National community award for Sheffield Hallam coach in recognition of ‘outstanding’ effort throughout 2020

24th March 2021

Sheffield Hallam University’s lead strength and conditioning coach has been awarded the Community Coach of the Year accolade by British Weight Lifting (BWL).

Hallam Barbell Weightlifting Club head coach and founder, Dave Hembrough, has been recognised for his ‘brilliant’ community initiatives in the Sheffield region. He has helped grow the sport through the implementation of young people’s programmes and mentorship schemes throughout 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic.

During lockdown, Dave personally delivered strength and conditioning equipment to people’s houses so that they could continue to exercise during the most difficult times of the pandemic.

This BWL accolade follows the regional BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award that Dave received in December. He was a finalist for the national award, which was won posthumously by Sgt Matt Ratana.

On receiving the BWL community award, Dave said: “It’s fantastic to get this recognition for the work I do prompting weightlifting, strength training and physical activity in the region. Making a difference to real people in our community through the application of knowledge is so important and something we, within the university sector, must strive to do.

“The projects I lead reach right into the heart of the community to a range of audiences, including those with limited opportunities and facing personal difficulties. All of these projects engage students by providing employability, work-based learning and real-world experiences: a great extension to their learning at Sheffield Hallam and something I’m proud to deliver in association with the University.”

Dave’s passion for widening participation sees him focus on the mental and physical benefits of strength training. He helps those who would not normally consider weightlifting and resistance training and feel alienated from extra-curricular sport to overcome any daunting prospect of training in a conventional gym, including older people and those with disabilities.

He has also used his social media presence to set up a Covid Coach Mentoring Programme in which he’s provided ‘selfless’ and much-needed support and guidance to trainee strength and conditioning coaches across the UK.

The BWL Annual Achievement Awards are designed to recognise the hard work and excellence that is on display in the weightlifting and para powerlifting community. They aim to showcase the very best lifting contributions across the country from grassroots gyms, all the way to the international arenas with the winners being carefully chosen by a BWL selection panel.

Ashley Metcalfe, chief executive of BWL, said: “British Weight Lifting is delighted to recognise Dave’s contribution to the sport and physical activity landscape in the work he does. He is a trailblazer in the weightlifting and strength training world, delivering innovative programmes to a wide audience in line with British Weight Lifting and Sport England’s strategic requirements.”

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