BBC launches its 2016 Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award

Give your local sports volunteer a chance to shine!

Do you know a local sports volunteer who deserves recognition for their tireless efforts in helping people to participate in sport? Well now’s your chance to give them their time to shine by nominating them for the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award 2016.

Now in its 14th year, the Unsung Hero award recognises the fantastic work carried out by sports volunteers from across the UK to encourage others to participate in sport. The Unsung Hero award will be one of the highlights of this year’s Sports Personality of the Year awards taking place in Birmingham on Sunday 18th December.

The winner could be anyone from a local sports club manager, volunteer, kit person or coach – if they have demonstrated a commitment to promoting sport in their local community then they could become this year’s winner.

Announcing this year’s awards Sharon Fuller, Project Lead for Get Inspired, said:

“Every week there are thousands of people from across the UK who work with little or no support but continue to play a vital role in encouraging their local community to take up sport. This is your chance to give that person the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award.”

This year Get Inspired is delighted to welcome the former women’s England Rugby Union international and Saracens player Maggie Alphonsi alongside former sports volunteer and father of Olympic record breaking cyclist Laura Trott,  Adrian Trott, as Unsung Hero Ambassadors. They will not only help to promote the award but will also be responsible for judging the final winner later in the year.

Maggie Alphonsi said:

“Ask any athlete or sports personality today and they will all have their unsung heroes. These are the people who often go unnoticed but help some of our best sporting stars to go on and have long and successful careers. Maybe they’re the person who first introduced them to the sport, gave them the confidence to pursue sport as a career or helped them on the road to recovery after a serious injury.

“I am delighted to be an ambassador for this year’s Get Inspired Unsung Hero award helping give these people the recognition they truly deserve.”

Adrian Trott added:

“The achievements of my daughter Laura at Rio 2016 would not have been possible without the support of volunteers across the cycling community who helped her in the early years and gave her the opportunity to unleash her potential.

“As a former volunteer myself, I know we do what we do for the love of sport or our community but it is fantastic when someone says thank you and recognises those efforts and the projects we run. So if you know someone in your local community that is a real Unsung Hero then I’d urge you to get your nomination in and reward them for their sterling efforts.”

To nominate your Unsung Hero, complete the application form on the BBC Get Inspired website and submit it before midnight on Sunday 23rd October.

We’ll then announce the 15 regional winners who have been selected to represent their region. All of the regional winners will then get the opportunity to attend the Sports Personality of the Year celebrations where one of them will be awarded the title of BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero of the Year for 2016 in front of a packed out venue live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Last year the West Belfast football coach Damien Lindsey was crowned as the Get Inspired Unsung Hero award winner for 2015. Damien won the award for his fantastic work in the local community with St James Swifts Football Club that has helped to get young people off the streets in a deprived part of the city and given them belief in their futures.

You can find out about the benefits winning last year’s award has brought to Damien and the players of St James Swifts Football Club in his interview for the About the BBC blog.

Today also marks the launch of the Get Inspired #BigThankYou campaign in partnership with Sport England and UK Sport’s Be Inspired campaign that aims to get people involved in sport by watching, playing or volunteering. The #BigThankYou campaign will culminate at Sports Personality of the Year which will involve big surprises, inspiring volunteers and a host of sporting stars whose careers began with help from volunteers. If you have a sport volunteer that you’d like to thank you can use the hashtag #BigThankYou to send them your thanks and show your appreciation for their efforts.

Tanya Joseph from Be Inspired said:

“Volunteers make a vital contribution to sport. Every member of Team GB and ParalympicsGB member has a story to tell of the person who helped them take their first steps towards success. And we should not forget the army of volunteers are helping to get people active in communities across the country every week.  #TheBigThankYou is not just a wonderful opportunity to thank volunteers and celebrate their work but a chance to showcase the many different ways and reasons to get involved.”

Simon Morton, Chief Operating Officer, UK Sport said:

“The success of any major event is very much dependent on the strength and commitment of its volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to the safe and successful running of the event for participants and spectators. We are proud of our all our volunteers and recognise the selfless dedication that they make to inspire the nation to participate, excel and enjoy sport.”

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