The Essex Activity Awards returned on Thursday 7th December to celebrate key achievements in physical activity, sport and wellbeing, as well as highlight those who have made an impact on communities and residents across the county.
Active Essex held their inspirational evening at a new venue, Prested Hall in Feering, with support from headline sponsor, Matchroom. Paralympic Gold Medallist Danny Crates, also returned to host the evening alongside the awards new host, ITV Presenter Charlie Frost.
With a slight re-fresh on categories in line with the physical activity and sport strategy for Essex, Southend and Thurrock, the evening shone a light on communities, individuals, groups, workplaces and schools who enthuse the importance of physical activity, sport, and movement, no matter how big or small.
Active Essex Chair, Dr William Bird MBE, opened the evening and said: The awards is a personal favourite event of mine, as it allows us to recognise and commemorate achievements in physical activity and sport across the county. As a GP, I know how important it is to be active, for positive mental wellbeing. For some it might not come easy, but everyone has to start their physical activity journey somewhere, and I have no doubt that tonight’s celebrations will inspire and encourage others to find the activity that’s right for them. Personally from me, I would like to thank everyone who nominated, voted, attended and made this evening happen – it was a fantastic way to end the year on such a positive note once again.”
A record-breaking 700 nominations were received this year for the 10 categories, followed by over 3,000 votes cast by the public for 3 categories: Sports Club of the Year, Unsung Hero and Strengthening Communities. Team Awesome, Paul Howard, and Alt Movement were crowned winners on the night and highly praised for their achievements.
Offering extensive support to families and young children, Essex ActivAte were proud to receive their first category this year, commemorating locally trusted organisations across Essex and Thurrock.
For being at the heart of the Harwich community and offering invaluable opportunities to families, The Lighthouse Social Club were winners of the ‘Essex ActivAte Provider Of The Year award’, they commented: “We live in a very small town, so we don’t have much happening. Since opening The Lighthouse, it’s opened up huge opportunities for the children to actually have something to do and somewhere to go and be a part of the community hub that’s been created. It’s amazing to see children gain friendships and socialise with others, it’s incredible!”
Inspirational stories and interviews from winners were heard by more than 150 guests last night, which hoped to inspire and encourage others across the county to try a new activity, get moving or find their active.
Based in Brentwood, Trailnet CIC took home the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ award for striving to encourage inclusive cycling, they commented: “Cycling is more than a sport, and anyone can cycle, and that’s what we strive to do. Moving forward, we are now educating residents about cycling through initiatives, and at the end of the programme, they will take home a bike, to help with their physical and mental wellbeing.”
Over 30 Find Your Active champions were crowned this past year, for their dedication to support others to find their active. This is a huge thanks to those that have been a helping hand in starting others journey to becoming more active.
It was great to bring different communities together and hear from so many inspiring individuals and groups. Congratulations to all winners and runners up for their outstanding accomplishments, and Active Essex will continue to support local residents and recognise those that are making incredible achievements, no matter how big or small.
The 2023, 10 category winners:
- Daniel McGauley, Sports Personality – Colchester
- Freia Challis, Young Sports Personality – Braintree
- The Lighthouse Social Club, ActivAte Provider – Tendring
- Alt Movement, Strengthening Communities – Thurrock
- Our Lady Of Ransom Catholic Primary School, Education Provider – Rochford
- Essex Recovery Foundation, Essex – Workplace Team
- Trailnet CIC, Health and Wellbeing – Brentwood
- Team Awesome, Sports Club – Harlow
- Paul Howard, Unsung Hero – Maldon
Catch up on all the celebrations here.