An Evening with Access Sport brings Award Winners, Ambassadors, partners and friends together for a unique event celebrating inclusive community sport.

On Wednesday 16th March, 200 special guests gathered for An Evening With Access Sport at the iconic Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea.

Three years have passed since the charity hosted ‘A Question of Access Sport’ in March 2019 and there was a distinct air of excitement as Award Winners, Access Sport Ambassadors and guests arrived to celebrate an evening of inclusive sport!

The evening began with an introduction to our hosts, Access Sport Ambassadors and Olympic gold medal winners Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE, Greg Searle MBE and Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE.

For many people in the room, this was also an opportunity to meet Access Sport’s new CEO, Helen Rowbotham, who joined the charity in January and took to the stage to give a very warm welcome to guests.

We were delighted that so many Access Sport Ambassadors from the world of elite sport were also present and seated with guests at their tables, including Olivia Breen, Declan Brooks, Gail Emms MBE, Ali Jawad and Talan Skeels-Piggins. The conversation flowed and guests also had the opportunity to hear some fascinating stories from the world of Paralympic and Olympic sport from Olivia, Declan and Talan during a live Q&A on stage.

Then came the highlight of the evening, the Access Sport Awards. This year’s Awards recognise the immense challenges presented by the pandemic and highlight both the important role of community sport and the exceptional efforts made by the Award Winners to ensure that sport remained accessible in their communities.

Congratulations to the Access Sport Award Winners 2022

Resilience in Adversity – Woolwich Inclusive Yoga, presented to Kelly McGuinness by Ali Jawad

Inclusive Club of the Year – COG Cycling, presented to Dave Sparks and Lillian Gerber by Declan Brooks

Volunteer of the Year – Tom Kirby, presented by Gail Emms MBE

You can read about our amazing Award Winners below.

Following the presentation of awards it was time for Access Sport CEO, Helen Rowbotham, to share the charity’s ambitious plans for growth and launch ‘Challenge Access Sport’ – a new campaign which invites friends, supporters and partners to take on a physical challenge to raise funds for Access Sport during 2022. Several partners including Columbia Threadneedle, HSBC and England Hockey had already committed to take part in Challenge Access Sport and it was fantastic to see several individuals sign-up on the night!

Before the evening drew to a close there was the opportunity for guests to bid on five, unique auction lots which included VIP hospitality at the British Touring Car Championship / the British Superbike Championship, a Henley Royal Regatta VIP experience with Greg Searle MBE, a Wine Tasting at Berry Bros, a Sailing Experience with Saskia Clarke MBE and a BMX Cycling Experience with Olympian Declan Brooks. Many guests also made generous pledges during the course of the evening to support our vital work helping disabled and disadvantaged young people to access the benefits of sport.

We're delighted to share that An Evening With Access Sport raised an incredible £50,000. We would like to thank our generous guests, partners, Ambassadors and all those who supported the event in so many different ways.

It was wonderful to come together to celebrate our Award Winners and the role of inclusive community sport and to share our commitment to achieve even greater impact in the year ahead. 

We look forward to seeing you next year!

If you would like to view or download the photos from the evening please click the link here: Photo Gallery

Access Sport Award Winners 2022

Award: Resilience in Adversity – Woolwich Inclusive Yoga 

Woolwich Inclusive Yoga delivers inclusive yoga sessions to D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse young people. Kelly McGuinness, a qualified instructor, set up the club to engage more young people with the amazing physical and psychological benefits of regular practice, recognising that there was no other inclusive yoga provision in Greenwich. Kelly completed Access Sport’s Disability Inclusion Training and Access Sport went on to provide further support including by funding venue costs and equipment and more recently by helping Kelly to reach new participants. Given Kelly’s passion and commitment, it’s no surprise that the club has gone from strength to strength and now engages 30 D/deaf and disabled young people. During the pandemic the club showed amazing versatility and resilience, running online sessions and providing mats for participants so that they could enjoy yoga at home.

Award: Inclusive Club of the Year - COG Cycling 

COG Cycling is a community cycling and bike maintenance project based at Higham Hill Hub in Walthamstow. It was set up by Dave Sparks, a local police officer looking for a way to engage young people in a diverse and under-served community in East London. COG is now co-led by Dave and Lillian Gerber – who both share Access Sport’s drive to enhance young lives. This can be seen from the hugely successful summer programme that reached over 250 children in 2021, in the way that the club supports and encourages young riders to become qualified coaches and the club’s desire to limit session fees to a suggested £2 donation. Access Sport worked with COG to bring a neglected cycling track at Cheney Row back to life and COG now delivers a full and inclusive programme of activity, including ‘Wingz’ cycling for disabled young people and sessions for women and girls.

Award: Volunteer of the Year – Tom Kirby 

Tom Kirby is a Flyerz Hockey player, coach, and ambassador who champions inclusive sport for all. Tom started playing hockey at Midland Mencap, then Harborne Flyerz, and has represented his country at the European HockeyID Championships. Tom is passionate about hockey, but he doesn’t just want to play – he wants to show that disabled people can and should be involved in all aspects of sport. Access Sport has helped Tom on his journey from player to ambassador to coach and most recently partnered with England Hockey to develop an inclusive pathway to ensure that Tom, and other disabled young people, can access training and qualifications. Tom has won this award for his drive, his passion for truly inclusive sport and because he is a real advocate who inspires others and brings them along with him. He strives to have a positive impact and to change sport for the better, for good.