugby sessions that are engaging, fun and challenging. By supporting players to create and develop their own style of play, he empowers them to become independent thinkers both on and off the field. 

Meticulous with planning and preparation, Tom encourages experienced players to pair with developing players to help build confidence and to facilitate a positive and supportive environment. Testament to his holistic approach is the support he gave one student who had become disillusioned with sport, helping him achieve his aspirations beyond rugby.

Tom has worked tirelessly to build relationships in different sectors, industries and organisations to provide career opportunities, work experience and guidance for his students. 

Tom has recently been promoted to Director of Rugby at Mad Dog Sport and Centre Manager for Bristol Bears’ Pathway Academy.

Dave Rogers (rugby)

Dave Rogers


First Team Head Coach Dave has had a life-changing impact on members of the Worcester Warriors Homeless Touch Rugby Team. His positive sessions provide an opportunity for players to benefit from a sense of structure and responsibility, and his personal support has enabled many players to make significant changes to their lives, from finding work to securing places to live.

Dave achieves this through creating an environment in which everyone feels welcome, and never judged or belittled. He devotes time and effort to learn about the problems that members of the team are dealing with and makes himself available to talk. His person-centred approach empowers players to develop on and off the field, boosting their self-belief and self-worth.

Dave invites feedback and communicates with players outside of sessions, checking for understanding and encouraging everyone’s input.

He also helped set up the Tri-Nations Homeless Cup, giving everyone in the team an opportunity to compete, and organises popular day trips.


Prina Karia (badminton)

Prina Karia (centre) with her participants at one of her ladies-only badminton sessions


From delivering beginner sessions to engage people in the sport to working with people with learning disabilities, Prina is passionate about empowering people of all ages and backgrounds to try badminton. 

In her fun and inclusive sessions, Prina creates a rich learning environment where everyone is encouraged and supported to reach goals unique to themselves and their development.

Prina’s first-hand experience of the stigmas associated with women’s sport increased her determination to compete in international leagues at a Division One standard in badminton. She now offers ladies-only sessions to help other women realise their aspirations outside of established traditions. A fantastic role model, her efforts have changed the views of many in her community. 

She has also developed a relationship with Badminton England and delivers weekly sessions of Women’s Para badminton.

In line with the growing global concern over mental health and well-being, Prina has completed a Mental Health Awareness course and a course on dementia to better support participants.


Samantha Williams Jones (multi-sport)

Samantha Williams Jones delivering one of her weekly activity and fitness classes


Samantha has helped countless people in her local community through ill health by designing programmes that include appropriate outdoor activities that help to improve their health and well-being and build confidence. Committed to creating a safe and friendly environment, the addition of her professional listening ear and inspirational approach has empowered many people to adopt healthier lifestyles and regular exercise.

She delivers weekly activity and fitness classes, including sessions for individuals with disabilities, and has worked closely on Cwlwm Seiriol, a community project promoting outdoor activity. She has also given her time to the project as an outdoor activities volunteer. 

A strong advocate of ‘green prescribing’ nature-based interventions such as outdoor exercise, and a proactive member of the local community, Samantha has also previously organised events to raise money to fund a defibrillator and for cancer research.

Samantha has completed a Level 4 cancer rehabilitation course and attended a Zumba weekend to extend her portfolio. She mentors a Personal Trainer and a Gym Instructor.

Hermine Briffa (cycling)

Hermine Briffa (left) holds up a recent fundraising cheque for Wheels for All


With empathy, encouragement and infectious enthusiasm, Hermine has a tremendous impact on people’s lives as a coach at Wheels for All, which empowers people with differing needs and abilities to ride adapted bikes. 

Many who attend the Warrington Wheels for All dementia-friendly sessions haven’t ridden a bike for over 50 years, but Hermine has shown that age and dementia are no barrier. The sessions can be challenging – some days participants cannot remember how to cycle – but the rewards are immense. Riding bikes with their peer group and carers has improved participants’ physical fitness and joint mobility and stimulated their brains, and has brought them happiness, freedom and a sense of fulfilment.

Hermine makes everyone feel safe and relaxed as they adjust to the new surroundings out of the residential care home and encourages feedback about how sessions can be more interactive and stimulating, whilst investing time into mentoring and training her volunteers on how to deliver safe cycling sessions and communicate effectively with people with dementia.


Scott Burns (rugby)

Scott Burns (back row, centre) and his team


The saying ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ could have been written for Wigan Warriors’ Physical Disability and Learning Disability rugby league teams, which Scott set up from scratch as a volunteer. 

The teams’ burgeoning reputation and expanding membership resulted in Scott being taken on as a full-time member of staff. He is now Warriors’ Disability and Inclusion Officer and Head Coach of both teams, which compete in the Learning Disability Super League and the RFL Physical Disability League.

Thanks to Scott’s inclusive philosophy, relationship-building skills, regular team-building trips and the opportunity to play in stadiums all over the country, the players’ confidence and self-esteem has soared.

Care is taken within sessions to keep the environment and routine compatible to the players’ needs and is done in a way where the differentiation is hidden. This allows players to feel equal and ensures everyone leaves with the same experience.


Sheraz Chohan (multi-sport)

 Sheraz Chohan (left) claps his participant


Sheraz was the main driving force behind the establishment of Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club. From humble beginnings as a small visually impaired cricket team, it has grown into a large multi-sport club.

As someone with a visual impairment (VI) himself, Sheraz’ voice is grounded in his lived experience. This has helped him support other coaches who work with VI participants to become more inclusive in their practice.

Equally at home coaching goalball, cricket or blind baseball, and a qualified fitness instructor and youth worker, for Sheraz sport and physical activity is not just about taking part or improving technique, it is a vehicle for personal growth. He strives to develop key life skills that transcend sport.

Outside his own club, Sheraz has worked with a number of partners, including British Blind Sport on the See My Voice programme, which offers a leadership qualification and volunteering experience to young people with VI, and was instrumental in the development of the UK Blind Baseball Association.

Amy Moulton (gymnastics)

Amy Moulton (second row, right)


Since joining the Spirit Gymnastics Academy in 2017, Head Coach Amy has been instrumental in establishing a welcoming atmosphere in which self-belief and confidence are on the rise. Where gymnasts used to worry about success, they are now proud to be associated with the club and are great role models for the next generation.

Amy uses her coaching team effectively to engage young people in sport, expending time and effort to understand gymnasts’ backgrounds and family circumstances, and tailoring training to their needs and preferences, with safety a top priority.

Further, by planning effectively, Amy ensures that all gymnasts’ needs are met, enabling them to progress towards and achieve their goals.

With Amy at the helm, the club enjoyed its most successful competition ever at the regional qualifications in March 2020, taking seven regional titles and a further four medals.


Emma Collings-Barnes (swimming)

Emma Collings-Barnes (right) with Scottish swimmer Georgina Dennis Photograph: © Rafael Domeyko


As Director of Swimming at Mount Kelly Boarding and Day School, Emma has created a welcoming culture that has culminated in a hugely popular, maximum capacity programme, raised the standards of performance, and vastly improved team spirit.

An inspiration and role model, Emma is committed to ensuring that every swimmer is encouraged to be themselves, placing their happiness, health and well-being at the forefront of her efforts. Individualisation is a priority, with swimmers supported to develop in accordance with their personal goals as well as for the squad.

Interested in participants as people, Emma leads the Optimal Athlete Development Framework at Mount Kelly, linking with British Swimming to continue to provide support through the development levels. She also helps swimmers with their applications to universities and does outreach work to provide ongoing support.

Emma was selected for the British Swimming Coach 2024 Programme and has previously attended UK Coaching’s prestigious Women into High Performance Coaching Programme.


Trevor Hunter (canoeing)

Trevor Hunter


Trevor has been indispensable in coaching a team of young paddlers showing the potential for future national selection at Devizes Canoe Club. Fostering an inclusive environment, he welcomes young people with disabilities and empowers athletes to take ownership of their performance and goals.

Having established a diverse team, Trevor’s coaching philosophy places the individual first, ensuring that their needs, preferences and abilities drive session design. Highlighting the importance of mental health, he also commits to supporting athletes to develop transferable skills, confidence and coping strategies applicable to all areas of life.

Members of Trevor’s Junior Racing Development Squad have been selected for the British Canoeing Marathon Team and the Junior British Sprint Squad, and Trevor was part of the team who coached two members of the White Water team who went on to represent GB.

Trevor encourages and supports parents and athletes to gain coaching qualifications and a greater understanding of the sport.

Craig Morris (canoeing)

Craig Morris (centre) with two of his athletes at the 2019 ICF Canoe World Championships


The achievements of Great Britain’s Canoe Slalom Technical Coach speak for themselves. He has supported his athletes to 12 individual senior World and European podiums, more than 30 World Cup medals across three Olympic disciplines, and helped his entire coaching group qualify for the Tokyo Olympics following a successful Canoe Slalom World Championships.

But it is the methods, models and mantras that his athletes appreciate just as much as the medals. Athlete welfare is his overriding priority and he ensures his athletes feel safe through a considered and co-created environment, carefully balancing challenge and support, whilst leading with his own values of honesty, integrity and transparency. He has supported athletes through critical life experiences, role modelling a duty of and to care.

Meticulous in his thinking and planning, Craig considers complex situations from a variety of angles and creates an environment rich with opportunities for leadership, collaboration and autonomy to suit individual needs. He strives to understand before attempting to be understood and models an egoless approach to interactions.


Peter Rome (wheelchair fencing) 

Peter Rome gives his athlete Piers Gilliver a high-five at the Amsterdam World Cup Photograph: © Eike Michler


Rome may not have been built in a day, but Peter Rome certainly didn’t waste any time bolstering a formidable GB disability fencing team, when he joined them six months before the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

A silver medal for one of the two athletes, who qualified, signalled the start of a successful era, with UK Sport funding allowing him to start a world class programme, with athletes like Piers Gilliver, who are now a major force on the world stage – having won 20 international medals or more in each of the last two years.

Peter sets high standards but has the total respect and buy-in of his athletes by remaining calm under pressure, patient and clear in his messaging, and always leading by example with his own behaviour. His attitude and manner towards all his fencers and fellow coaching staff is positive, supportive and encouraging. He listens to the ideas and opinions of everyone in equal measure and spends as much time with the newest fencer as the most experienced.


Ryan Spencer-Jones (para-athletics)

Ryan Spencer-Jones (right) with Paralympian Aled Sion Davies


Any athlete can follow a coaching programme but supporting an athlete to perform at the highest level year after year is the hallmark of a great coach. And as many of his athletes have testified, Welsh Athletics National Throws Lead Ryan is a psychological rock with a mastery of keeping athletes on track and ready to perform when it matters.

Integrating and understanding athletes is another of Ryan’s notable strengths. He has broken the mould of many athletics coaches by including an elite para-athlete into his non-disabled training group. His commitment to integrating all levels and abilities is testimony to his openness to exploring new learning methods and his resolve to providing a caring, inclusive and nurturing environment for all his athletes.

“He understands me better than I know myself” is how one athlete describes Ryan, who through his influence, leadership and ambition, has created solidarity and a buoyant family environment in the ‘throws’ community in Wales.

Amy Moulton (gymnastics) 

Amy Moulton (second row, right) literally supporting one of her 'Spirit' gymnasts 


Amy has a fantastic rapport with her gymnasts, helped by having competed alongside some of them herself during her time as a regional champion who competed at national level, before her transition into coaching.

As the Head Coach of Spirit Gymnastics Academy, she has helped transform the small and under-performing club into a place where gymnasts thrive – not just performance-wise but from a psychosocial perspective, with the club’s retention rate through the pandemic standing at 90%, testament to the welcoming family atmosphere Amy has created.

Further evidence of her positive influence is the queue of young gymnasts waiting to complete coaching courses, with Amy having secured a £6,500 grant from Sport England for the cost of coaching qualifications.

Amy started a club YouTube channel this year that showcases training methods and highlights achievements. Maintaining a positive profile through social media has enabled the club to attract new coaches, while gymnasts have reported that Amy’s “clever and subtle” individual messages of support on social channels have helped boost their self-esteem and confidence.


Fran Evans (wheelchair basketball)

Fran Evans (left) with wheelchair basketball coach and Paralympian Anna Jackson


Fran’s versatility seemingly knows no bounds. She coaches wheelchair basketball, tennis and boccia at various sports clubs, and for a variety of organisations within the health sector, including DementiaGo, Parkinson’s UK and MS Society UK.

Her adaptability comes in useful at Caernarfon Celts Wheelchair Basketball Club, where there can be up to five parallel sessions running at one time to cater for the various needs/targets of the players – some of whom have learning difficulties and others profound multiple and physical disabilities. Having a disabled mum, Fran understands illness and disability, enabling her to relate to participants and their needs and form a strong emotional connection.

She recognises that sport isn’t just about physical well-being, but the mental, emotional, psychological and social impact gained from sport and physical activity and she works hard to make sure that these various aspects are always catered for within her coaching. Her knowledge and achievements made her the ideal candidate to become the club’s Technical Lead for Disability.


Issy Haigh (gymnastics)

Issy Haigh coaches every level from pre-school to senior competitive gymnasts


Three-times senior British Acrobatic Gymnastics champion and former World and European medallist Issy was determined that no member of the Spirit Gymnastics Academy would lose out precious training time during the coronavirus lockdown. She adopted a “hearts and minds” approach that involved arranging and delivering a unique continuation service of online training, which kept children active and engaged with the sport and, importantly, helped bolster their mental health as well their physical health during lockdown.

Issy coaches every level from pre-school right up to the most senior competitive gymnasts and aims to start disability gymnastics classes soon. She is an inspirational role model – having progressed to the national ranks before returning to the club where she first started – and is now passing on her knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to the next generation, which she does with humility and a relentlessly positive and infectious attitude.

She has inspired other gymnasts to join the coaching ladder and the club now has its own coach development pathway, with Issy having hosted workshops from other senior coaches and arranged mentoring from a former international-level coach.


Patrick Ham (swimming)

Patrick Ham coaching poolside whilst observing coronavirus health and safety measures


After being promoted from Development Coach at Sevenoaks Swimming Club to Youth Development Squad Lead, Patrick has transformed a squad lacking identity into a legitimate pathway through the club. With his permanent smile and natural ability to connect with young people, he has created an enviable dynamic in a squad that describes themselves as ‘a family’.

Patrick ensures that his training sessions are fun and interactive and cultivates an ownership mentality to help young people learn. He encourages squad members to run in-group competitions themselves and suggest their own swim sets, welcomes feedback on activities and champions buddying by encouraging swimmers to look out for each other and provide peer support – all the while monitoring personal development requirements and adapting and modifying training when necessary to meet individual needs and goals.

His swimmers value his holistic approach and see him as much more than a swimming coach, with one thanking him for “supporting me in my schoolwork, netball and everything else.”

Awards in Support of Coaches

Gavin Grenville-Wood (golf)

Gavin Grenville-Wood


Golf legend Seve Ballesteros once said that “if I had to define myself, I would say I have tried to play golf as if I were an artist” and it seems award winning junior golf coach Gavin is applying some of his own artistry into developing golf coaches.

The Head of Junior Education at Leadbetter Golf Academy has been hailed by one of his coaches as a "true inspiration during these tough times", regularly taking the time to check in with his mentees and being on hand to troubleshoot.

Gavin’s style of coach developing is through an open and honest dialogue that ensures his coaches are more receptive to constructive criticism. He also employs the tactic of journaling, encouraging his cohort to detail their thoughts and feelings in a personal diary that they can refer to at anytime for guidance and inspiration to feed their coaching.

During the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, Gavin used his influence to cajole a vast network of golf pros and coaches to take part in delivering the ‘World’s Biggest Golf Lesson’ via Instagram Live. A staggering 50,000-plus students participated worldwide and more than £10,000 was raised for NHS Charities.


Nicky Fuller (equestrian)

Nicky Fuller


Working primarily as a consultant, mainly, across the equestrian industry, Nicky has been developing innovative learning and training resources for coaches, and strategic planning for coach development, for 21 years. Her mantra is ‘people first, programme content second’.

Nicky chairs the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) Coaching Development Action Team (CDAT), which is a network of coaching lead officers across BEF’s member bodies. Over the last few challenging months, she has been particularly diligent at motivating and keeping the group connected. Pre-coronavirus, Nicky worked with the CDAT and the governing body to produce a new cross-federation coaching strategy to ensure quality coaching and high-performing coaches for the sport’s 1.8 million strong participation base.

Working with British Showjumping, Nicky also developed – and now leads – the NDPCE programme (National Development Programme for Coaching Excellence), which is a personal development programme that helps participation coaches hone their coaching craft, strengthen their coaching philosophy and develop their reflective practice. With many strings to her bow, Nicky has also developed the workforces of other sports, including golf and netball.


Sarah Green (netball)

Sarah Green (left) giving a curious coach the benefit of her wisdom


Sarah is England Netball’s Performance Coach Developer, providing coaches on the Roses Academy and netball franchises performance pathways with individualised support to develop their coaching practice and behaviours.

Passionate about people, learning, coaching and teaching, Sarah is a leader, manager and developer with an excellent track record of strategic leadership and collaboration.

A testimonial from a coach selected for England Netball’s coach development programme said that Sarah created an environment in which they felt comfortable to discuss topics without judgement and that her "contagious curiosity" ensured that they maintained a growth mindset.

Sarah is also a UEFA A Licence football coach and an FA Tutor, delivering courses such as the UEFA B Licence. Sarah previously worked at The FA for 11 years and was part of the The FA Tesco Skills Programme, which was a pioneering programme for 5-11-year-olds, delivering specialist national curriculum football-based education. She was also the regional PE and Coaching in Education Manager in the East Midlands, working with The Premier League to support professional football clubs with their coach development.

British Canoeing

British Canoeing's coach self-analysis tool


Blazing a trail in learning and development, British Canoeing launched its ‘Coach Self-Analysis Tool and Digital Library’ in October 2019, transforming its coach learning experience.

Although the governing body’s new educational philosophy allows for a flexible, learner-centred approach, where learners are empowered to choose their entry point for continuing professional development, depending on experience, some were feeling a little uncertain about where to begin. And, indeed, with 15,000 coaches across all paddle sports, each with their own learning requirements and degrees of experience, a solution was required to help individuals accurately measure their current level of understanding, skill and knowledge in their chosen area. Enter British Canoeing’s new tool.

From a questionnaire that focuses on five areas of coaching, learners are signposted to the right learning and development they need within the ‘Digital Library’. By June of this year, more than 2300 coaches had accessed the tool, viewing resources in the library over 37,000 times.


British Cycling

British Cycling's Education Delivery Manger Robbie George


British Cycling set out to better support and develop its coaching workforce, across several cycling disciplines, by launching British Cycling Learning.

The new system offers coaches a scalable, modular approach to learning, streamlining the learner journey and giving learners a range of digital options, including standalone eLearning modules (90 of them!), webinars and communities of practice.

The system has been so successful it is being used at every level of the organisation and across every course, ensuring employees of British Cycling and cycling coaches nationwide are consistent in their approach towards transforming cycling coaching in the UK.

An additional change to their coaching offer to support more coaches includes the recruitment of 10 regional ‘Club and Coaches Officers’, who support coach forums, manage bursaries for courses and deliver continuing professional development opportunities. For example, 25 grassroots coaches were accompanied by a UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) coach developer to an indoor velodrome for a workshop focusing on developing track cyclists. British Cycling has alo set up digital communities of practice for its 130-strong tutor workforce.


ECB - Cities Programme Team

Volunteer coach gives bowling instructions as part of the ECB's All Stars Cricket Programme


The England and Wales Cricket Board set out to recruit 2000 women from South Asian backgrounds as volunteers for its All Stars Cricket programme, across seven cities.

Insight had shown the governing body that multiple barriers existed for these women, stopping them from volunteering in sport. These included having a volunteering space that is accessible and safe, and having suitable kit/clothing options that are inclusive of cultural dress.

Thus, the Cities Programme Team set about delivering an aspirational and representative marketing campaign titled ‘Dream Big Desi Women’ that engaged their target audience. They addressed the aforementioned barriers by holding national cricket programmes in non-traditional locations, where the women could feel comfortable and could travel to easily, including faith and community spaces, and introduced modest kit options for its volunteers, including longer t-shirts, loose fitting trousers, long-sleeve skins and a sports hijab.

To ensure the volunteers were kept engaged after their initial 8-week commitment, the team created a ‘chai and chat’ female-only virtual event, filled with cricket news, guest interviews and interactive chats with volunteers from across England. One of the volunteers is now employed by the ECB.

Be Active, Be Well

Be Active, Be Well programme online


Scottish Disability Sport’s (SDS) Be Active, Be Well programme was tremendously successful in ensuring participants of all ages became and stayed active throughout the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

In March 2020, it became evident to SDS that people with disabilities, mental and physical health problems and those shielding from the virus would be affected detrimentally by the measures. By swiftly moving its activity programme online and engaging in a high-profile social media campaign, SDS encouraged its target audience to be active every day through daily physical sessions and weekly mental well-being sessions.

Participants have indicated that the variety of physical activities on offer met their needs and that they found them enjoyable, motivating them to return to the programme day-after-day, week-after-week. With isolation a core problem of the lockdown, Be Active, Be Well sought to address this through activity, social contact and new friendships. There was also inclusion training for 192 coaches – redeveloped for the virtual classroom environment.

All in all, the programme reached over 600 people, 83% of which were female, 51% wheelchair users, 31% had a physical disability and 16% a learning disability.



Two BMXercisers enjoy themselves during a session


Access Sport’s BMXercise is fun, friendly and fitness-based BMX sessions for all women aged 16 and over, no matter their fitness levels and abilities.

The programme was created to rebalance an underrepresentation of women in the cycling discipline and provide an activity for women to get active, improve their cycling in a safe environment, connect with new people and introduce a new audience to the world of BMX.

In the last 12 months, over 300 participants took part in BMXercise sessions across 21 locations, including London, Bristol, Oxford and Manchester.

One BMXerciser said that the programme has given her a "great sense of pride and empowerment", building back their confidence and tenacity after recovering from breast cancer.

Access Sport also support the programmer’s participants to develop their skills and confidence to start leading in the delivery of the sessions. Many have gone on to achieve their coaching qualifications and are now champions of the movement, inspiring more women to ride!



OurParks Founder Born Barikor (front) leads his 'Parkers' in a tug-of-war


Born Barikor is the founder and CEO of OurParks, which brings group exercise classes, led by experienced, fully qualified instructors to city parks in all London boroughs and in all core cities across the UK. Its raison d'être: to provide everyone with the opportunity to exercise by removing the barriers of cost so that anyone from any borough, any socio-economic background and any community group can participate.

By offering free fitness classes in local parks, OurParks has brought people together from all walks of life. A large portion (87%) of its participant base is women and girls, while over 60% are from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

With the announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown, OurParks launched OurParks Live, which saw thousands of ‘Parkers’ come together to exercise online through livestreamed sessions. This diversification helped participants to remain physically active, engaged and connected with others and helped maintain mental well-being at a time of isolation.

With support from Sport England, OurParks is currently developing a ‘Coach Parker’ qualification, which will allow participants to develop their coaching skills and volunteer their time to support OurParks’ sessions.

UK Coaching Awards 2019

Find out who won what in our 2019 UK Coaching Awards

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