25 finalists announced for 2024 Community Sport and Recreation Awards, sponsored by Play Innovation

Community Sport and Recreation Awards 2024, sponsored by Play Innovation ()

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is delighted to confirm the finalists for this year’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards, sponsored by Play Innovation, across eight different award categories.

Each year, our flagship awards programme recognises and celebrates the outstanding work of the clubs, organisations and individuals that are so crucial to grassroots sport and recreation in this country, and we are delighted to have Play Innovation as our headline sponsors this year.

This year’s winners will be revealed in a ceremony at Headingley Stadium, the home of Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club – in the only suite in the world to overlook two international stadia – on Friday 8 March 2024.

If you’d like to be a part of this amazing celebration of grassroots sport and recreation at a unique venue, tickets are now available to purchase for £75, with a discounted rate available when purchasing a table. Please contact our Membership and Events Manager, Amie Mills – amills@sportandrecreation.org.uk – for further information. Please see approximate timings (subject to change) below:

  • Arrivals: 12:00–13:00
  • Awards ceremony and 3 course luncheon: 13:00–15:30
  • Networking, drinks and event close: 15:30–17:00. 

Previous winners of a Community Sport and Recreation Award are celebrated with a spot on our Alumni page, which can be found here.

Read on for a summary of each of the awards and learn about our brilliant finalists!

Community Club of the Year, sponsored by IWG on Women & Sport

Community clubs are the heartbeat of sport and recreation in this country, and the Community Club of the Year Award celebrates those organisations, clubs and programmes that have directly improved the local community throughout the last 12 months.

Community Club of the Year 2024 ()

The finalists

Fulham Reach Boat Club

Help for Heroes Wheelchair Rugby

Propulsion Trampoline Club

This year’s nominees include a rowing club that has sought to enhance the lives of as many people in their community through ‘Rowing for All’, a wheelchair rugby club that has helped support the physical and mental health of 30 war veterans, and a trampoline club in a deprived area of Birkenhead prioritising affordability, a welcoming environment, and a spirit of inclusivity.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Diversity and Inclusion Award, supported by Julia Lee

The Diversity and Inclusion Award celebrates the incredibly important clubs and programmes that are supporting under-represented groups through sport, recreation or physical activity.

Diversity and Inclusion Award 2024 ()

The finalists

British Esports Federation

Racing With Pride

Step Change Studios

The finalists in this category include a national body that launched a pioneering initiative to address gender inequalities in esports, a vital support network for the LGBTQ+ community and allies in British horseracing, and an inclusive dance initiative that has delivered over 3,100 lessons to a pan-disability population aged 2 to 102.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Going Green Award, sponsored by WGC

The Going Green Award celebrates organisations/clubs that are making a commitment towards reducing net emissions and increasing sustainability. Showing a consideration of the footprint we leave behind is arguably the key societal issue of our lifetime, so it’s crucial to recognise those leading the way.

Going Green Award 2024 ()

The finalists

Deer Park Archers

Eat, Sleep, Ride, CIC

England Athletics

These clubs and organisations have all made a fantastic contribution to reducing emissions and increasing sustainability, and they include: an archery club who are incorporating green policies into their Articles of Association, while improving energy efficiency and improving habitats; a community-led equine therapy and wellness enterprise that transformed a landfill site and constructed an entirely off-grid centre; and a national governing body that has started to implement its sustainability strategy, driving change in clubs and events.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Inspiration of the Year, supported by Kim Leadbeater MP

The Inspiration of the Year category celebrates individuals in the sport and recreation sector who have inspired others through the support they have provided to their community during the past 12 months.

Inspiration of the Year 2024 ()

The finalists

Allyson Irvine, The Ripple Effect

Mohammed Zafran BEM, BCAc

Richard Powers, Newquay Boxing Academy

Ryan Carstairs, The Ripple Effect

The four fantastic individuals shortlisted in this category are: Allyson Irvine, a double below knee amputee who volunteers at LimbPower, a local hospital limb centre, runs a Nordic Walking group and has taken part in the Ripple Effect project for Swim England; Mohammed Zafran BEM, BCAc, who has delivered over 40 sporting projects in the West Midlands which have engaged over 4,300 participants from different backgrounds in the past year; Richard Powers, the founder of Newquay Boxing Academy, who has created an inclusive community space and created a number of fantastic initiatives, such as Parky Blinders – helping to support those living with Parkinson’s disease; and Ryan Carstairs, who is deaf and autistic, has secured his Timekeeper qualification – regularly attending swimming meets and supporting swimmers from both the deaf and hearing communities, all while dealing with the loss of his grandad and supporting his mum through her cancer diagnosis.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Sport and Recreation Alliance

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Award celebrates clubs/programmes which use the power of sport and recreation to promote and enhance positive wellbeing, and are ambassadors for promoting good health and wellbeing policies.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Award 2024 ()

The finalists

Brighton Yoga Foundation

Mental Health for Youth Athletes Documentary - Andrea Brown and Jack Brown

Power of Polo

This year’s finalists include a yoga programme working in various settings (including a mental health hospital) to give a variety of people access to the benefits of yoga, a self-funded documentary viewed over 17,000 times that aimed to shine a spotlight on the mental health of young athletes, and a polo initiative that uses the sport’s unique environment and relationship with horses to positively impact mental wellbeing.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Resilience in Adversity Award, sponsored by Sport:80

The Resilience in Adversity Award celebrates the methods which community clubs have used to keep their participants engaged during difficult periods – perhaps with issues affecting their local community, or more national-scale problems such as the cost-of-living crisis.

Resilience in Adversity Award 2024 ()

The finalists

Hillingdon Triathletes

Onboard Skatepark

Wiltshire County Netball Association

Demonstrating their amazing resilience this year are our three finalists: a triathlon club that has responded emphatically to lower membership numbers following the pandemic, a skatepark delivering hugely positive change in the local community as a legacy to its founder’s late father, and a netball association that helped raise awareness of female health through the sport following a volunteer's endometrial cancer diagnosis.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Zellar

The Volunteer of the Year award recognises all the hours of commitment that volunteers give to improve the lives of people in their community. Volunteers are the glue that holds the sector together, and the work they continue to do, despite a cost-of-living crisis, is essential to the function of our sector.

Volunteer of the Year 2024 ()

The finalists

Iffat Tejani, Evolve Cycling Network

Michelle Weltman, London Disability Swimming Club and Out To Swim

Penny Shears, Yate Racketeers

There are three brilliant volunteers nominated for this award: Iffat Tejani, who co-founded the Evolve Cycling Network, has been dedicated to increasing diversity within the sport, particularly for Muslim women; Michelle Weltman, who has pioneered inclusive approaches to aquatics in over 30 years volunteering for Out To Swim (an LGBTQ+ aquatics club), and 17 years at the London Disability Swimming Club, which she also co-founded; and Penny Shears, who took over the management of a not-for-profit junior badminton club three and a half decades ago and has since transformed the lives of many young people in Bristol and Avon.

Read more about each of the finalists here.

Youth Development Award, sponsored by Play Innovation

The Youth Development Award celebrates clubs/programmes/schools that are engaging and significantly improving the lives of children and young people through sport, recreation or physical activity.

Youth Development Award 2024 ()

The finalists

Achieve Thrive Flourish (ATF)


Kingsbury Green Primary School – Sports Leadership

The finalists for Youth Development Award include an Essex-based organisation that has engaged with a variety of partners to provide meaningful sports experiences to young people living in challenging circumstances, a boxing initiative that has had over 1,600 young people graduate from its fully-funded 10-week course (with over 80% continuing to train at clubs afterwards), and a primary school in Brent, London, that has used a unique Year 6 Sports Leadership programme to creatively engage children and build valuable life skills.

Read more about each of the finalists here.