Best of grassroots sport and recreation celebrated at Alliance’s flagship awards in Leeds

Community Club of the Year 2024 winners - Fulham Reach Boat Club ()

The best and most impactful clubs, people, and projects from across community sport and recreation have been celebrated today (8 March), as the winners of the Alliance’s 2024 Community Sport and Recreation Awards were crowned this afternoon at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The awards, hosted by Sky News’s Jacquie Beltrao and sponsored by Play Innovationsaw nearly 200 guests from across the nation’s sport, recreation and physical sector come together and witness eight very special individuals and organisations take home the trophies. 

These were delivered by Alliance President HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and a special guest this International Women’s Day HRH the Duchess of Edinburgh, who gave a surprise speech to mark the Duke’s 60th Birthday – which the Alliance are delighted he chose to spend with us and our finalists.  

The field was tough with some incredibly inspiring stories from each of the 25 finalists, all making a life-changing difference in their communities through sport and recreation. Coming out on top in the individual categories, we saw Michelle Weltman crowned Volunteer of the Year for her pioneering work over 30 years at an LGBTQ+ swimming club, and Ryan Carstairs take home the Inspiration of the Year prize. Fulham Reach Boat Club were victorious in the prestigious Community Club of the Year category for their work giving underserved groups the opportunity to get into rowing. 

The inspirational women at Wiltshire County Netball Association won the Resilience in Adversity Award, after raising an incredible amount of money and awareness following a friend’s cancer diagnosis. The Youth Development Award went to Achieve Thrive Flourish, for their fantastic work supporting young people in Essex, while Step Change Studios took home the Diversity and Inclusion Award after giving over 3,100 lessons to a pan-disability population from the ages of two to 102.  

Brighton Yoga Foundation scooped the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award for helping offer the therapeutic benefits of yoga to those who may not otherwise be able to access it, and Deer Park Archers took home the Going Green Award after embedding green policies into the club’s DNA. More on our winners below.  

This International Women’s Day, the speaker line-up was full of brilliant women including sector champion Kim Leadbeater MP (Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport); Rugby League Pioneer Julia Lee – the first woman to ever referee British men’s rugby league; and the Alliance’s strong female leadership – Chair, Dame Janet Beer and CEO, Lisa Wainwright MBE. 

Dame Janet Beer, closed the ceremony with the following challenge to attendees: 

“From today, what more are you going to do in your communities and your work, that will help break open more sport and recreation - so that more women and girls, or people who aren’t typically active, or people who think ‘exercise isn’t for them’ - can engage, and find their voice and their space to play, and be active? How will you contribute to that brighter tomorrow and inspire future generations through sport, recreation and movement” 

The Community Sport and Recreation Award Winners 2024: 

Community Club of the Year – Fulham Reach Boat Club 

Community Club of the Year 2024 winners - Fulham Reach Boat Club ()


Diversity and Inclusion Award – Step Change Studios 

Diversity and Inclusion Award 2024 winners - Step Change Studios ()


Going Green Award – Deer Park Archers 

Going Green Award 2024 winners - Deer Park Archers ()


Inspiration of the Year – Ryan Carstairs 

Inspiration of the Year 2024 winner - Ryan Carstairs ()


Mental Health and Wellbeing Award – Brighton Yoga Foundation 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Award 2024 winners - Brighton Yoga Foundation ()


Resilience in Adversity Award – Wiltshire County Netball Association 

Resilience in Adversity 2024 winners - Wiltshire County Netball Association ()


Volunteer of the Year – Michelle Weltman 

Volunteer of the Year - Michelle Weltman ()


Youth Development Award – Achieve Thrive Flourish 

Youth Development Award 2024 winners - Achieve Thrive Flourish ()