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A celebration of North Northants health, wellbeing and sporting excellence

Parks, sports and leisure

18 November 2022

Winners at the Active Communities Awards

Those who have made key contributions to health and wellbeing, physical activity and sport in the area have been recognised for their excellence at the glittering North Northamptonshire Council’s Active Communities Awards.

It was an evening of celebration at Kettering Conference Centre as sports performers, clubs, schools, groups and organisations were honoured. 

The awards, organised by North Northamptonshire Council, is a celebration event for health and wellbeing, physical activity and sport in the area. 

Local sporting hero Anita Neil from Wellingborough also shared her story as the first British Female Black Olympian.

Sport and physical activity is an integral part of our local community and North Northamptonshire Council are extremely proud to recognise all the individuals, clubs, schools and organisations that contribute to making North Northamptonshire a great place to be active. 

The awards couldn’t happen without out our sponsors so a huge thank you to all of the organisations that have supported the 2022 North Northamptonshire Active Communities Awards, it’s great to see local organisations supporting the community in this way.
Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader of North Northamptonshire Council and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism
I’m delighted to see so much sporting talent in our area showcased – it’s encouraging to see so much excellence.

Keeping active – at whatever level – is an important component in living a good life and I hope we can build on this in future years.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

The North Northamptonshire Active Communities Awards 2022 are sponsored by Northamptonshire Sport, Alliance Leisure TA6, Legacy Leisure, Groundwork Northamptonshire, Places Leisure, Freedom Leisure, MR Industrial Services, MPB Structures, Priors Hall Park and Arena Sports.

The 2022 winners

Community Club 

Corby Hellenic Youth FC - Corby Hellenic Youth Football Club has worked effortlessly to overcome major issues to rebuild and strengthen their club. A year ago, the club had a building that needed to be demolished, no money and was at breaking point - Corby Hellenic YFC now is thriving and has a community hub, 11 football teams and a strong committee. The club have also managed to raise money for local charities along-side financially securing money to provide a clubhouse for the whole community.

Community group/organisation 

Kings Cliffe Active - Kings Cliffe Active Charity has supported the local community to be more active together and improved the quality of local facilities in Northamptonshire. These improvements include supporting local clubs operating on the site, refurbishment of the MUGA and becoming successful in gaining Grass Pitch Maintenance funding. The KCA have addressed issues including access to activities by developing an area which includes a café, additional clubs and putting on activities and events that people can attend together.

Sports activator 

Ben Collins - Ben works at St Mary’s CEVA Primary school as the sports-lead. Ben was the driving force behind the school starting extensive free after school sports provisions, providing 34 free clubs across the year, which 86% of the children at the school attended at least one of the activities. Ben also set up the Inter-school sports series which runs throughout the year and is a great success with over 200 local children having the chance to play football. In his own time Ben also volunteers his time to coach both academy level and community Football for Kettering Town FC.

Community Champion 

Jeremy Strutt - Jeremy has become a vital member to the committee at East Carlton Cricket Club. Jeremy volunteers his time to support and grow the club. Since joining the club, Jeremy has organised events to fundraise for the club, organised team building events and has developed a plan for the future of the club. Through the fundraising and sponsorship, the club now has new nets, portable nets, a new scoreboard, new equipment and wide-ranging improvements to the grounds have been made. The club is now well placed to secure further investment and gain accreditation.

Young Volunteer

(Joint winners)
Ellis Bird - Ellis during this academic year has supported with years 7, 8 and 9 Football training sessions, fixtures and has taken on an officiating role to support the department. Ellis has been coaching the students and has been a fantastic role model giving up his own time to support others. Ellis has shown outstanding contribution to the school and the PE department and has shown impeccable maturity and leadership skills. 

Millie Brading - 13-year-old Millie has been a member of Kettering Hockey Club for the past 8 years. Millie has taken on the task of coaching, and as well as turning up for her own training sessions, Millie also runs weekly sessions for the under 10’s squad. Millie plans her own sessions and ensures each one is fun and relevant to the needs of the individual players as well as the group as a whole.

Disability Sports Performer

Maisie Summers Newton - Maisie since winning her double Gold medal performance at the Tokyo Paralympics has continued to progress in the last year by winning titles at National level as well as on the Global stage at 2 of the biggest events in swimming. Maisie continues to support the legacy work by visiting many schools in the area with her Paralympics and World Championship medals inspiring other young people and educating students on swimming and disabilities.

Health And Wellbeing Initiative 

Support Northamptonshire Ladies Swimming - The support Northamptonshire Ladies Swimming initiative was started back in February 2022 where the programme was developed to help ladies of the Asian community get back into exercise after the pandemic. This initiative has seen 15 regular ladies participate with swimming sessions on a weekly basis. This project has helped to break down isolation and has had a positive impact on mental health of participants.

Workplace Wellbeing Award 

Cottingham CofE Primary School - Cottingham School has always held wellbeing high upon their agenda. The school introduced a staff shopping day during Christmas, staff yoga sessions on inset days and staff breakfast / lunch sessions together. The school offers a spiritual council and a Magnificent mind group who help organize all sorts of different events/activities for their peers to enjoy. Pastoral support for both children and adults is available which is supported by the senior leadership team and staff have attended a Mental Health lead course and from this, the school have created their own Mental health policy and action plan for moving the school forward.

Sport School Of The Year - Primary 

St Marys CofE (VA) Primary Academy - St Mary’s have been a driving force for sports and activities in their local community. 34 free after school clubs have been provided for students which included Parkour, Dance, Archery and Dodgeball. Working with Kettering Town FC, the school has been the lead in setting up an Inter School Football League and Interschool sports event. The school have worked with 8 different sporting agencies and clubs and worked with Northamptonshire Saints. St Mary’s were able to have 92% of year 6 students leave the school being competent swimmers.

Sport School Of The Year - Secondary 

Bishop Stopford School - BSS has a broad and balanced PE curriculum that allows students to experience a wide range of activities from traditional sports to new contemporary activities such as Parkour, Flag Football and accessible sports such as Goalball. Students in all key stages are given leadership opportunities including the Legacy Leaders programme and County Leadership programme. The school has a large uptake in A Level PE, B-Tec and Health and Social Care. Bishop Stopford School were awarded bronze in the Secondary School Games and has an array of places in the District Champions, County Champions, Regional Champions and School Games Level 3. Also a number of students have used the school sports platform to be selected for high performance pathways in Hockey, Rugby, Swimming and Football. 

Get Active Young Person 

Jamie Arthur Jones - Jamie suffers from Front Lobe Epilepsy Nocturnal, Hashimoto and Hypermobility, yet he is still able to attend and enjoy a range of clubs including Cricket, Creative Core, Drumming, Gravity Bounce and Diving. These clubs and activities based in Corby have helped with Jamie’s mental health, mood balancing, social inclusion, physical stimulation and mental therapy. Jamie shows courage, positively and consistent self-belief to keep going and attend his sport and creative activities.

Get Active 

Sheila Stanforth - Sheila has been attending seated exercise classes every week despite breaking her hip in three places and restricted use of one of her arms. Sheila participates with every class with a smile, motivation and ready to push herself. Sheila tries every exercise and also encourages other participants around her during the sessions. Since attending the sessions, Sheila has had a massive improvement in her range of movements and mobility. Sheila proves that even seated exercise is beneficial and inspires others to attend.

Young Sports Person 

Alice Bates - Alice has had an outstanding year over Road, Cross Country and Track which has seen her win a National Championship and then be selected to represent Great Britain at the European U18 Championship in Jerusalem. Alice has had an outstanding year finishing in 5th place at the School Games National final earning her first England vest for a home International.

Local Sports Performer

Maisie Summers Newton - Maisie has achieved outstanding results in the past year and has won titles on the global stage at two of the biggest events within the sport - the Paralympics and Commonwealth Games. Maisie is an excellent role model and has attended events throughout North Northamptonshire to increase the awareness of disabled people’s abilities within sport and has inspired others to become more active. Maisie alongside her intensive training and competition schedule has also started a teacher training course. 

Outstanding Recognition Award 

Jeffrey Gonsalves - Jeff unfortunately passed away in August 2022, however he was a pillar of the Martial Arts community for over 30 years. Jeff dedicated his time to run sport sessions for young people and adults. Jeff ran the Fit and Fed project which provided young people in areas of deprivation, access to sports activities and a hot meal to combat holiday hunger. Jeff responded to covid by running free online Martial Arts sessions, so his members and their families still had access to training. Jeff also received a High Sheriffs Award for his work.