The London Sport Awards, taking place at Wembley Stadium on the evening of 8 March 2018, are the biggest celebration of grassroots sport in the capital.
Every day across the city, people are given new opportunities and building new connections through taking part in sport. Meanwhile, London itself benefits from being better connected, better integrated and a home to more people enjoying the benefits of being physically active. London Sport and the Greater London Authority have created the London Together Award to recognise great achievements in this area.
The Mayor of London is committed to helping the community sport sector in London thrive. He wants Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to have opportunities to take part in physical activity – not only for the physical and mental health benefits, but also because he recognises the unique power of sport to bring people together, create shared experiences, and break down barriers between people and communities.
From an incredibly competitive nominations pool, a final shortlist of three projects have been announced as in the running for the London Together Award. Here’s a little more about them.
Camden Council, Sport and Physical Activity Services – Camden Boccia League
On a wet Tuesday morning, Camden Active All Areas staff arrived at Somers Town tenant’s hall, where a cream tea club was being held. 16 older adults were awaiting our arrival to get their first taste of Boccia: the first hurdle to overcome? “How do you pronounce Boccia?”!
Since 2016, Boccia projects have grown across Camden, especially in areas with high levels of deprivation and inactivity. Older adults from diverse social and economic backgrounds come together to participate as one team, proudly representing the communities they live in. Participation levels grow week on week, with people from a wide range of backgrounds including adults who have suffered bereavements and experience isolation, carers, people with poor health conditions, and speakers of a range of languages coming together around the sport of Boccia.
LA LIGA Female Recreational Football League
The Female Recreational Football League was initiated in 2016 as a response to inequalities experienced by women playing they game as part of men’s leagues. Founded by Amparo Rendon and Shirley Enriquez, the aim was to provide a safe space for women to participate in regular exercise, playing eight-a-side football. Participants are mainly drawn from the Latin American community, alongside players from Spain, Portugal, Africa and the UK. Teams are made up of women of all ages, all abilities and every level of experience.
Our approach is to strive to address inequalities by providing facilities and resources equivalent to more traditional counterparts, and is structured to empower participants to express opinions and offer suggestions. Over the League’s first year, this has helped to bridge gaps between different Latin American communities that, in spite of their commonalities, often had huge socio-political and historical prejudices against one another. The League encourages participation from all women, with issues addressed and challenges through dialogue, mediation and education. The League has been affiliated with the Creation Trust, Notting Hill Housing Association, Southwark Council and Street Crimes.
Snow-Camp: Snowsports Programme Journey
Snow-Camp is the UK’s only registered youth charity using a combination of snowsports, education and vocational opportunities to support, empower and bring together disadvantaged inner-city young people in London. We use sport to engage and inspire young people in London to overcome the limitations imposed by social issues, including low-income backgrounds, exposure to gang culture and juvenile crime, and unstable homes. Many of the young people we work with are NEET, or at risk of becoming NEET.
Our programme shows young people that through hard work and determination, they can achieve great things. For every hour they spend on the slopes, our participants spend an equal amount of time in the classroom, taking part in life-skills sessions and working towards various qualifications. We offer young people pathways and connections – though snowsports, and through support for their day-to-day lives, and their futures.
We wish all three of our shortlisted nominees the very best of luck on the night. Buy your tickets now, and join the biggest celebration of grassroots sport in the capital at Wembley Stadium on 8 March 2018.