Sported member Leanne Evans, leader of Fit Moms & Kids, has won the BBC Unsung Hero award for Northern Ireland!!
This year the BBC joined with Made By Sport to recognise the power of sport in how it changes lives and builds better futures.
Across the country nominations were made and the winners selected, this has been a great approach in celebrating the people and projects that are really making an impact.
Leanne Evans, a mother of three from Belfast and one of our Sported members, will be heading to Aberdeen for the big BBC Sporting event – a proud moment for Sported in NI.
Creating ‘mom-friendly’ ways to get in shape was the underlining secret in also building upon her strengths, which in turn, strengthened other women in her community.
Judith Rankin, our Northern Ireland Delivery Manager, nominated Leanne for this award and has worked very closely with the ‘Fit Moms’ group.
Since joining Sported, Leanne has referred to Sported as the ‘blanket’ of support and encouragement which the group needed. Sported have provided a range of support, allocating skilled-based volunteers in areas the group required assistance.
Leanne established Fit Moms & Kids in 2014 as a space that specialised in prioritising the needs of women & children in their local area (Glengormley, NI). The group has a key focus on inviting children on the ASD spectrum to their programmes and providing support for mums.
It’s no easy task turning an initial idea into a successful organisation but Leanne’s passion and drive to support individuals within her community saw her work tirelessly for 5 years, – much of this time, alone and unsupported. She invested savings in establishing the group and delivering programmes she knew would benefit the local community.
Leanne became a Sported member in January 2018 and was paired up with Mentor Tony Barclay. Equipped with both Sported resources and Tony’s expertise; Leanne has gone on to help so many people within her community while doing what she loves.
Leanne shared with us the reality of the situation she faced before she became a Sported member:
“As I have said, ‘Tony helped me believe in myself again’. When introduced, I was at a crossroads, fighting to get charitable registration and possibly giving up. There wasn’t enough of me to go around; I needed help”.
Tony’s role as a Sported Volunteer Mentor has been to guide Leanne, teaching her how to manage and give responsibility to her committee. Growing and developing an idea or programme can be challenging but, with the support from Sported, all of our members are never alone. Just like Leanne, anyone can feel the warmth from Sported’s ‘blanket’ of guidance.
This bespoke mentorship support focusing on their policies, committee development & registration as a Charity has now been completed, and the group are currently receiving support through our impact practice ‘So What?’ Project, funded by Halifax Foundation NI, with Jenni Robinson as their Volunteer.
Developing friendships into positive business relationships is just as meaningful as keeping an organisation afloat. Building on her initial successes, Leanne utilised Tony’s guidance’s and strategies, enabling her to focus on the parts of the organisation that required the most attention.
“Thank you, Judith (my security blanket) you helped me believe again” – Leanne.
To anyone wanting to start a community project using sport for development or develop a group already in action; with our bespoke members services, you too can gain access to our Sported’ blanket’ just like Leanne.
Find out how you can become a Sported Member and get the support you need to ensure your local community is well supported to survive and thrive.
Watch the BBC Sport Video coverage of Leanne and the ‘Fit Moms’ here.