Community sports coach from Heanor wins national award for youth work

David Walsh, centre, collects his award for Childrens Coach of the Year for his work in Derbyshire communities.
David Walsh, centre, collects his award for Childrens Coach of the Year for his work in Derbyshire communities.

A sports coach from Heanor has been honoured with a national award for his work with children and young people across Derbyshire.

David Walsh, who works as a development officer at Derbyshire Sporting Communities, was named Children’s Coach of the Year at the 2017 UK Coaching Awards on Thursday, November 30.

This year’s event marked the 20th Anniversary of the awards, which were chosen by an expert judging panel from a record number of nominations for coaches transforming lives across the UK.

David said: “I’m ecstatic. It’s the biggest achievement of my life. These awards are the best accolade possible in terms of coaching, so it’s a brilliant feeling.”

The showpiece annual event is seen as one of the most prestigious within the coaching profession and was held at the Honourable Artillery Company in London.

This recognition for his work is the latest milestone in a remarkable story of transformation for David too.

Having lost his father at an early age and lured into a life centred-around gang culture, he now uses all that experience as a tool to prevent children from following a similar lifestyle of crime.

In the past 12 months he has developed a number of coaching programmes that aim to make sport more accessible to children throughout Derbyshire and tackle wider community issues.

Sporting Communities is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company providing holiday and after-school activities, targeted schemes for young people involved in anti-social behaviour, and specialist support for teaching staff.

UK Coaching chief executive Mark Gannon said: “David has overcome huge challenges and it’s great to see how far he has come. He has been able to positively influence communities and change people’s lives for the better.

“That is the essence of coaching. We are delighted to have been able to recognise his fantastic work and selfless attitude.”

For more details on Sporting Communities, go to www.sportingcommunitiescic.org.