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Meet the inspiring people in Welsh sport nominated for The National Lottery awards 2023

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Three inspirational people who have made incredible contributions to sport in Wales have been nominated for the National Lottery Awards 2023.

Brian Valentine, the founder of Shotton Town United Junior Football Club, has been nominated as an ‘outstanding individual’ in the sport category. Alongside him, 74-year-old judo coach Roy Court of WISP Judo is also in the running for the award.

A few years his junior, Sakinah Hussain is an MMA coach for girls with the Exiles Together programme in Newport. She has been nominated in the Young Hero category.

Find out a bit more about these amazing people below.

Brian Valentine – Shotton Town United Junior Football Club

‘Every child should play’ – that’s the motto of Shotton Town United JFC, the football club established in Flintshire by Brian Valentine to ensure all children, regardless of their background or ability, could access football that meet their needs.

One of those children was Brain’s 7-year-old son, Dylan, who is deaf. As a devoted dad, struggling to find a club to fully meet the needs of Dylan, Brian set up Shotton Town United JFC.

With deaf awareness training from Disability Sport Wales and Sported, all the coaches at the club, which includes Dylan, who is now 14, can adapt their coaching sessions to be inclusive of those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

National Lottery funding from Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund enabled Brian and the club to buy much-needed equipment and cover the costs of even more coaching courses and deaf awareness training to continue to upskill their volunteer coaches. 

Brian said: “Being involved in football offers so many benefits, from mental health and wellbeing to physical fitness, and we want every child to experience that. Our motto is ‘every child should play’ and that’s an idea everyone at the clubs holds dear. I’m delighted to be nominated for a National Lottery Award and will take it as recognition for the important work the team and I do.”

Find out more about Shotton Town United JFC here.

Roy Court – WISP Judo

74-year-old Roy Court is an inclusive judo coach at WISP Judo who believes that sport should be accessible to all, and no one should be turned away. 

For more than 40 years, Roy has been running inclusive judo clubs in Wales. His experience alongside his mantra has meant his groundbreaking approach to coaching those with disabilities and learning difficulties has been adopted globally.

Roy continues to offer his expert coaching sessions alongside his team of volunteers from three venues in Cardiff, bringing children from mainstream education together with autistic children and others with Down’s Syndrome and a range of learning disabilities.

With Roy eager to ensure his legacy continues and all children can participate in judo, WISP Judo were supported by Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund, which is funded by the National Lottery. This has enabled the club to ensure the next generation of Roy’s can get the coaching courses they need to continue Roy’s work.

Thrilled to be announced as a finalist, Roy said: “I’m over the moon to receive a nomination in recognition of my coaches, volunteers, the parents, and our members. We all work together to make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the sport. We thoroughly enjoy what we do, and my mission is to train other coaches, getting them qualified to carry on with this important work because in the future, I know this project will go on and on thanks to their commitment. Without the help over these years from The National Lottery, Sport Wales, and the Welsh Judo Association, we might not have succeeded so far.”

Brian Valentine and Roy Court
Brian Valentine (Left) and Roy Court (Right)

Sakinah Hussain – Exiles Together

Sakinah is inspiring young girls from the Muslim community in Newport to take up Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

With support from the Be Active Wales Fund, funded by the National Lottery, she has been working with Newport-based community group, 'Exiles Together' to deliver self-defence classes for over 50 young girls, encouraging them to reap the benefits of sport.

Last summer, the Newport teenager won a bronze medal as she became the first person from the Muslim community to represent Wales at the IMMAF Youth World Championships. 

Having initial problems when she started to wear her hijab, Sakinah soon realised that it didn't hinder her participation in sports. This inspired her to share her experiences and expertise with other girls from the same background to give them the confidence to get involved, too.

Thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist, Sakinah said: "I feel honoured to be nominated. It has always been my dream to teach my own classes, and to get more girls into martial arts. There is so much to be gained from doing a sport like MMA. I want to open the opportunity for everyone to participate."

Sakinah Hussain
Sakinah Hussain

What are the National Lottery Awards?

The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of the ordinary individuals and organisations who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding. This year, 3,780 people and projects throughout the UK were nominated for the Awards in recognition of their unwavering efforts to improve their community.

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