All Active Essex Ambassadors at celebration event

Active Essex, the county’s sport and physical activity partnership, has celebrated the achievements of its This Girl Can and All Together Ambassadors, who are inspiring people of all ages and abilities to get involved with sport and physical activity.

Active Essex invited all the This Girl Can Essex and the All Together Ambassadors for a networking and motivational evening where they heard inspiring talks and learnt new skills for being an Ambassador.

Guest speakers included All Together Ambassador Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike from Harlow and This Girl Can Essex Ambassador Amber Bourne from Upminster. Amber used exercise as a key part of her healing process after suffering from stress and she’s now launched a running group for mums in her community. She said: “This Girl Can Essex gave me the confidence to get going and to inspire other mums. Group runs are getting them moving, healthier and feeling better about themselves.”

Following a campaign to recruit This Girl Can Essex Ambassadors, which started in 2016, there are now over 250 ambassadors across Essex who have become role models and are inspiring other women and girls across Essex to be more active and take part in fitness and sport activities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

The All Together campaign, which is inspiring people with disabilities to get more involved in sport and physical activity, now has 20 ambassadors including Anne Wafula-Strike, who moved from Kenya in 2000. She saw wheelchair racing on TV for the first time in 2002, which inspired her to become involved. The Harlow community raised funds for her first racing wheelchair and she competed in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.

Anne Wafula-Strike said: “It is amazing to be in a room full of committed people who want to inspire other people and I’m delighted to be an Active Essex All Together Ambassador. I had lost self-esteem but I embraced sport quickly. I realised it was a platform from where I could inspire other people. It doesn’t matter who you are or your size, ability or faith. It’s important to grab the opportunity and give it a try.”

Juliette Raison, Active Essex Sport and Physical Activity Officer, said: “It has been incredibly exciting to see the This Girl Can Essex and All Together campaigns take off and we now have over 250 ambassadors who are helping to break down barriers as to why women and disabled people don’t currently take part. The ambassadors are helping people to try something new and the response has been extraordinary.”