Sports Gives Back Awards Celebrates the Power of Sport

Feb 28, 2024
5 Min read
Beyond The Games

Wednesday, 28 February - Worthy winners from across the UK were honoured at the annual Sport Gives Back Awards, held at Cadogan Hall in London this evening.

Recognising the role that grassroots sport can play in addressing social challenges, the awards winners were nominated by their respective charities to thank them for their work in their communities. As Founding Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, one of the charities honoured this evening, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex joined virtually to pay tribute to the Foundation’s community liaison Manager Josh Boggi, who was chosen as winner of the Unconquered award.

Reading-based Josh lost both legs and his right arm while serving in Afghanistan and went on to develop a love of cycling during his recovery. Now, he works with other international wounded and sick service personnel to give them similar opportunities and aid their recovery.

In the surprise video appearance, The Duke said: Josh, you are a truly remarkable human. There is no-one in the world who deserves this more; you are the personification of resilience.” Olympian triple jumper, and trustee of the Invictus Games Foundation, Jonathan Edwards presented Josh with his award on stage in London.

Other sporting stars in the room on the night included Sir Mo Farah, Dame Kelly Holmes, Frank Lampard and Ellie Simmonds, who presented awards to individuals and organisations across the country. Co-hosted by Jeanette Kwakye and Josh Denzel, entertainment came from Britain’s Got Talent finalist, comedian Daliso Chaponda.

The Sport Gives Back ceremony will be broadcast on ITV1 on Sunday, March 24.

Sponsored by The Co-operative Bank, the awards saw a total of eight charities presenting prizes to worthy winners from their communities.

Dallaglio RugbyWorks chose Dan Ley as the winner of its Transforming Lives: Empowering Excluded Youth award. Having been expelled from school on numerous occasions as a teenager, he turned his life around and now mentors young people in south Wales through the medium of rugby. Dan’s award was presented by charity founder Lawrence Dallaglio.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s Community Partnership Impact Award went to Team Sheffield. This group of athlete mentors works alongside Westfield Health and 12 schools to work with young people facing personal challenges, helping them achieve their aspirations. Dame Kelly herself was on hand to present the award on behalf of her charity.

Greenhouse Sports honoured Sarah Bonnell School in east London with its Team for Life Award. Located in one of the most deprived areas of the capital, the school has worked with the charity on a tennis programme since the pandemic; this has increased the confidence, teamwork and resilience of its pupils. The award was presented by Paralympian gold medallist Ellie Simmonds and international netball star Ama Agbeze.

Lord’s Taverners’ Inspire Award went to Connor Hyde. Connor has overcome his own challenges with cerebral palsy and epilepsy to work with the charity’s Somerset Super 1s disability cricket project. He now runs some of the sessions, coaches at his local cricket club, and is a personal trainer. Connor received his award from international cricketer Chris Woakes.

Sported honoured Joe Donnelly with its Community Sport Social Impact Award. Based in Northern Ireland, Joe set up a mental health charity in memory of a friend he lost to suicide.

Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues uses sport as a conduit to make mental health fun and engaging via sessions with clubs, schools and youth groups. Joe’s award was presented by football legend Frank Lampard and his wife, TV presenter Christine.

SportWorks’ Community Group of the Year award went to The Elfrida Society in Islington, north London. The group, which has been at the heart of its community for over 100 years, has a long history of supporting people with learning disabilities and autism. Its sporting activities include tennis, studio fitness and football. The award was presented by TV sports presenters Ed Chamberlin and Jill Douglas.

Youth Sport Trust selected Jill Newbolt from Sheffield to win its Building Brighter Futures award. Jill has dedicated her career to breaking down the barriers that society places on children with disabilities in sports and physical education, particularly those with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Olympians Sir Mo Farah and Fatima Whitbread presented Jill with her award.

The origins of Sport Gives Back

Sport Gives Back, whose inaugural awards took place in 2020, is the brainchild of former international athlete Connie Henry MBE:

“Sport changed my life as a teenager. It gave me the stability, focus, and opportunity I wouldn’t otherwise have had. When I retired from athletics, I set up Track Academy, a charity which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Brent, where I grew up myself. Over the last 15 years, we have helped hundreds of students to succeed both on and off the track.

Back in 2019, I realised that there was no platform where charities and organisations like ours could shout about the amazing work we do through sport. As a result, I decided to set up Sport Gives Back to celebrate those who use sport for social change.”

former international athlete Connie Henry MBE Founder of Sport Gives Back

Chief executive officer of The Cooperative Bank, Nick Slape said: “We’re so proud to sponsor the Sport Gives Back awards and celebrate the invaluable work of people all over the country who are changing lives and making a difference through sport. By working co-operatively, we can build stronger communities and make a positive difference together.”

Richard Botchway, ITV Sport’s assistant commissioner, said: "We are looking forward to ITV broadcasting the Sport Gives Back Awards, highlighting the incredible impact and positive difference that sport has made in communities far and wide."

“Sport is the nation’s most potent social worker” Sebastian Coe KBE

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