The Unsung Hero award celebrates volunteers who make a positive impact in their community by enabling participation in grassroots sports
The finalists for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022 Unsung Hero awards have today been announced.
The Unsung Hero award celebrates volunteers who make a positive impact in their community by enabling participation in grassroots sports.
The winner will be revealed live on air on BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022 on Wednesday 21 December from 6.45pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Diagnosed with brittle bone disease at the age of four, Mike has broken nearly every bone in his body. This didn’t stop him playing football in his childhood and he has since encouraged others to play the beautiful game by setting up Park Knowle FC. Based in one of Bristol’s most deprived areas, the club is open to anyone of any age and ability, with teams for boys, girls, veterans and disabled players. It’s a family affair with his wife, sons and daughter also a part of making the club such an asset to the community.
Rukhsana has rallied local women in her community, often in the face of criticism from other community members who disapproved of Muslim women participating in sport, to get them active and socialising. She is seen by many as a role model and a mentor and is determined to inspire women who have never played sport in their adult lives to give it a go. Breaking stereotypes and assumptions wherever she goes, Rukhsana is determined to make a positive difference.
Nooh Omar Ibrahim
A true sports fan, Nooh started in sport development with the Welsh Rugby Union and now works with Cricket Wales and Urdd Cymru. Outside of these roles and in his free time, Nooh runs games of street cricket in one of Cardiff’s most challenged areas and runs daily fitness and wellness sessions for all ages who have mobility, isolation and diabetes issues. Nooh has had his difficulties early in life, but is now showing how to be a positive role model in a community where aspirations can be limited.
Mary struggled with depression and anxiety after the birth of her first two children, who were born blind. She struggled with her mental health during subsequent pregnancies and began cold water swimming to improve her health – both physically and mentally. After reaping the benefits, Mary has gone on to become a qualified mental health swim coach and she set up the Ballyronan Bluetits open water swimming club two years ago for the local community to enjoy.
Anna is a schoolgirl and junior international hockey player from Belfast, who during lockdown founded ‘At the Heart of the Game’. This is an education programme that has seen her deliver CPR and defibrillator awareness training to the Under-13 age groups in hockey clubs throughout Northern Ireland. A recognised young leader, Anna demonstrates the difference that can be made through sport.
Dave is a positive influence in the lives of young people in some of Aberdeen’s poorest neighbourhoods. His work with the StreetSport network has brought regular sport and creative sessions to the city and helped young people to discover better routes from their current circumstances. Dave is also working very closely with young people with complex emotional and educational needs, taking the time to learn about these needs and help them to connect better with their peers through sport.
Helen set up the Badminton Homes for Ukraine programme to enable Ukrainian families (who are known to the Ukraine Badminton Federation) to settle in England, from her base in Suffolk. As well as resettlement, Helen has worked to ensure refugees can continue enjoying and playing sport. Helen has used the power of sport, her love of badminton and her connections in the grassroots game to respond to an extraordinary situation.
Becca set up Team Brave, a fully inclusive football group aimed at women and girls based in Bristol. The training sessions take place every Wednesday night and over the last year, the number of women attending has increased rapidly. It’s free, inclusive, fun and friendly and all about promoting mental health and confidence. Not only does Becca coach at Team Brave, she leads the club as a trustee, working with a committee to apply for funding so everyone can access football no matter their circumstances.
For further information about the Unsung Hero award, please visit www.bbc.co.uk/unsunghero.