A Stafford student won the Young Activist award at the Youth Sport Trust's Young Changemaker Awards held on Wednesday 17 January 2024.
After being inspired by local 'Sport4All' School Games events, Oliver Dempsey, 10, joined Stoke Spitfires Wheelchair Basketball Club and has become a keen member of their junior team.
Oliver was instrumental in bringing wheelchair basketball to the School Games in the Stafford area and helped his local School Games Organiser Susie Stinton to plan the events, then coached, umpired, competed and most importantly inspired able and disabled people to enjoy a new sport and grow their understanding of inclusivity in sport, showcasing his commitment to breaking barriers and changing perceptions of disability sport.
Oliver continues to throw himself into sports leadership, becoming a ‘Playground Leader’, organising sports activities for younger children during lunchtime one day a week.
Upon receiving his award, Oliver said: “It feels amazing to win, I haven’t been to London before, and I was so excited for that because I’ve always wanted to go, and it’s been great to see the Tower Bridge.
“I love playing wheelchair basketball and I want to tell everyone in the world that wheelchair sports aren’t just for the disabled, it’s for non-wheelchair users too and it’s one of the most fun things that you’ll ever do.”
The Youth Sport Trust's Young Changemaker Awards recognise young people from across the UK and internationally who have worked alongside the charity to use the power of sport and play to make a real impactful change to their lives and the lives of others.
A host of sporting stars presented awards to the seven winners including seven-time Paralympic Champion Hannah Cockroft OBE, and Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew MBE who also co-founded the charity back in 1995, among a star-studded guest list.
Oliver received his award from practising NHS GP, television, radio and podcast broadcaster author, campaigner for wellbeing and Youth Sport Trust Ambassador, Dr Radha Modgil.
In response to Oliver’s story, Dr Radha said: “Science tells us that exercise is great for sleeping patterns and how we concentrate at school and learning and development but there are so many other skills to be gained; confidence, self-esteem, leadership, teamwork, social skills.
“Oliver is one of the heart-warming cases of children and young people finding confidence and a voice through sport that we really don’t place enough emphasis on.”
Find out more about each of the Young Changemaker Awards winners and watch their winners’ films on the Youth Sport Trust website.