Volunteers in Northamptonshire, Manchester and West Sussex have been presented with Barclays Community Sports Awards, for their efforts in supporting local programmes across the UK.
The awards, presented to an individual every month, reward recipients with a £1,000 donation for their organisation, a trophy, and a chance to win a further £5,000 from Barclays Spaces for Sports programme if their entry is judged to be the best of year.
November’s winner Colin Lee, a 72-year-old RAF veteran, has been involved with grassroots football in Northamptonshire for more than 30 years. In that time he’s formed eight teams, offering children and adults opportunities to train and socialise at the Northampton Academy.
Not only does Colin still play with the RAF veterans team he founded, he’s also General Secretary of all eight clubs, responsible for organising training and fixtures for around 140 members. In 2012 he hopes to establish a girls team and a second team for fellow RAF veterans.
Upon receiving the award, Colin said: “Funding is always an issue for us. The prize money will go a long way towards providing kit and helping me expand our existing teams.”
October’s award was presented to Gerry Lavelle, a former England boxer who now dedicates five nights a week to coaching amateur boxers in Bognor Regis and Chichester, West Sussex.
Gerry’s support helped establish a local boxing club ten years ago, which has helped contribute to a dramatic decrease in anti-social behaviour in the area. Gerry has also attracted a wealth of new members, investors and qualified coaches.
Referring to the prize money, Gerry said: “This will help supply our members with new equipment and allow us to redeem our affiliation with the Amateur Boxing Association.”
September’s Community Sports Award went to John Gurd, Chairman of the Manchester branch of learning disability charity Mencap. The organisation supports more than 300 families in Greater Manchester with free advice, facilities and activities.
John forged a partnership between Mencap and the Manchester United Association, setting up weekly football sessions led by professional coaches. Participants benefit from health checks, and get a chance to socialise. He said: “The fact our work has been recognised inspires us to keep going and gives us the incentive to expand.”
The Barclays Community Sports Award is delivered in partnership between Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Barclays Premier League’s Creating Chances programme, and the Football Foundation.