#Inspiration2022 Awards: Unsung Hero

Our #Inspiration2022 Awards were a celebration of the incredible contributions of young leaders and volunteers in their local communities.

Community organisations across our network were invited to nominate individuals who they felt deserved to be recognised for their extraordinary efforts over the past year.

Our #Inspiration2022 Unsung Hero Award celebrated individuals across the country who keep everything together and do many different jobs to keep things ticking over for their community organisations. The nominations we received reflected the strength of the gratitude and admiration for these people from those they work with and support.

Our national winner Aaron was brought up in an underserved community and has previously struggled with his physical and mental health. After being identified as at-risk of exclusion from school, he was mentored by Enthusiasm Trust – not only supporting him to stay in school, but also giving him the chance to take up opportunities that had previously been out of reach.

Aaron now gives up at least three evenings every week to run football training sessions and work with other young people attending sessions. He also helps to run school holiday activity clubs and is now training other volunteers. He is also part of the local Youth Voice Board, attending meetings with other representatives from around the city to represent the young people who attend Enthusiasm and the community they live in. Having once walked in the same shoes as many of the young people who attend Enthusiasm, Aaron is a brilliant role model as well as an invaluable volunteer.

Our London & South East regional winner Hassan is only 17 but has gone above and beyond for his local youth club, Ansar Youth Project – often spending more hours there during the week as a volunteer than some of the paid employees. His is happy to take a range of roles at the club, from front desk manager to football coach – including running Saturday football sessions, despite having work beforehand and football training for himself later that evening. Due to his lived experience of issues faced by young people growing up in the local area, he is able to easily relate to club participants and speaks openly about adversity he has experienced, creating an atmosphere of openness, empathy and trust and empowering other young people to speak about mental health.

Our South West regional winner Carly is the unsung hero of local boxing club Make N Mend Muscle. She has a great rapport with young people attending boxing sessions, always providing the patience and support that many of the young people seek. She also works incredibly hard in the background; despite working full time, she has put in the time and effort to carry out surveys and questionnaires to obtain data to demonstrate and support the project’s outcomes. Without her, Make N Mend’s brilliant achievements supporting young people would simply not have been possible.

Our Yorkshire & Humber regional winner Hanna has recently taken over the day-to-day running of Hop On, an organisation offering cycling activities for women and underrepresented groups. In challenging circumstances, she has held the organisation together and built team morale, organising social activities and motivating staff to work even harder in engaging the local community with cycling activities. After bikes were stolen in one location, her perseverance was key to getting sessions restarted. They are now back up and running and the organisation is going from strength to strength, including a new location ready to start offering activities.

We are grateful for the passion and dedication of those who work tirelessly for their local community organisations to offer vibrant and varied Doorstep Sport provision – ensuring that young people have somewhere to go, something to do, and someone to trust. Congratulations again to all of our winners!

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