The Volunteer Awards 2018 are a chance to celebrate and recognise the unsung heroes amongst all of our volunteers in the Athletics and Running community – volunteers across England have been nominated in 10 categories, and the winners in each of the nine Regions will be recognised then put forward to our National Volunteer Awards.
Our England Athletics regional Volunteer Awards presentation evenings are now complete and the London awards were presented on 3 October. Ten London Region winners received their awards and a bottle of bubbly, and five runners up were also recognised.
The winners are listed here and excerpts from their nominations are below.
- Spirit of 2012 Award: Alan James and the WGEL Game Changers
- Inclusion Award: Adam Thomas (S Factor)
- Athletics or Running Club of the Year: Orion Harriers
- Coach of the Year: Paul Weston (Croydon Harriers)
- RunTogether Group of the Year: Run With Andy
- RunTogether Leader of the Year: Nick Marsden (Bexley Mencap)
- Volunteer of the Year: Tony Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers)
- Young Volunteer of the Year: Somto Akpalauko (Havering AC)
- Official of the Year: Kate Jenrick (Highgate Harriers)
- Services to Athletics or Running: David Keeley (Havering’90 Joggers)
Spirit of 2012 Award: and the WGEL Game Changers
Game Changers is a volunteer support programme that supports clubs to expand their volunteering provision. Although Phase 1 & 2 were focused on young people, phase 3 (applications now open!) is looking to move into under-represented groups.
Our Spirit of 2012 winner tonight is the Game changer co-ordinator for a highly successful project. Alan and his young volunteers have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the Game Changer programme, with the young people qualified as Officials, just completing their paperwork, having supported the club all summer. They are one of the real success stories of the programme so far, with the young people growing in confidence, and their appreciation of the work that goes into our sport. Alan has been a wonderful mentor during this time, keeping them on track, finding them opportunities and keeping record of their hours for their reward and recognition.
Inclusion Award: Adam Thomas (S Factor Academy)
The winner of our Inclusion Award this evening is a gentleman who has grown the disability group at S-Factor Academy beyond its wildest dreams. From one coach and 5 athletes, to 5 coaches, 6 disabled young leaders and over 100 unique participants, Adam’s work has been invaluable to the club. S-Factor is now an Ambassador Club for disability athletics, and Adam is now a Mental Health Ambassador. The club has 5 racing wheelchairs, funded by Lewisham council and Adam conducts outreach in the local community.
Athletics or Running Club of the Year: Orion Harriers
Our winner tonight is a club forging partnership with local schools and investing in the development of their volunteers. Engaging juniors are taking the lead on coaching and team management roles, and 2 members of the club sit as active members on the England Athletics Youth Panel. They sent a team of volunteers to the IAAF World Championships in London 2017, and have even started a new teenage girls social group to encourage teenage girls to stay with/come to the club. All this and an increase in league and other competition performances!
Coach of the Year: Paul Weston (Croydon Harriers)
Our winner tonight is a full-time teacher and family man, who still finds time to give all his athletes. He not only supports them through his technical coaching, but also by providing moral support. He works hard to ensure sessions meet every individuals needs, but more than that, are varied and enjoyable too. When transport is an issue for some of his athletes, he will drive a group to the competition to enable them to compete!
With his thoroughly planned and effective yet fun and often personalised sessions, improvement and growth are inevitable. Paul coaches Sponsored athlete Romell Glave, as well as other prolific sprinters, and all the Surrey County relay teams when needed, as well as his club athletes. His quality of coaching is unmatched in every aspect and he deserves recognition.
RunTogether Group of the Year: Run With Andy
This group is a free and friendly walking and running group, training twice a week in the Brent area. They welcome runners of any age, from all backgrounds, and the leader has strived to ensure a friendly, welcoming atmosphere where everyone supports everyone. The Run Leader says ‘my runners should win this award for the amazing steps forward they have taken with their physical fitness and also their mental wellbeing!
RunTogether Leader of the Year: Nick Marsden (Bexley Mencap)
Our RunTogether Leader of the Year is one of the driving forces behind Bexley Mencap, a group specifically for individuals with learning disabilities. The group provides opportunities for runners to train and help their local community. For a group of people who often feel marginalised can be a part of their community and stay fit. Through Nick’s support, Bexley AC have financially supported the group to put on a 10k/fun run, which raised £1000 for charity!
The work Nick does has transformed the lives of the individuals in the group.
Volunteer of the Year: Tony Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers)
Our Volunteer of the Year is someone who has been a Coach and Team Manager at Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers for over 30 years. An incredibly well-respected man in the community, he is a coach mentor for new coaches at the club, has served on the committee for over 30 years, and even sat as president! He shares his love of the sport with athletes and coaches alike and is a fundamental part of the club.
Young Volunteer of the Year: Somto Akpalauko (Havering AC)
Our Young Volunteer of the Year is a Game Changer from Havering AC who has gone above and beyond. He has sought opportunities outside the club, as well as maximising those within the club, and has used these opportunities to grow his skillset and wider understanding on the sport. He steps into any role that needs filling and is well on the way to becoming a qualified and licensed official. And he competes, earning PB’s in his chosen events as well!
Official of the Year: Kate Jenrick (Highgate Harriers)
This Official is described as professional and pragmatic, and nearly always brings cake with her! She actively engages with mentoring and inspiring new officials, she also acts as her club secretary. She is attributed as one of the biggest contributors to the huge success of the Night of the 10,000 PBs. She brings so many things to the world of officiating, she is described as the Swiss Army Knife of Athletics Officials!
Services to Athletics or Running: David Keeley (Havering’90 Joggers)
Our long-term service award this evening is secretary to his club, and a key event organiser. He drove Learn 2 Run forward before it became mainstream, and inspired athletes with his own marathon and ultrathon events. A key driver behind Harrow Lodge parkrun and the East London Five Interclub series. Connecting the club with the local sports council, Dave has slowed his running in recent years, but plugged that additional time back into the club.
- Inclusion Award: Holly Laws
- Athletics or Running Club of the Year: Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies
- Coach of the Year: John Stow
- RunTogether Group of the Year:
- RunTogether Leader of the Year: Dini Patel
- Volunteer of the Year: Lisa Miller
- Services to Athletics or Running: David Daniels