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16 Nov 2022 | 14:14

Six projects have been shortlisted for the ‘Sport for Social Change’ category at the 2022 SJA British Sports Awards early next month.

The award, which is supported by the Sport for Development Coalition, aims to highlight the amazing work of organisations across the UK that are using sport and/or physical activity to create a positive impact on local communities and individuals in need. It is co-ordinated by the Sports Journalists' Association, with previous winners including Coalition members The Wave Project and Salaam Peace, and high-profile athletes such as Marcus Rashford and Ebony Rainford-Brent.

For the 2022 shortlist, a panel of judges including representatives from Sky News and the Press Association selected six projects based on criteria which included impact, reach, sustainability and innovation.

SJA banner

SJA chair Ashley Broadley said: “It was incredibly inspiring to hear and learn more about so many organisations in the UK that are using the power of sport to create a positive impact – especially in a cost-of-living crisis when we are in real need of innovative solutions to help people and places in need across the UK.

“The standard of entries was exceptionally high and deciding on a shortlist was no easy task. We applaud all of these organisations and the work they do.

“We are looking forward to inviting all of the shortlisted organisations to join us at the Awards on December 8th, when we will reveal the outright winner.”

The six shortlisted projects for 2022 are:

Access Sport

Formed in 2004, Access Sport is on a mission to make inclusion the norm in community sport by tackling the access barriers faced by disadvantaged and disabled children and young people. Access Sport believes no-one should be excluded from the transformational benefits of community sport. ‘Making Trax’, the charity's inclusive cycling programme, launched in 2011 and has achieved significant success and extensive support developing cycling skills, confidence and motivation in disadvantaged and disabled young people. This year Access Sport delivered its 22nd bike park in a deprived community which gets used more than 5,000 times per month and have delivered to over 4,500 young people – 80% of whom are more active than they were before and 60% say they are happier.

Alive and Kicking – Ball library network

Alive and Kicking is steadily growing the UK’s first ball library network. The concept is simple; young people can borrow a ball for free, go and play with it with friends, family and neighbours on their local playgrounds and pitches, and then return it for someone else to use. The concept was generated by young people in response to Alive and Kicking’s community consultation that found 77% of people were socialising less since lockdown, 84% were missing out on regular play and recreational opportunities, and 74% said their mental wellbeing was being negatively affected. In response, Alive and Kicking has grown a network of over 230 UK ball library hubs (youth clubs, food banks, libraries, community centres etc).

Ball library

GoodGym

GoodGym is a community of people who get fit by doing good. There are two strands to GoodGym’s work. Firstly the community run, walk and cycle to help older people with practical tasks like collecting prescriptions or changing smoke alarms, helping older people to remain independent and reduce social isolation and loneliness. Secondly the community run, walk and cycle to help community projects and charities. Since GoodGym’s inception, they have completed over 300,000 good deeds, completed by over 20,000 people. The community has made over 50,000 visits to isolated older people and completed over 35,000 sessions for community groups and charities.

Greenhouse Sports

Greenhouse Sports is a charity helping to improve the life chances of young people living in disadvantaged areas through intensive sports coaching and mentoring. The London-based sport for development charity delivers high-quality programmes in schools across 16 boroughs, giving young people the opportunity to develop transferable life skills and access valuable coaching and mentorship. Since 2002, over 40,000 young people have participated in Greenhouse Sports programmes.

Levelling the Playing Field

Levelling the Playing Field uses the power of sport and physical activity to engage and improve health and life outcomes for ethnically diverse children who are more likely to enter, or already involved with, the Criminal Justice System. Levelling the Playing Field’s sports sessions are safe spaces for ethnically diverse children to build physical and mental health and a sense of belonging, access support from trusted adult role models, and build positive relationships with statutory agencies such as the police and youth justice services.

Panathlon

Panathlon Challenge is a grassroots charity established to offer competitive sporting opportunities to young disabled people. For over 20 years, it has delivered multi-sport competitions, training courses and coaching days for severely disabled children and those with special educational needs. The charity delivers a range of multi-sport programmes suited to either primary, secondary or 16-plus young people which additionally includes bespoke appropriate competitions for swimming, boccia and football. Last academic year 52,476 children with disabilities and special needs took part in Panathlon’s sporting events across England and Wales – giving them the opportunity to take part in competitive sports they are so often otherwise denied.

The six shortlisted projects will be invited to attend the SJA British Sports Awards event, which takes place at The Brewery in central London on Thursday 8 December.

Tickets and tables are still available to purchase via the awards website at www.TheBritishSportsAwards.co.uk