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Watford Gymnastics Club recognised for their great community work at the Hertfordshire Service to Sport Awards

On Tuesday 19 November, the sixteenth annual Hertfordshire Service to Sport Awards took place celebrating the dedication and selfless efforts of sports volunteers from across the county, including Watford’s very own Emily Roche (Female Community Coach of the Year) and the Watford Gymnastics Club.

A regular face at the Hertfordshire Service to Sports Awards for many years, Sky Sport’s F1 commentator David Croft compered the prestigious event - organised by the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP).

There were more than 130 nominations from clubs and individuals, and awards were given to over 50 volunteers in recognition of their massive contribution to sport in Hertfordshire. The Female Community Coach of the Year, was won by Watford Gymnastics Club’s brilliant coach, Emily Roche, who was recognised as an inspiration and a credit to all the young people that attend the clubs sessions. This was achieved by being a great role model for individuals and helping young people be more active by being welcoming, understanding, encouraging and supportive.

Another fantastic award was presented to Watford Gymnastic Club in the Contribution to Disability Sport Category. The club were awarded second place – for being welcoming and inclusive to everyone, coaching children who have autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome. The club have recently installed a sensory pod so the children can use the space to calm down if they become overwhelmed.

The support and praise for the Watford Gymnastic Club is shown most by the families of the members from the club, with one parent saying “Both my sons go to Watford Gymnastics Club, the first thing I noticed was how much the coaches truly loved working with them. The second thing I noticed was how accepting they were of my sons, one has severe ADHD and processing hearing impairment and the other has severe autism and speech difficulties. The club genuinely includes/integrate both my sons in their respective classes and gets the best from them through their adapted teaching practices.’

HSP Partnership Director, John O’Callaghan added: “The event was testament to the large army of volunteers from across the county who give of their time so selflessly, in order that the rest of us can enjoy our sport and physical activity. We are very fortunate to have such a vibrant community and school sport and physical activity offer in Hertfordshire, and much of that would not be possible without their efforts.”