10 Dec Essex Activity Hero Awards Celebrate those who have kept the County Active
Active Essex were blown away after receiving hundreds of nominations for their virtual Essex Activity Hero awards, to spread positivity and finish what has been a difficult year on a high.
The Essex Activity Hero awards were showcased during a fortnight of celebrations, which saw residents share fantastic stories, photos and videos of their heroes across social media. The festivities continued with VIP guests highlighting specific stories of those who have inspired, benefitted and supported their community in 2020.
Special guests including Max Whitlock and Dr Zoe Williams, took the time to speak about particular stories that really resonated with them. It was important for Active Essex to recognise as many individuals and organisations that have adapted to these challenging times and still been able to provide uplifting, encouraging and motivating activities for their participants.
Victoria Bater-Sinclair runs Hip Hop Pop, a popular street dance school in Harlow and Bishops Stortford, alongside her wife, Jenny Bater-Sinclair. Victoria was commended for supporting her students and their families during the pandemic through organising daily online activities.
Speaking about her nomination, Victoria Bater-Sinclair said: “It was so difficult for everybody at the beginning of the pandemic, especially for both the children we teach who were stuck at home and their parents.
We made sure to organise plenty of online activities for our families so there was something to do every single night. This included family fitness classes, hosting watch parties for our old main stage shows and professionally led yoga and meditation sessions.
During the weekends we also hosted themed quiz nights on Zoom, with up to 100 people attending each one! Some parents told me the quizzes were the highlight of their week, which was so nice to hear.”
Victoria continued: “since restrictions have eased, we’ve been leading socially distanced dance classes. We’ve had to cut our regular classes of thirty into two alternating groups, with fifteen students receiving face to face tutoring and the other half receiving live Zoom tutoring.
We also now have a virtual studio set up so our students can go online whenever they want to see highlights from routines, join with any class or take part in some guided meditation and fitness sessions. This is a great way for all our students to access classes wherever they are, with no pressure at all. It has also been really helpful for kids who are needing to self-isolate from school.”
Other stories shared included 101 year-old Marion Watson from Maldon, former gymnast and now inspiring activity leader in her residential care home. Kerry Girt and Warren Primary School also received the recognition for going above and beyond by creating challenges for pupils and their families to keep them entertained and active during lockdown.
Dave Chase was also highlighted for his efforts across the county, for providing mental health and wellbeing support through physical activity sessions. Dave was flooded with nominations and one individual commented; “Dave is one of a kind, selfless and has been instrumental in bringing together a community of people who have experienced negative mental health so they can share their stories and help one another.” Dave’s work has played a vital role in ensuring everyone has the opportunity to remain positive, especially in what has been a difficult year for people’s mental health.
Jason Fergus, Head of Active Essex said; “It’s been outstanding to see and read the fantastic nominations for this years Essex Activity Hero awards. It’s inspiring to see so many individuals in Greater Essex who have worked hard to lift community spirits and how they have ensured we remain active and healthy in what has been a difficult year.”
Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member of Education said; “It’s been clear to see that no matter people’s age or ability, Greater Essex has been able to pull together to support one another in their physical and mental health. Active Essex have been able to celebrate them all and it’s been great to see all those community heroes that have worked incredibly hard, praised for their efforts. I want to personally thank everyone who has brought Essex Together.”