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Let’s Get Moving Awards 2023, and free kick fitness

The North West Leicestershire Let’s Get Moving Awards are held annually to celebrate the physical activity and sporting achievements of residents in the district and also encourage other residents to become active. For the 2023, awards we added a new award ‘Active Mums’ and had a focus on females with female guest speakers and physical activity champions.


The challenge

To inspire girls, women, and mums to be physically active and/or involved in sport. 

The solution

Adults Awards evening

New for 2023, we introduced the Active Mums awards, which was sponsored by the Active Mums Club, who aims to ‘engage and empower pre and post-natal women to take ownership of their own movement levels.’ 

Local Team GB athlete and European Cross Country Gold medallist (2014) Gemma Steel was a guest speaker.  

Let’s Get Moving Champion Hannah Windley was also a guest speaker. Meet Hannah | Active Together (active-together.org) 

The evening was opened by our (NWLDC) very own Chief Executive Allison Thomas, herself a keen sportswoman.

The shortlisted nominees in our Active Mums category included Nesting Lotus, a service providing aqua-natal classes at the Whitwick and Coalville Leisure Centre, Mums and Minds, a ladies recreational football session, and Sade Palmer, who, alongside being the head of girls football at Ivanhoe FC, acts as the Club Welfare Officer, co-manages a boys’ team and also runs a recreational ladies session. Sade Palmer went on to win the category.  

The Sportsperson of the Year category was won by a lady this year, Tanya Coulson, a 46-year-old mum of two who, having only started athletics since lockdown, has competed in and won several national championships in shotput and discus events. 

Junior Awards Evening 

Guest speakers for the junior awards were Katie Hoult (winner in 2022), Katie plays junior international badminton (playing up two or three age groups too!) and Megan Havers who competes in junior international archery. 

The impact (including cost savings/income generated if applicable):

Feedback received from the awards

The guest speakers’ stories were “powerful” and “inspirational”.

“It felt like a community event where everyone was proud of each other”

The impact

Gemma Ottey attended the adult award evening as one of our sponsors. We heard many inspiring stories on the evening, including the stories of two ladies football sessions. Gemma is a mum of three boys and spends a lot of her time watching her middle son play football. Gemma has struggled with her mental health and had a breakdown in February 2023, when she sought counselling and medication.

 After attending the awards, Gemma was inspired to set up a casual women’s football session at her son’s club. Her confidence was boosted by hearing about other women running similar sessions. Gemma is hugely passionate about creating a session where other women can have the opportunity to get active in a comfortable environment. 

Gemma has been able to take advantage of Let’s Get Moving funding available from NWLDC / Leicestershire County Council and has set up Free Kick Fitness which is a football themed circuits session for all abilities. 

The first session of Free Kick Fitness took place on Thursday 18 April 2024, and was attended by 18 women. Their ages ranged from late 20’s to early 60’s, and the women had a varying level of fitness and experience. 

For many of the women, this is the first time they have participated in organised physical activity for several years, and even more have not taken part in football since they were at school.

Multiple participants expressed that they decided to attend the session due to the relaxed environment promised, and the fact that Gemma herself is new to football, showing the benefit of having an instructor that attendees can relate to. 

Four participants attended whilst their children trained for their respective teams at the same time at the same club, which helped remove the barrier of time that is prevalent in many women wanting to take part in physical activity. 

The initial verbal feedback from the session is very positive, and I will be collecting further feedback when the session has been running for six weeks. 

How is the new approach being sustained?

The awards are run by North West Leicestershire District Council and running costs are funded through sponsorship and ticket sales. 

The Free Kick Fitness is being delivered by volunteers from a local sports club. 

lessons learned

  • Some logistical improvements to the junior evening are required. A good compare/host is key. 
  • Need to consider how we can better measure the impact of the awards and capitalize on the energy of the room to establish more sessions like the example above. 
  • Will start to evaluate lessons learned from Free Kick Fitness at week six. 

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