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11 Nov 2017

Winners announced at the 2017 Black Country Sport and Physical Activity Awards

The winners of the 2017 Black Country Sport & Physical Activity Awards were announced last night in a prestigious awards ceremony at the Copthorne Hotel, Dudley.

Hosted by Pete Morgan, the ceremony showcased the successes and inspirational stories of Black Country clubs, coaches, projects, sportspeople and unsung heroes over 11 categories.

Maggie Alphonsi MBE, former England Rugby Player was guest speaker, and offered the audience an insight into her goals and dreams, and rise to England team glory.

The photos from the night can be viewed by clicking here.

The winners on the night were as follows:

SPORTIVATE PROJECT OF THE DECADE
Dudley Disability Swimming Project

The disability swimming sessions created a safe and secure environment for young people with a disability and their parents or carers to take part in swimming. Some of the children were not able to cope with the noisy environment of an open swimming session, and this previously discouraged parents from attending. Leisure centre staff are communication champions and the sessions enabled families to get together with others in a similar situation. This project has been self-sustained for over a year now after the initial funding ran out, with over 20 young people attending on a weekly basis.

COMMUNITY CLUB OF THE YEAR
Tividale Football Academy

Tividale Football Academy achieved Development Club status in July 2017. They have strong links with local schools and have developed partnerships with West Midlands Police. They use the power of football to inspire young people to move into positive activities. The club manages 350 young people and over 40 volunteers across 24 teams. The club has a 5 year development plan and a pro-active committee. They support their volunteers with appropriate training, and have introduced netball to the club as a means of involving more female members.

SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
The Federation of Abbey Infants and Abbey Junior Schools, Sandwell

At Abbey, PE is developed around a Head, Heart, Hands philosophy. Through PE they develop the whole child with significant impact on social, moral, spiritual and cultural development. The PE curriculum is planned to include a broad range of skills and activities to engage children of all ages, abilities and interests. Professional learning in PE at Abbey is organised, recorded and delivered by the PE lead and supported by senior leaders. All children have lots of opportunities to be active before, during and after school. Activity levels at Abbey are monitored continually which allows the PE lead to monitor trends, and target the least active pupils within the school.

COMMUNITY IMPACT
Benson Community Project

Benson Community Project has engaged over 1000+ residents in Smethwick with different activities. They engage with a wide variety of people and organisations including developing relationships with the Police to support youth activities. They also link with care homes and social services, with some staff members volunteering on the programme. They have successfully signposted young people at risk to mainstream employment and over 60 young people have joined an affiliated football team. The open door policy with no judgement to who you are or why you are there is a massive reason for their success. Paul & Erroll are there 50 weeks a year, 6 days a week and have inspired so many to take part, and become a valuable member of the community.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Wayne McDonald

Wayne has been coaching Judo for over 13 years. He is a Level 2 UKCC coach. He has developed his coaching skills recently by shadowing and coaching visually impaired young people and also volunteers at the annual British Blind Sport Day. Wayne is a positive role model to young people, he leads by example but also challenges other peoples behaviours. He manages to bring a balance in engaging with students, he rarely says no, and is always willing to help. Wayne coaches beginners at school and community clubs, and he coaches more experienced players, coaching at competitions up and down the country. Wayne links his school activities to other local clubs in the area making sure each individual is linked with the right coach.

ASPIRING TALENT
Freya Robson

Karate has developed Freya into a mature young lady. It has given her social skills and also developed her ability to focus. Freya trains 3 times per week and has progressed through the gradings and is currently a 2nd Dan Black Belt. In November 2016, Freya achieved 3 medals representing England in Switzerland. She has regularly competed and medalled in regional and UK national championships throughout the year. She not only competes, but regularly coaches the junior members of the club, having recently qualified as a junior coach. Freya has continued to achieve whilst at the same time having just taken up a place at Cambridge University. To top off her year, Freya has just got back from this year’s Wado European Championships in Paris where she successfully defended her Team Kata title and also got gold in the Under 21 Kata.

SATELLITE CLUB OF THE YEAR
Community Rangers FC – Football for All

A satellite club was set up in partnership with Sporting Equals to work with hard to reach groups locally from mosques and schools. The satellite club is located at Dudley Goals Soccer Centre and includes young people from the area. With growing engagement of the young people and their family members, this resulted in a group of volunteers who were able to develop further activities. The club held workshops during the football sessions to ensure that the social element of the game was in all practices. The club has attracted 56 participants during the year through engaging with non-sport projects and identifying those who wouldn’t otherwise take part.

POWER OF SPORT
Natty Blewitt

After taking part in Beat the Streets, Natty, who found being active a challenge, was signposted to a couch to 5k beginners running group, but being in a wheelchair Natty found the terrain difficult. She did not let this experience defeat her, and showing great resilience Natty decided to identify suitable routes that would be more inclusive. Her local couch to 5k is now moving to flatter field to enable her and others in a wheelchair to take part. As a result of this experience, Natty has now also started swimming, stating that being more active has left her feeling so much better physically and mentally.

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Acelya Toprak

Acelya has been performing at the highest level of Judo for over 10 years. She is now making the transition to senior level by entering senior European ranking events and already being successful at the event. She has had an outstanding year in her judo performance so far, whilst at the same time studying for a degree. During this year alone she has won 1 bronze, 2 silver and 3 gold medals at European events.

UNSUNG HERO
John Totney and Martin Floyd

Over the past year, 2 community volunteers, John and Martin delivered a total of 1,400 hours of voluntary work supporting customers with a disability at Portway Lifestyle Centre. Their involvement with the 60+ class has helped in attracting more than 40 new participants to the class. John who is now retired has been in the role since the centre opened in 2013, and Martin who was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, is a wheelchair user who applied for the voluntary role after several visits as a gym user. Both John and Martin provide up to 20 hours of voluntary support every week. The Development Officer for Sandwell Visually Impaired has said that without their dedication to the role, the successful Gym Buddy scheme wouldn’t be where it is today.

ELVIS GORDON CHAIR’S RECOGNITION AWARD
Black Country Talent Match

Black Country Talent Match is a fantastic project that is targeting young people who are furthest from the jobs market, including those who are completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work. The project has boosted opportunities for young people in the Black Country areas by bringing together partnerships of employers, education providers and others, led by local charities. They have used sport and physical activity as a vehicle to support young people back into work. The stories of the young people in overcoming adversity are truly inspirational and the sport and physical activity work has featured heavily over the past 18 months.

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