Community Matters Awards 2023

Meet our latest very worthy award winners

The Community Matters Awards gave the wider Places for People family a chance to recognise and celebrate inspiring Customers who are helping to create and support thriving Communities for everyone.

Held at the National Centre of Early Music in York, this year’s ceremony saw 28 people across all of branches of Places for People taking home an award for their dedication to making a difference in their Communities. There were some heartwarming stories about how these individuals are creating impact, from achieving personal successes, to organising community events and get-togethers, and even helping others overcome loneliness through small acts of kindness.

Greg Reed, Chief Executive Officer at Places for People, said: “We exist because of our Customers, and we aim to change lives by creating and supporting thriving Communities. It is our Customers who bring a Community to life - whether they’re showing up to a class at their leisure centre, moving into a student accommodation at the start of their new university year, or living in one of our Communities. We wanted to recognise and celebrate those People within our Communities who are going the extra mile, looking out for others, or achieving something exceptional within their area. We are delighted to have been able to celebrate Customers from across our organisation and show them our gratitude for helping to create thriving Communities.” 

By filling our centres with joy, ambition, and pride, our members bring every single one of our Communities to life! Some of them were recognised at this year’s event:

Emma Marshall, Member at Parish Wharf Leisure Centre

“Emma goes above and beyond to support Parish Wharf in the Community and online. She attends and donates to every charity event we hold and even reaches out to news outlets about our achievements. As a result of this, one of our members of staff was interviewed on local radio. When we reduced our membership prices due to a competitor she asked if she could continue to pay more to support us. She is an amazing source of advertisement for us and brightens up staff moods and boosts the members training around her."

"Emma is selfless, unassuming, modest and deserves recognition for everything she does for us.”

Toby Flannigan, Member at Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Complex

“Toby is such an asset to our leisure centre. He comes in 7 days a week and brings a smile and positive attitude to fellow members and staff. He encourages everyone to get involved in any events we’re holding. He’s a great role model and leader. He is always inspiring our members to challenge and push themselves further.”

Richard Grindley, Member at Fairfield Leisure Centre

“Richard has come such a long way from being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and was unable to train at all, and now he is the fastest 5k (17 mins) and 10k (37 mins) runner in the centre.”

Richard says: “I owe my successful fitness journey, not only to my family’s support, but the inspiration and drive I receive from other gym members and expert advice from all the PTs and staff at Fairfield Leisure Centre.”

Jamie Stewart, Member at Dorking Sports Centre

“Jamie is so friendly and welcoming to the staff and customers its hard to imagine our Community without him."

"He is a unique customer, known by every member of staff. He never let's his disability get in the way but instead, is proud of what he's achieved in spite of it. Just a little over two years ago, Jamie was struggling to do four lengths without a rest. Now he swims every single day, often for multiple hours, and is hoping to compete in the Special Olympics. Jamie's always energetic and loud (even first thing in the morning) and a positive role model to anyone he meets."

"Several customers have said that they've been directly inspired by Jamie's fitness journey. As well as that, whenever someone seems like they're struggling, or unsure of something, Jamie will always introduce himself and offer to help, whilst making them feel welcome and part of our community. Whenever a new member of staff joins the team, Jamie always makes an effort to remember them and learn their name. Jamie makes people truly feel like they've made a difference and that their work is appreciated."

"We think Jamie is more that deserving of the recognition and praise for all he has achieved. He’s an inspiration!”

We’re so proud to see our members recognised at this level for their dedication to Communities, even in the face of adversity. It’s something that inspires the whole organisation and the People within it to keep going the extra mile!

Watch the full video below to see more of this year’s Community Matters Awards.