Derbyshire Village Games wins Big Society award

1st Aug 2013

Olympic-spirited Derbyshire Village Games Project wins Big Society Award for boosting sports participation across rural areas.

Embargo 7am, 1st August, 2013

The Derbyshire Village Games project, developed by the not-for-profit Community Sports Trust, has received the award from the Prime Minister for invigorating grassroots sport across rural Derbyshire and keeping the Olympic spirit alive in their communities.
The vision for the project came from two Derbyshire women, Hayley Lever and Andrea Kemp, who ran sports schemes in their local communities of Chinley and Grindleford. An experienced sports consultant, Hayley felt a lot more could be done across the county to get people of all ages more active.

Inspired by the success of their local schemes and combined with the enthusiasm of local people to get more active, the pair secured funding to employ a team of qualified ‘Village Games’ coordinators to work closely with the six rural district councils of Derbyshire: High Peak, Derbyshire Dales, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, North East Derbyshire and Bolsover District.
The aim was to find out what local people wanted and help them set up accessible and affordable activities and events, using local facilities, such as Women’s Institute halls and community centres. Armed with that community insight the coordinators set about recruiting coaches, training volunteers, getting funding and publicising activities.
Since 2010, Derbyshire Village Games has:

  • Helped develop sporting communities in more than 100 villages.
  • Established more than 200 local clubs, classes and activities.
  • Recruited 1,145 coaches - triple our three year target of 393.
  • Engaged 1,381 volunteers - triple our three year target of 337.
  • Supported nearly 200 local events including 60 ‘Community Games’ Olympic themed events like sports fun days, torch relay celebrations and Olympics.
  • Nearly doubled our three year throughput target with 222,564 attendances.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“I’m delighted to give the Derbyshire Village Games Project a well-deserved Big Society Award for their tireless work in boosting participation sport across their local area. Through their inter-village competitions, festivals and events they’ve also been able to bring together people from different communities in the region together in a positive and healthy way.
“It’s organisations like the Project that will make the Olympic and Paralympic games endure for countless generations to come and I wish them every success in the future.”

CST founder board member, Hayley Lever (now Director of Derbyshire Sport), said:
“It’s a huge honour to receive this award. It’s been incredible to be able to harness the excitement in the run up to London 2012 and to continue to build on the inspiration of Team GB’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
“Our achievements reflect not just the hard work of our team and the support of our partners but above all the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers and leaders in villages all over Derbyshire.”
“It’s been amazing to see how the project has acted as a catalyst, strengthening community spirit, helping people have fun, make friends and get fitter.”
“People want to become more active. We have found that if activities are developed locally, fit people’s varied lifestyles, are friendly and encourage all abilities, they are well supported.”

Since the games and to ensure the spirit of 2012 stays alive in Derbyshire, over the past year the team has worked closely with the ‘Community Games’ programme, funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund, to help more than 60 local communities celebrate London 2012 including an Olympic Opening Ceremony Family Day at Carsington in the Derbyshire Dales and an ‘Alternative Youth Olympics’ with six youth groups in South Derbyshire.
The partnership approach taken by those involved has been the key to the project’s success with funding and management support from local District, Borough and County Councils, Sport England and the National Lottery, NHS Derbyshire County, Derbyshire Sport and the Peak District National Park Authority.
A renewed commitment from funding partners will see the project expand over the next three years to new communities, including those in the Chesterfield and Erewash Boroughs.

Image caption: Torch bearer Sarah Needham at last year's Family Fun Day at Carsington Water celebrating the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.  Click here to download this and a selection of high res images or contact Lissa Cook (07818 411 791) for other local images of Village Games work across the county.

Notes to Editors


About the Community Sports Trust:

•    The Community Sports Trust ( is a not for profit Community Interest Company managing community-based sports development projects.
•    Our vision is of communities where people of all ages and interests take part and compete in sport and recreation opportunities. Communities will have strong sustainable sports infrastructure with high quality volunteers, coaches and leaders.
•    Our flagship initiative is the Derbyshire Village Games.  Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, this innovative project’s aim is simple - we want people of all ages and abilities in villages across the county to get active.  Our network of Village Games Co-ordinators work at grassroots level delivering sport on the doorstep.  We work alongside community associations, sports organisations, local councils and funding bodies as well as private companies to develop ground-breaking new partnerships.  
•    We are a partner of Derbyshire Sport and our team of coordinators work in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, NHS Derbyshire County, High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire Dales District Council, NE Derbyshire District Council, Bolsover District Council, Erewash Borough Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Chesterfield Borough Council and South Derbyshire District Council.  Sport England and the National Lottery are key partners and funders of the Derbyshire Village Games and JOG Derbyshire.
On the Big Society Awards:
The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrates the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.
The award focuses upon three specific areas:
Outstanding Contribution to Community
- People, projects and organisations that enable communities to drive change themselves
- Projects and organisations that allow the community to identify solutions
- People, projects and organisations that inspire others to contribute to their community
Improving Lives and Society through Innovation, Collaboration and New Partnerships
- People and organisations taking new approaches to public services
- Successful collaboration and partnerships between public, private and voluntary sector - working together to benefit communities
Engaging in Social Action
- People, projects and organisations taking action in their community
- Working together for social change (e.g. through creating groups, campaigns, movements)
- Generosity of time, money, skills and other resources – in support of social action
Launching the awards, the Prime Minister said:
“There are some amazing projects and remarkable voluntary work going on in towns and cities up and down the country, by all kinds of organisations from large enterprises to tiny grassroots schemes and inspirational individuals.
“These awards are a chance to pay tribute to those making a valuable contribution to their community, the real champions of the Big Society, but perhaps more importantly, I hope they will motivate many others to take action, get involved and drive change in their area.”

Nominations come in from the general public after which there follows a process of scoring and short-listing by civil servants and a further short-listing by a Panel of Ministers and independent external experts. This Panel makes recommendations to the Prime Minister who makes the final decisions about who to make the award to. Twelve winners are decided each quarter meeting and then announced once a week throughout the year.
85 winners have been announced to date, including:

  • Community Action Through Sport - Promoting, recognising and rewarding all young people for positive community action with sports based awards.
  • Wotton under Edge swimming pool - In their first year (2011) overall use of the pool was estimated to have increased by 89% on the previous year. Users include the local schools, a triathlon club, mums and babies.  The site continues to provide employment for local young people, offers swimming lessons and has seen twelve lifeguards receive trained.
  • AFC Wimbledon - AFC Wimbledon is a professional Football League Two club, which is currently celebrating its 10-year anniversary.  The club is still owned by its supporters via the one-fan, one-vote Dons Trust. Since formation, the club’s officials, supporters and 300 volunteers have organised a number of community initiatives.

Big Society Awards - Inspired by 2012: Keeping the Olympic Flame Burning across the UK  
The Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer enthralled the nation and inspired over 70,000 people to volunteer their time and energy. Since then, people have engaged with their local sports clubs, tried a new sport, implemented community initiatives, ignited whole towns and villages to commit to keeping the spirit of 2012 alive.
To celebrate the anniversary of the 2012 Games, a number of awards will be announced for innovative groups, individuals and organisations whose work exemplifies the Big Society and whose Olympic-style achievements are making a real difference in communities.

  • Big Society Awards - Lucy Windmill 07795445197
  • Following her appointment as Director of Derbyshire Sport Hayley Lever has stepped down from the CST board.  A new Village Games project manager and CST Chief Executive have been appointed from September.  
  • Hayley Lever, Founder board member of Community Sports Trust (CIC), now Director of Derbyshire Sport. Phone: 07947 897015.
  • Andrea Kemp, CST Board Secretary - 07917 634153
  • For more information, images, case studies and interviews, contact CST PR Lissa Cook on 07818 411 791 (

For more information:
For a full list of winners and for information about the Big Society Awards please visit

For a full list of winners visit