Harlequins Foundation shortlisted for a London Sports Award

The Harlequins Foundation was shortlisted for a London sports award after its Diabetes Decathlon program provided Twickenham residents with a vital exercise lifeline throughout the pandemic.

The foundation, based in southwest London, works on various projects across the community and has been nominated for the Health and Wellbeing Award in collaboration with Gympass.

The Diabetes Decathlon program welcomes people aged 40 to 80 who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, and enables them to be more active and lead healthier lifestyles.

Participants take part in a ten-week program designed to help them lose weight and make lasting positive changes.

They received rewards through the Sweatcoin app throughout the program.

Hollie Smith, Foundation Welfare Manager, let the sessions continue during the lockdown, admitting she couldn’t be more proud to make such a difference.

She said, “We wanted to keep helping these people because when you see people for two hours a week you get close to them, they become more like friends and you really build a nice relationship with them.

“You take care of these people and it was sad that they couldn’t come to training anymore.

“They just wanted to keep going and we wanted to help them, help them progress and keep their spirits up because it was difficult to get into lockdown.

“After every session I just feel so happy and the gratitude of the participants just makes you feel so good.

“They are all so nice, eager to learn and so grateful for what we have put on. Just knowing that you are changing people’s lives is an incredible feeling. “

For the past five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, has grown to be the city’s largest celebration of grassroots sport.

And this year’s flagship event will once again recognize, celebrate and highlight the stories of the incredible individuals, groups and organizations for their outstanding work in the capital helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.

About 5 million people across the country are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes – with around 200,000 people diagnosed each year – a statistic that underscores the vital importance of the work of the Harlequins Foundation.

Chris Gumble, 36, project manager for the South West London Clinical Commissioning Group, provided nutritional support to the program.

He added, “The work we do in our partnership with Harlequins has had a dramatic impact on people’s lives.

“When people come they are a little doubtful, they are not sure what to expect.

“The information we convey, the fun we bring in learning, the group and social dynamics that make people believe that there is a really easy and believable way to make a big impact on their lives something that both we at NHS SWL and Harlequins are really proud of. “

The London Sport Awards, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, put a spotlight on the unsung community heroes who help Londoners of all backgrounds enjoy the benefits of physical activity and sports.

Visit http://www.londonsport.org to find out more about the awards and how London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world.

Photo credit: Harlequins Foundation

London Herald