Active Change Award Finalists
Proudly sponsored by Skegness Gateway
The Active Change Award celebrates an individual in Lincolnshire who has used sport or any form of physical activity to positively transform their life and who has shown continued commitment and dedication to personal change and growth.
James has made dramatic improvements to his physical and mental health through physical activity, battling depression and weight issues, he has shown great determination to start cycling and get involved with triathlon.
James Bayley in his own words has always been 'a large lad'. At secondary school he was 25 plus stone, constantly bullied about his weight and never interested in sport. In fact he would do his upmost to avoid PE or any physical exercise. Having a father who was very ill when James was growing up, combined with constant bullying, meant James was in a vicious cycle of comfort eating to absolute excess. At his heaviest James was 33 stone suffering fainting, Diabetes, and in fear of his life - the doctors stepped in stating that James may not live beyond his 30th birthday without significant change.
James bought a bike and starting with a single mile then 2 miles James kept going until he could achieve 30 miles. From a weight of 33 stone James had gone all the way down to 15 stone. Moving to Louth was significant step in his journey, as he connected with Louth Tri club. After just a few sessions James instantly felt comfortable, and he went from strength to strength. He is now physically stronger, mentally more robust and his confidence is growing. Over these past 12 months James has swum consistently, run a half marathon and in May this year completed his very first 70.3 (70 mile triathlon) at Outlaw Half in Nottingham, using all his determination to cross the line.
In his own words “Outlaw Half has been a massive challenge for me, but I had the motivation and support needed. To have a set plan and support group meant that I could keep going”
Samantha has made incredible changes to her health and wellbeing over the last few years, which she has continued over the last 12 months. In 2022, Sam signed up to One You Lincolnshire’s Miles Better challenge, which was offered to all Lincolnshire County Council employees. Taking part in this helped motivate Sam to start building in regular exercise to her routine. Sam also encouraged others in her team to get involved and arranged activities outside of work hours that helped contribute towards the team’s mileage total. In January 2023, Sam again signed up to the Miles Better challenge, along with five other colleagues. This year, her team, 'Cruising Not Losing', were rewarded for being the winning team that covered the most distance and scored the most points. Sam was also recognised for being the biggest blog influencer, for her willingness to share her health journey in a blog piece.
In February 2023, Sam signed up as one of the first LCC Health & Wellbeing Champions. Those selected for this role demonstrated that they are positive role models in relation to being healthy and physically active and have the skills to support and encourage others to get involved in the workplace wellbeing offers.
Sam has managed to sustain her active lifestyle by doing lots of walking, an activity that she has found has helped to boost her mental health. Achievements this year include completing the Scarborough castle to Whitby Abbey walk 25 miles in 9hrs, and climbing Scarfell in the lakes on her own.
"I joined a walking group and regularly plan activity walks to push my boundaries and limits to see what I can achieve. I didn't wake up one day and start this regime of activity it has been a gradual process where I have fallen in love with walking and being active and I am so much more in tune with my body and mind."
Limi was referred via her GP to Better Gym Sleaford's exercise on referral programme to begin exercising again post covid, as she wanted to lose weight and increase her fitness. Limi's fitness journey had been on and off over the years depending on how her disability had progressed. Limi felt nervous about attending the gym environment, fearing that she'd be surrounded by perfect bodies and as she had a disability she didn't believe this place was for her, but she overcame these fears and did it anyway.
Through consistency and overcoming her fear of the gym, Limi has improved her fitness and control of her body, and has also improved her mental wellbeing by getting out of the house and meeting people. She feels empowered that she is taking control of her body. With her disability, Limi can fall over a lot, but the physical benefit of exercising has given her better awareness of her muscles which means when she stumbles she can stop herself from falling
"Going to the gym has made me love my body for the first time. Exercise is no longer a chore but a celebration of what my body can do. The psychological paradigm shift has been profound. Celebrating and accepting my body has opened other habits including cleaner eating, meditation, better mental health, mindfulness and purchasing an off road wheelchair to explore nature.
I have been consistently going to the gym since last year and for the first time in my life when managing my mental health and disability, I’m in control."