Nominations have opened today for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award 2021. The award honours sports volunteers in local communities who go above and beyond to encourage people to participate in physical activity.
Unsung Hero 2021 seeks out volunteers who in the last twelve months have inspired people of all ages to get up and be active and made a lasting impact on their community through sport.
The nominee must be 16 years or older and could work across an array of physical activities in their local community such as football clubs, rugby clubs, judo, cricket or even yoga, rock-climbing or dance. The winner can be involved in any way from steward to instructor or coach. If they have showed passion for their community and encouraged people to take up sport, then they could scoop the coveted award.
This year’s winner will follow last year’s recipient Sgt Matt Ratana who won the award posthumously in 2020 for bringing the community together to rebuild East Grinstead Rugby Club. Other recent Unsung Hero champions include Kieren Thompson who runs local sports projects in Nottingham to target young people who are at risk from gangs and violence, and Scottish swimming coach Kirsty Ewen who has raised awareness of mental health and helped others find a better place through swimming.
The Unsung Hero awards will be supported by Made by Sport, a charity that champions the power of sport to change lives and to shine a light on the thousands of organisations successfully using sport to tackle major social issues.
Supporting the search for the Unsung Hero 2021 is Olympic gold medallist and three times world champion heptathlete, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill – one of Great Britain’s most successful athletes. The awards have also teamed up with BBC Local Radio’s Make a Difference campaign. Launched by all 39 BBC local radio stations in March 2020, ‘Make a Difference’ is a virtual noticeboard for those offering help and those needing support. To date over 5.5 million people have now either called, texted, or messaged their local BBC radio station – helping to pull communities together and filling the airwaves with uplifting stories of the kindness of strangers.
Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said: “Unsung Hero is about recognising those in the community that have inspired people to take part in sports. Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen individuals step out, make a difference and use sport to transform their communities. They are true unsung heroes and it’s a privilege for the BBC to able to shine a light on their inspiring stories.”
Finalists will be drawn from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and each of the 12 English regions, with the winner receiving their award at this year’s BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year ceremony.
To nominate your Unsung Hero and Young Unsung Hero by video, audio, online webform or via email, simply visit www.bbc.co.uk/unsunghero Entries close on Sunday 17th October at midnight.