As part of our ongoing partnership working alongside Chipotle Mexican Grill, we’re celebrating the capital’s physical activity and community sport heroes. Those who make physical activity and sport happen throughout London.
From coaches to administrators to volunteers making refreshments, London is full of people who put all their energy and passion into a job in the sporting world. Their work makes a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of Londoners, and they undoubtedly deserve a moment in the spotlight.
In 2021, we picked eight Chipotle Community Champions. These are the stories of their work in physical activity and sport and recognition for the great work they do day-to-day.
2022 Chipotle Community Champions:
Ioan Nascu – Prometheus Combat
Ioan is an Olympic wrestling coach at Prometheus combat where he creates opportunities for refugees who want to take part in the sport and spearheads the Women Wrestle campaign.
LaunchedWhen he is not doing this, he is also a competitor and referee, and sits on the diversity working group at British Wrestling.
Ioan shows a dedication to and passion for Olympic wrestling and has gone above and beyond to bring others into the sport.
2021 Chipotle Community Champions:
Tigers Junior Football
Winning the Enhancing the Workforce Award, sponsored by Chipotle, at the London Sport Awards, Tigers JFC Futures programme is our final Chipotle Community Champion.
Launched to get players into the coaching and refereeing side of grassroots football, and has developed and trained more than 20 young people to be qualified referees.
A former participant, Leigh Gell, has recently been appointed Women’s Football Recreation Officer at Manchester FA.
A student of sports psychology at Loughborough, she brought a new dynamic to the way of coaching at the Wildcats centre and became a fond favourite with all the young budding female footballers.
Young volunteers are provided with a proper training kit, and full referees kit and accessories once passing their referees exam.
Carl Reid – Storm Basketball Club
Carl is a dedicated basketball Coach and mentor for young people in London. At Elmgreen School, Carl worked with over 600 young people growing up in areas of significant youth deprivation, focused on their social, thinking, emotional and physical development.
Carl is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion, delivering training to over 100 Greenhouse Sports Staff.
As if this wasn’t enough, Carl completed the 2021 London Marathon to raise more funds for his school basketball programme and undertook a strict training regime with an Adidas running group.
Carl will continue his mentoring at Storm Basketball Club in Crawley as a Community Coach, running sessions for schools, Community Basketball League and National League participants.
Chloe Nestor - Theatre Peckham
Chloe is the lead tutor of an initiative programme at Theatre Peckham, an all-female dance company named ‘Ignite’.
Chloe shows an unapologetic passion for Ignite and has gone above and beyond her duties to ensure young women get the best out of dance sessions.
During the pandemic, Chloe set up activities focused on mental well-being and physical activity. They have helped members of Ignite become aware of the importance health holds through dance and movement.
Chloe has consistently demonstrated her passion for dance and dedication towards her community. We are proud to introduce Chloe as our October Chipotle Community champion.
Marcus Cabeça - QMC school of Capoeira
For 15 years, Marcus has been sharing his passion for Capoeira. Since lockdown, Marcus has maintained a weekly schedule for adult and youth through online classes.
Marcus kept existing and new members fit and engaged, which has had massive benefits for the physical and mental health of students.
Marcus incorporated videos during classes to support the teaching of movements, alongside sending equipment to every student. Parents were also engaged by Marcus to build equipment for their kids.
Through his dedication, Marcus has brought the community together and offered much needed support.
Lucas Capalbo - Bloomsbury Football Foundation
Lucas is a youth football coach at Bloomsbury Football Foundation in Central London. More than a coach, Lucas has served as a role model for children in the community.
His immense passion and commitment are demonstrated through the initiative Lucas developed during and post-lockdown. Lucas conducted online lessons to empower children to better deal with mental issues on and off the pitch.
Lucas’s goal was to ensure that children learned about negative mental health experiences and developed appropriate coping strategies.
Lucas is a deserving chipotle community champion, and we hope that he continues to create meaningful bonds and teach invaluable lessons to children across London. Thank you for your hard work, Lucas.
Steven Ita - XLP
Steven is XLP’s sports manager and has helped dozens of young people complete sports apprenticeships over the last ten years.
Steven was the first person to be involved in XLP’s music program, which resulted in acquiring a mobile studio through MTV’s ‘Pimp My Ride’ television series.
During the first lockdown, Steven helped XLP branch out to deliver free gym spaces to young people. Additionally, he has offered 1-1 coaching sessions to almost 200 students and individually mentored 20 through online work.
Steven is an inspiration to all of us. He is hardworking and a fantastic role model to kids. We hope Steven’s motto ‘Set it, Reach it, Beat it’ continues to echo throughout London.
Emma Budgen - Wheels for Wellbeing
Emma has worked tirelessly to keep Disabled people active through cycling throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
During the first lockdown she organised social zoom chats and 1 to 1 cycle rides for Disabled people; she organised the loan of some of Wheels for Wellbeing cycles to families and individuals who could cycle near their homes when traffic had temporarily evaporated.
She reopened outdoor cycling sessions after the first lockdown, introducing full Covid-safe measures but also new sessions and small group led-rides and mini-cycle hires in Ladywell Fields.
Outside of work, Emma continues her tireless quest to get maximum amounts of Disabled people cycling by volunteering to lead more rides!
Ulrike Gerstenberg - Modern Arnis London
Ulrike runs free weekly women’s sessions to empower women with self defence techniques.
In lockdown, she cycled around London and lent her participants skipping ropes, balls and resistance bands whilst carrying out daily online sessions to cater for all ages and fitness levels.
She creates monthly exercise charts to keep the participants motivated and track progress.
Ulrike goes out of her way to do all these many extra things driven by her love of sport, good health and her community.
Sam Sainsbury - Single Homeless Project
Over the past year, Sam has gone the extra mile to ensure that every Single Homeless Project client who was attending his physical activity sessions prior to lockdown did not miss out.
He ran, cycled and tubed across London to run 1-2-1 physical activity sessions for those experiencing homelessness to ensure they maintain good physical activity levels, and don’t suffer from loneliness or social exclusion.
He ran weekly 1-2-1 sessions for anyone who wanted them including stretching sessions in the rain (sheltered under trees) and weightlifting in the park in summer heat.
He also worked extra hours to ensure he had phoned and checked in with participants who were feeling down and accompanied those who needed an extra hand to their vaccine appointment. He always puts the client first.