Just a few days out from the London Sport Awards 2018, where we will be announcing eight new winners at the iconic Wembley Stadium, we checked in with Awards Panellist, Gareth Dixon, as he recounts the incredible standard of nominations this year.
Can you tell us why you agreed to being part of the London Sport Awards Panel?
It was a great honour to be asked to be part of the Panel and I was delighted to take part alongside some very well respected colleagues. Having worked on community projects for nearly 10 years in many guises, I hoped that I could offer some insight that would help the Panel recognise the work from the perspective of a volunteer, paid coach and project manager. I felt that I offered this knowledge on my category as well as some of the others as part of a very well organised conversation.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate the successes of grassroots physical activity and sport?
I think we are blessed with the high quality of physical activity and sport that is on offer for Londoners from free to paid services. Therefore when something stands out we should celebrate and shout from the roof tops about the amazing impact these gems of work have on individuals and groups. This isn’t for self-indulgent reasons but it gives us a chance to say thanks and to share learning and support good practices so that it hopefully helps sustainability in these financially strained times.
There were some incredibly inspiring nominations for the awards this year, but what does a winner of a London Sport Award look like to you?
Nominations that have impact beyond the activities are always going to stand out for me. For example, projects that help students achieve more in the classroom, get people into meaningful employment, increase peoples self-esteem or assist people in discovering and maintaining positive habits, will always catch my eye. We saw countless examples of this which made the judging so hard. It should almost go without saying, but nominations that looked to address equality issues or provided a service that is demanded but not available are extremely warranted and represented in the shortlists.
When you were judging the nominations, was there anything that shock/surprised you about people’s efforts to get people moving in the capital?
Peoples determination and persistence in trying to address complex issues, whether this was in a paid or voluntary capacity. Whist we recognise the brilliance at physical activity and sport to make a difference in society it’s not always an easy task to put theory into practice and I’ve seen many well meaning projects falter. It’s the people that make a difference to whether a concept works or not and in the nominations there was some outstanding examples of people challenging these issues and it was quite humbling.
Also the personal sacrifice that people are willing to offer up. We seem to live in a world where we are quick to attack the faults of one another but slow to acknowledge the amazing efforts of our fellow citizens. The Awards offer a perfect chance to do this and we should value these opportunities to learn from individuals who are offering so much for so many.
What are you most looking forward to at the London Sport Awards?
The opportunity to meet some of the amazing people in person and put faces to the wonderful stories we were very privileged to read about. Sharing these sorts of moments don’t come around all the time especially at such an iconic global setting that is fitting for the quality of guests that will be in attendance.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of putting their project forward as a nominee next year?
While understanding that time is our great resource and capacity a huge issue, please do take the time to submit an application. It’s an amazing opportunity for you to review what you do and celebrate the success of the impact you’re making. It’s often said that it’s about who you know which is kinda true but it’s also about who you know knowing what you do and what a better opportunity that the London Sports Awards.