Two years ago Sport Gives Back was just a dream for Connie Henry, former international triple jumper and founder of Track Academy. Connie approached HTL with the seed of an idea for an event that would celebrate the invaluable work of charities, organisations and individuals, who change lives through sport. Fast forward to March 2020 and the inaugural Sports Gives Back Award ceremony was unveiled, in the heart of Mayfair, to huge acclaim from charities, corporates and sporting legends.
The event was supported in person by an array of high-profile sports people and celebrities, including Olympic greats Lord Sebastian Coe, Dame Kelly Holmes, Daley Thompson CBE and Crista Cullen MBE, as well as Jason Robinson OBE, Lee Dixon, Greg Rusedski and Dame Darcey Bussell, plus TV personality Adam Hills. Sports broadcaster and Olympian Jeanette Kwakye hosted the awards.
Ten charities presented Awards to pay tribute to the unsung heroes who are transforming lives up and down the country using sport, dance and movement as a vehicle to help people develop and grow. Each of the charities played a powerful, short video highlighting the role of their award recipient. Connie added: “Sport Gives Back, for me, was one of those niggling ideas that just wouldn’t let me go. It kept going on and on at me. As much as I really believe – with every sinew of my body – that this was real, it wasn’t until I saw those videos coming through that I felt vindicated and relieved. Yes, it was happening all around the country exactly as I thought it was”.
The event was highly rewarding for HTL to create an occasion that moved away from the traditional black tie dinner, to produce a fresh and engaging format. Feedback from guests was incredible. Rugby legend Andy Gomarsall, who presented an award, posted on LinkedIn praising all involved “Congrats on an unbelievable evening, super proud to have been involved”.
Charity leaders expressed their delight, with Nicola Walker, CEO of Sported, remarking on her overriding impression of “leadership, professionalism and collaboration – inspiring leadership and passion from Connie; incredible professionalism from HTL to make the event so seamless AND a real example of how charities in the sector can work together for the better good. What an amazing event to be part of – and undoubtedly the first of many”.
Find out more about Sport Gives Back here.