Finalists 2020

We received a great selection of nominations this year from all areas across Derbyshire. Below are the selected finalists as chosen by our judges along with the winner of the categories. All of the finalists and nominees should be proud of the work they do to help make Derbyshire more physically active- it wouldn't be possible without you!

Select a category to view the finalists and winners:

Project/Initiative/Innovation of the Year

Category sponsored by University of Derby

WINNER: Redwood Primary School

#runwalktalk (Derby City)

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire MIND, Jog Derbyshire and Peak Running collaborated to design and deliver three free community-based #runwalktalk events in Derby in 2019. These have created an opportunity for the people of Derby to come together, join conversations around the connections between physical activity and mental health and forge new connections, with a real sense of community at the events. It is anticipated that through these #runwalktalk events the communities that are connected feel inspired, motivated and supported to engage more frequently in other physical activities.

Redwood Primary School (Derby City)

The school organised a series of five weekly road closures in response to issues with children being dropped off by car. The road immediately outside the school was shut to vehicles for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, with parents asked to walk with their children instead, support them to cycle or scoot, or park a few minutes' walk away. Children felt safe, played in the closed street, ran races and some specifically learnt to cycle so they could be involved. Councillors and Neighbourhood teams supported teachers and parents to man the road closures each week, and Cycle Derby and Sustrans offered free bike maintenance.

Wilsthorpe School (Erewash)

The school took part in the Youth Sport Trust's Raising Aspirations and Increasing Resilience (RAIR) project, with 16 young people from the Petersham estate identified to take part. The programme was delivered by an athlete mentor and integrated physical activity. As a result, the students' attitude has improved, they have shown a willingness to take part in the school community, and many of the group have seen their attendance increase. They have also shown a much greater ability to listen to one another, respect the opinions of others, work as a team and appreciate other people's strengths.

Active Place Award

Category sponsored by Strategic Leisure

WINNER: Hunloke Community Garden

Freedom Leisure- ARC Leisure Matlock (Derbyshire Dales)

The five-storey 'Arc Adventure' soft play opened in May 2019 and was an exciting partnership project between Freedom Leisure and Derbyshire Dales District Council to provide a facility for children and families to be physically active. The area was previously office space above the sports hall, and in its first five months of operation Arc Adventure saw just under 6,000 visits. Active play has been proven to help children to develop better physical, social, mental and emotional skills, and the Arc Adventure provides children with a safe environment to practice balancing, jumping and climbing without risk of serious injury whilst they develop their confidence.

Hunloke Community Garden (Chesterfield)

Hunloke Community Garden is a green space nestled within the urban streets of one of Chesterfield's areas of highest deprivation, where people can enjoy nature and be active outdoors. After years of neglect a small team of volunteers cleared the area, and it now hosts its own weekly Health Walk through Chesterfield Borough Council's Walking for Health scheme. During school holidays the garden becomes home to children's activities such as treasure hunts, gardening clubs, family walks, and even cookery lessons in the purpose-built kitchen housed in a portable cabin. The garden also hosts weekly sessions for horticulture students to gain experience.

Adam Fretwell PT (Erewash)

Since qualifying as a personal trainer in 2011, Adam has not only has an impact on the clients that actively seek him out, but he also inspires those on the periphery and has breathed a new lease of life into previously unused office areas. Adam turned empty office space at the AKJM Hockey Barn into a hub of fitness activity before moving to a space at Erewash Valley Gymnastics Club. The rooms needed a lot of work to transform them from offices to active spaces, so Adam's loyal fitness family rose to the challenge and helped out with everything from painting to transporting heavy gym equipment and once again, previously disused space became a hub of activity.

Inclusive Project, Group or Club of the Year

Category sponsored by Derbyshire County Council

WINNER: Rhubarb Farm

St Martins School Derby SHOUTaboutSEND 5K (Derby City)

Students set up the SHOUTaboutSEND 5K, an event where everyone competes as equals regardless of their needs, in response to a lack of physical activity opportunities outside of school. Students took the lead in all aspects of the event, from marketing to logistics, as part of their employability curriculum, and the inclusive event attracted over 250 people. A number of other SHOUTaboutSEND events are planned, and the school is sharing learning with regional and national partners to show how the power of sport can break down barriers and change lives. In partnership with Active Derbyshire, training will be provided for sports clubs and community groups, designed and led by students who all have a learning disability / difficulties.

Rhubarb Farm (Bolsover)

Primarily a horticultural-based environmental social enterprise, Rhubarb Farm provides services to many individuals including the unemployed, recovering drug and alcohol misusers, people with learning disabilities, individuals with mental and physical ill health, ex service personnel, and people with dementia. Together with Bolsover District Council, the farm staged some taster sessions at Go! Active, led by a coach from Derby County Community Trust, with participants playing football, rounders, basketball, rugby and new age kurling. Sessions were so popular that they have now become part of the Derby County Community Trust's Winning Mentality Initiative, and Rhubarb Farm is looking to increase activities for their users.

Ripley LC and William Gregg VC LC Dementia Friendly Swimming (Amber Valley)

Weekly swim sessions are run at both leisure centres, supported by a poolside 'Activator', giving people living with dementia the opportunity to be physically active in a safe and secure environment. This has resulted in improvements in water confidence, swimming ability and mobility for participants. The sessions have evolved following feedback from the participants, with several tweaks made such as putting in an additional lane to separate swimmers, making swimming and floatation aids available, and ensuring staff cover is provided so that sessions are not cancelled. The sessions also allow partners and carers not swimming to have some 'time out' to chat, to discuss their circumstances and to share advice etc with each other.

Change 4 Life award

Category sponsored by Active Nation

WINNER: James Illsley

James Illsley (Amber Valley)

James has changed his life and improved his health, losing more than 10st over the last three years through diet and discovering a love of running. When he first started running, he used to do it in his wellies when he took his dog for a walk, in the hope that noone would see him. He has gone on to run several races including marathons and ultra marathons, also raising money for charity. James now encourages others with his couch to 5k sessions which he runs as part of the Rogue Runners Ripley group, which he set up with fellow leader Gareth Roebuck.

Derry Cooper (Amber Valley)

Derry started his fitness journey in 2017 when he came through the Exercise by Referral scheme at William Gregg VC Leisure Centre. He had suffered two major stokes which had left him unable to move without the aid of a wheelchair, and when he first started he had to be accompanied by a carer and use his wheelchair to move around the gym. Over time his mobility has steadily improved, and he can now walk unaided from the taxi all the way into the gym - a feat that for some seems straight forward but is huge progress for Derry. His determination to persevere has led to the results he has achieved. He now goes to the gym three times a week and feels more stable, confident, independent and physically and mentally healthier.

Rita Wagstaff (Derbyshire Dales)

Rita was referred to Wirksworth Leisure Centre in July 2019 after visiting her GP about her arthritis and expressing an interest in being more active. Through the GP Health Referral scheme Rita initially attended the 50+ and mini circuits' classes, and with the support of GP referral coordinator Steph Spencer has overcome some early setbacks and can now complete a full class without needing any adjustments. Rita has made great progress to improve her mobility, and is also enjoying the social aspect of attending group exercises classes. Rita has also become somewhat of an exercise champion at Wirkworth Leisure Centre and is always very encouraging to other customers and is a great example of what can be achieved.

This Girl Can award

Category sponsored by Derby City Council

WINNER: Afsana Afsar

Hannah Kendall (Chesterfield)

Hannah has embraced exercise and fitness over the last couple of years, which has resulted in her losing over five stone in weight as well as boosting her fitness levels. As a result, she has since took part in a variety of challenges including 10km runs, half marathons and Martial Arts tournaments. In 2016 she attempted her first 5k at the Chesterfield Santa Run, in 2017 she was leading the warm up in front of 1,300 people. Hannah has fully embraced her new lifestyle and is passionate about passing on the benefits of improved health, fitness and wellbeing to others. She has had a complete career change, completing her level 3 Health and Fitness instructor and Personal Training courses, and now runs exercise classes for people of all abilities and backgrounds.

Afsana Afsar (Derby City)

With the support of England Netball, Afsana has set up Back to Netball sessions in Derby City for BAME women. Sessions were initially set up for adults, but through Afsana's community links it quickly became apparent that there was a need for the sessions to cater for younger girls (14yrs+) who were being home-schooled and didn't have access to regular structured opportunities to be physically active. The Back to Netball sessions have engaged more than 80 girls and women over the last year, and thanks to Afsana's commitment there are now two Back to Netball sessions and one Netball Now session running every week. Afsana, who is now a UKCC Level 2 Netball Coach, has been the key driver behind increasing the visibility of netball within the South Asian community in Derby City.

Caroline Hill (Amber Valley)

Caroline (Carol to her friends) has been diagnosed with dementia but she is not letting it beat her. She said: "I am not letting dementia beat me. I had a fit, but I can still live and get on with life. If I can help other people, then I am not giving up. Don't give up, that's what I say." Caroline loves to swim, a physical activity she has been enjoying all her life. On a weekly basis she attends the Dementia Friendly Swimming (DFS) sessions that take place at Ripley and William Gregg VC Leisure Centres. Caroline is also one of the founding members of the Dementia Friendly Tea Dance (run by volunteers) that has evolved from the DFS sessions and likes nothing more than 'meeting and greeting' attendees, chatting, laughing and dancing.

Community Group/Association/Team of the Year

WINNER: Ilkeston Cycling Club

Alvaston Parkrun (Derby City)

Since launching in May 2019, more than 2,000 different people had completed the course, and more than 160 people have volunteered. The group recognises the transformational power of parkrun, physical activity and sport but moreover really care about people and community. They are now working with a local care home along the route, with residents of the care home, including those with dementia, volunteering at the events (accompanied by care home staff) each week. The group is also now engaging with the local school and partnering with the amputee centre at Derby Hospital.

Residents of Fairfield Association (High Peak)

Residents of Fairfield Association (ROFA) have delivered many projects within Fairfield with the support of other agencies, and were key to the delivery of a play improvement project and physical activity zone at the local park. ROFA, High Peak Borough Council and SHIFT worked with the community to make a space that everyone could use for play and physical activity, and a park steering group was established to drive the project. Discussions with ROFA and the Park Steering Group led to the development of the Fitness Area, which had not originally been considered, and throughout the planning stages ROFA ensured that this new area would be inclusive for all members of the community. Work has also taken place to ensure activities are sustained at the park, with some parents trained to run simple activities over the summer holidays, and equipment purchased.

Ilkeston Cycling Club (Erewash)

An inclusive club irrespective of age, ability or experience, ICC has an opportunity for all. There is a daily ride, on and off-road options, as well as regular velodrome sessions. 20.57% of members are female, which is above the national average, and the club is breaking down barriers associated with cycling, such as cost of equipment, by investing in a stock of bikes that children and adults can use to enable them to participate regularly. The club has a Youth Academy offering weekly sessions to children ranging from toddlers on balance bikes to older children learning race techniques, and every Sunday morning between 50 and 100 riders take part in social rides.

Erewash Valley Gymnastics Club (Erewash)

Erewash Valley Gymnastics Club has been running for more 40 years, and over the last year has expanded to support more of the community. The club has two community gymnastics centres, in Long Eaton and Ilkeston, and has more than 1,200 members. The club's mission is to offer 'gymnastics for all', and it also supports members to have a healthier more positive lifestyle. The club has recently taken on two Coach Core apprentices through the Royal Foundation, Derbyshire cohort. They are not only supporting two young people to become gymnastics coaches, but it is a community sport apprenticeship so they are focusing on them being advocates and experts on the local community.

Community Coach/Activator

WINNER: Dave Cartawick

Dave Cartawick (Chesterfield)

Dave has been coaching in Chesterfield for approaching 30 years. He works in partnership with local schools, Chesterfield College, Chesterfield Football Club and community groups to increase participation in sport in general and Martial Arts, running regular classes to encourage young people to become more active. These include classes for students with learning disabilities, metal health issues and from areas with high social deprivation. He runs free women's Self-Defence/Self-Awareness sessions as well as ladies only Kickboxing classes.

Helen Thornhill (High Peak)

Helen is a member of the Board at Glossop North End Juniors and Ladies AFC and her commitment to fundraising is relentless, organising many events throughout the year. She promotes the inclusive offer from the club which enables the wider community to engage in physical activity; Ability Counts sessions for children and for adults, Wildcats sessions for young girls and Ladies Just Play - football for fun and fitness. Helen is also run leader for Be Well. She facilitates an inclusive running group, aimed at any level of ability, which meets at Dinting School after the morning school drop off.

Jay Plimmer (Derby City)

Jay started as a volunteer coach at Ozbox in Derby, which works in deprived areas with disadvantaged children to develop their social skills through boxing. He has now set up an informal BMX club in Osmaston around the old BMX track, and has led on a project to develop the track and helped with a bid to develop a new track. He is using the skills he developed as an Ozbox coach to work with the young people at the club to develop their social inclusion and it has become a really positive, tight-knit group which go out riding together. A couple of young people from Alvaston, which has issues with anti-social behaviour, have also joined the group, which is giving them a more positive outlook.

Special Recognition

WINNER: Joe Mason

Gillian Stallion (Amber Valley)

Gillian has dedicated more than 25 years to Heanor Swimming and Life Saving Club, and can be found on poolside every Monday and Friday night teaching children how to swim and coaching the older swimmers. Gillian teaches the fundamentals of swimming and has taken her knowledge outside of the club to actively spread the message to children in Heanor during Drowning Prevention Week where she has facilitated swimmers to provide safety talks in local schools. Gillian understands what each swimmer requires, she understand that not all members want to compete and that some simply enjoy being part of a club. The club teachers their swimmers how to stay safe in and around the water, what do to do when someone is in trouble or injured, and how to perform CPR.

Joe Mason (Bolsover)

Joe has been involved in the Louise Smalley Challenge Walk since its inception 25 years ago. The Walk is an annual sponsored 40 mile walk and has so far raised well over £200,000 for local good causes. Alongside the planning that goes into the event Joe organises and leads practice walks. He plans and walks new routes, checks directions, communicates with landowners and walks the walk. He also organises and hosts both the recipient nomination evening, presentation night and the after-walk party and attracts sponsors to the event, chairs meetings, organisers transport and supports team meetings.

Libby Hawkins (Chesterfield)

Libby is at the forefront of Chesterfield BMX Club and encourages everyone to give BMXing a go. She offers support, coaching and encouragement to girls and boys alike, from tots to teens, from all socio-economic backgrounds. As the club's track is in a public park there have been issues with maintenance and vandalism, and so Libby actively involves the community in looking after the park. Libby is heavily involved in the asset-based work that is taking place in the local community. Her knowledge and understanding of the needs of the local community is central to much of her work. Understanding that not all young people in the community have a bike means that she continues to raise funds to purchase bikes and helmets that can be loaned out, and she involves the young people and their parents in maintenance of those bikes.