Medals to honour the coaching heroes of the coronavirus lockdown


As part of UK Coaching Week 2020, UK Coaching has announced a new public-driven awards initiative to recognise those coaches who delivered sport and physical activity during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

Through UK Coaching Heroes, the great British public will be able to nominate coaches who implemented great coaching ideas and made a considerable difference to others despite the adversity we faced because of the pandemic.

One such coach, dubbed the nation’s PE teacher, Joe Wicks, delivered 18 weeks of his fitness show ‘PE with Joe’, helping millions of parents and children stay active whilst schools were closed and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the NHS.

Nominations are open until the 11 October. Then from the 26 October – 8 November, the public will be able to vote for their favourite coaches from the shortlist of finalists.

Two supporters of the initiative are charities Coach Core Foundation and Dallaglio RugbyWorks – the former delivering inclusive and impactful sports coaching apprenticeships across the UK for 16-24 year olds not in education or employment and the latter offering young people of secondary school age (either excluded or on the verge of exclusion from mainstream education) a chance to succeed and progress onto further education, employment or training. Both charities will benefit from any voluntary donations made through the nominations or public vote process.

UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching Emma Atkins, said:

“As part of this year’s campaign, we wanted to implement a unique way in which coaches could be celebrated and recognised by the public for the unparalleled role they’ve had in helping communities stay happy and healthy in this coronavirus era.

UK Coaching Heroes is for those of us who have benefitted from great coaching during lockdown to show our appreciation for what coaches have done for us and our wider communities. We have seen coaches go online to keep us connected, active and healthy, and have seen coaches step up to run around their local neighbourhoods to ensure those shielding from COVID-19 have food parcels and other everyday essentials.

“There is also a wonderful opportunity to donate money to two amazing charities, who are ensuring that young people, who are often in vulnerable situations, can excel through coaching apprenticeships and development programmes that will help them succeed in life – and ensure the next generation of great coaches!”

RugbyWorks’ Managing Director Sarah Mortiboys, said:

“We’re delighted to support this activity because we know through our interventions that coaching and mentoring can have a great effect on the lives of young people. By creating person-centred relationships with our young people through rugby, we’re helping them to develop resilience, personal responsibility, an understanding of mental well-being and keeping them engaged in learning and education.

“Any donation to RugbyWorks will help us to support a young person in England or Wales achieve a positive and productive future.”

Coach Core’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Laybourne, said:

“At Coach Core, we understand that coaching is a very powerful way of upskilling and developing young people of all ages both professionally and personally, whilst also ensuring they become real assets to their local community. Through our programmes, we use apprenticeships to help target deserving young people living and working in some of the UK’s most challenging areas onto a fantastic, long-term career pathway and then put them back into their own communities so that they can become fantastic, inspiring young coaches helping to change people lives.

“As we all know, coronavirus has had a huge impact on the sport and physical activity sector, with substantial decreases in employment for young people in particular really starting to affect our own programmes. If people could keep us in mind for a donation whilst they are nominating so we can continue the work we do, we would be extremely grateful. Thank you.”

UK Coaching Heroes is looking for nominations of people who have:

  • connected people utilising sport and physical activity and had a positive impact on people’s well-being
  • created an environment where people felt empowered and motivated either to get active or to stay active during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • made a difference and had an impact on others (eg family member, friend, participant).

Make your nomination.

UK Coaching Week – which empowers athletes, coaches and the public to celebrate great coaching – this year centres on the need to ‘Support Your Coach’, kicking off with the #GreatCoachingPledge that will call on the nation to give some of their own time, sharing thanks and support for the coaching community.

To find out more about the campaign, visit




Notes to Editors:

Coaching Week

The inaugural Coaching Week took place in 2018 and received huge support from key sporting organisations, national and regional media and the wider coaching community. During the week, UK Coaching launched its Principles of Great Coaching - to help everyone in the UK recognise and celebrate when great coaching takes place.

UK Coaching

UK Coaching is the brand name of the National Coaching Foundation. Great coaching encourages people to be more active and lead healthier lifestyles and our mission is to put coaching at the heart of physical activity and sport.

Coaching is in our DNA. For more than 30 years, alongside our partners, we have provided the coaching workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to make a positive difference. We’ve also supported our partners to do the same.

We’re now widening our scope to do this on a broader scale. How? By adopting a wider definition of coaching and extending our reach into new markets where great coaching makes a difference every day.

We’re here to:

  • raise the profile of coaching so that it is recognised for the wider benefits it brings to society and individuals
  • help our partners create coaching systems to deliver a fit for purpose workforce that better reflects society
  • make coaching easier to get into and stay involved in
  • supply the coaching workforce with the information they need to be participant focused
  • be a hub of research excellence for coaching
  • help coaches feel better connected, more knowledgeable and confident
  • be central to the sport and physical activity landscape; we’ll run an effective and efficient organisation
  • encourage technology to enable coaches and coaching.


In England, we support governing bodies of sport, Active Partnerships and leisure providers, as well as many other organisations across the sport and physical activity landscape.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and at high performance level, we work with the relevant sports councils to reach partners throughout the coaching system.

Further information on UK Coaching can be found on our website:


Media Contact

Jake Wright

Coaching Campaigns Officer

0113 290 7631

07974 015 710