Carla Andrews has not only awarded an Active Essex One in a Million, she has now been recognised as an MBE on the Queen’s 2021 honours list, for her services to wellbeing in Essex.

Carla is the founder of Basildon’s Motivated Minds; a non-profit group aimed at delivering lifelong health and wellbeing solutions in the community. Through this group, Carla has been able to support and improve local resident’s health and wellbeing, by empowering people to make positive changes in their lives, using physical activity to overcome their barriers. Carla strives to support everyone from all walks of life and has gone above and beyond particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. She has been a valuable partner in supporting the Basildon community hub, by helping set up foodbanks and befriending calls to those at risk of social isolation.

Over the past few years, Carla, alongside the Motivated Minds team and the Happy Hub have helped thousands of local residents by creating a more joint up approach to support their mental health and wellbeing. The Happy Hub is a one-stop wellness shop located in Basildon’s Eastgate shopping centre, which has a variety of therapeutic and wellbeing related merchandise, suitable for all ages to access. Carla has also created volunteer and employment opportunities for local people and members.

Grant Taylor, Head of Culture and Health at Basildon Borough Council said; “It has been fantastic to work alongside Carla and Motivated Minds as they grew from a small one-man operation to what they have become today. The Essex Local Delivery Pilot and Basildon Council look forward to our further adventures together and in ensuring her great work reaches new heights. Congratulations Carla.”

Adam Rigarlsford, Strategic Lead of Local Relationships at Sport England said: “This honour is richly deserved, and is recognition of Carla’s passion and commitment to supporting people in Basildon to live happy, healthy and active lives. The work that she and colleagues across Essex deliver to help people to get and stay active is more important than ever, and I’m delighted to see her efforts celebrated – congratulations.”

Throughout our vision of Changing One Million Lives, Carla has been instrumental in showcasing how sport and physical activity can be so powerful and the role it plays in positive mental health and wellbeing. On receiving her MBE, Carla said; “I am extremely honoured to have been recognised and awarded such a prestigious title. I will use it to keep flying the flag for positive mental health and wellbeing”.

The strong relationship dynamic between Active Essex and Carla has grown over the years. Active Essex and the Basildon Active Network have helped with funding support, training and co-produced a multi-year lottery application. We are so proud of Carla and all she has achieved and are ever grateful that she has bought us along on her journey.