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Sporting heroes recognised at twelfth year of ActiveWestminster awards

On Friday 19 November, Westminster City Council’s Sport, Leisure and Active Communities Service brought partners and service users together to celebrate organisations and individuals who have had the most positive impact on people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing over the past year.

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Photo of Charlotte Thomas-Rowe approaching the stage to get her award

Charlotte Thomas-Rowe approaching the stage to receive Sports Personality Award

Published: 25 November 2021

After last year’s awards took place from people’s living rooms, this year’s event, now in its twelfth year, was able to take place in person at the exquisite Porchester Hall.

Sky Sports News presenter, David Garrido was back at the helm, along with special guest star Paralympian, Vanessa Wallace.

David Garrido and Vanessa Wallace on the stage

The theme of the evening was defiance – about the obstacles the community has had to overcome to ensure people’s physical and mental wellbeing is prioritised and a motivation to look forward to the future with positivity.

Over two hundred incredible nominations were received for the awards, demonstrating the passion and pride that the Westminster community feels about the many inspiring individuals and local organisations helping to get people active.

Eleven winners were announced throughout the evening and this included The Unsung Hero Award which is in memory of Mariam Sabir, who was a dedicated and beloved ActiveWestminster volunteer.

David Garrido and Vanessa Wallace on the stage

Amongst the eleven winners included:

Charlotte Thomas-Rowe, winner of Sports Personality Award

Charlotte started playing basketball as a child and developed her skills playing across Europe. The last year, Charlotte was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis which is a potential sports career-changing challenge. She is meeting this challenge head on, showing her love of the sport by committing herself to court time gym sessions and yoga. Despite her serious health issues which are currently stopping Charlotte from playing professionally, she is still able to support the local community by coaching local ladies team, The Badabings as well as volunteering with refugees and the homeless. Everyone who has worked with Charlotte has been inspired by her.

Phil Rumbelow, winner of Lifetime Achievement Award

Phil has gone above and beyond, making a lasting impact on the leisure and physical activity landscape in Westminster. This year, after twenty-three years of service, Phil is leaving his role as Chief Executive of Jubilee Hall Trust. He started at the charity, which itself was founded by local people in 1974, as Club Manager in 1997. One of his most successful and impactful initiatives, amongst many, is Free Sundays which has contributed to the delivery of over 316,000 activity sessions alone in 2019/20 helping build strong and healthy communities in Westminster.

Pimlico Puffins, winner of Inclusive Award

Pimlico Puffins enable those who have a learning or physical disability to swim or exercise in water as the buoyancy provides greater movement and independence. The club was founded in 1981 at the same time that Westminster City Council’s Queen Mother Sports Centre opened. The council was keen to get more people to benefit from their new flagship sports centre and arranged for Pimlico Puffins to have exclusive use of the pool between 8 and 9pm every Monday – thirty years later, this arrangement still stands today.

Bloomsbury Football Foundation, winner of Rewarding and Celebrating Diversity Award

Bloomsbury Football Foundation was established as a charity in 2018. Its vision is to use the power of football to improve the lives of young people in London and they offer sustainable programmes that support active lifestyles, promote positive impacts and pursue full potentials. Believing that educational separations and inequalities in the UK are leading to a divided landscape for young people, one of their key aims is to bring children from different socio-economic backgrounds together through football.

Full list of winners

Read the full list of all the winners and finalists of this year’s ActiveWestminster Awards.

Councillor James Spencer, Cabinet Member for City Management at Westminster City Council, who opened this year’s awards said:

I am humbled by the achievements of all our nominees and winners this evening.

The last twenty months have tested our emotional resilience and being physically active and connected in the community has been crucial for people’s wellbeing.

I can’t wait to see what these organisations and individuals go onto achieve in the next year and I’m proud that ActiveWestminster is there to support them to reach even more people.

About ActiveWestminster

ActiveWestminster is a partnership encompassing physical activity, leisure and sport providers and facilitated by  Westminster City Council’ Sport, Leisure and Active Communities Service. ActiveWestminster is dedicated to helping all people benefit from the value of physical activity.

It works in partnership with hundreds of public, private and voluntary sector organisations to promote a wide variety of attractive and accessible opportunities, which encourage people to take part in physical activity, leisure and sport at any and every level.

Over the past decade, the council has made major investments in developing new and improved sports and leisure facilities around the borough of Westminster.

Westminster now provides some of the best access to community sports facilities in the country and works hard to sustain and grow its voluntary, athletic and community sports sector.

Its annual awards create a moment to celebrate the amazing individuals and organisations in Westminster who are helping people of all abilities and backgrounds to get and stay physically active.