LSPAA Winner Profile - Chris Duncan
Chris Duncan won the Influencer Award, sponsored by Chestnut Homes, at the Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards 2022.
The Influencer award recognises an individual who has inspired and influenced people in Lincolnshire to become more active through digital or social media behavioural campaigns, inspirational content shared on their own social media channel, or delivery of innovative online content.
Chris Duncan is a local wellbeing coach who presents short 'Walk & Talk' sessions on YouTube, that help support people with their health and wellbeing and improving their mental health. He also works as Regional Community Wellbeing Manager for Everyone Active. Chris has also been a pivotal influencer in merging community stakeholders to form a collaboration with the Local Neighbourhood Team to create a new way of working that meets the needs of the local community.
We spoke to Chris to find out more about what inspires him, his biggest successes and achievements as well as his plans for 2023.
Why do you feel it is important to promote and encourage physical activity?
Being active has so many benefits, and it’s not just the physical, but mental and social wellbeing too. Physical activity brings people together, we talk and engage, which develops confidence, self-esteem, as well as cognitive and improved sleep. As we age, we want to age healthily, and by doing more and moving more it will help limit the risk of long-term health conditions, both physically and mentally.
You often promote the benefits of physical activity to mental health can you explain the benefits that being physically active can have on mental wellbeing?
It helps stimulate our hormonal activity such as endorphins and dopamine, but also helps regulate and reduce cortisol levels, which stress induces. This makes us feel good, keeps us alert during the day, and increases energy levels. Doing this provides us with confidence and self-esteem, which encourages us to socially engage with others, which is one of the most effective forms of therapy. Being active helps with our quality of sleep, and ensuring our rest and recovery is sufficient enough for cognitive and physical development.
What do you enjoy most about working in community sport and physical activity?
People!! It's people that make this sector work, from colleagues, stakeholders, partnerships, clients and customers, everyone brings something positive to the experiences we create.
I love making a difference, being able to support someone achieve something, which enhances not just their health and wellbeing, but their potential in life.
I feel that post pandemic we are working much more collaboratively as a sector, and more importantly across other sectors, and understanding the value we all bring to our wellbeing.
What achievement are you most proud of over the last year?
There are so many things that I have directly and indirectly influenced working with others that I’m very proud of over the past year, and therefore it's very difficult to single out any one project. However, from a personal point of view, just realising and identifying what my own purpose is, how I can make a difference, and influence not just our partnerships but the general community makes me feel very proud, privileged, and grateful to be in this position! Getting my own confidence and self-esteem, and realising what’s important to be my ‘best self’ for the people I love, I work with and serve is my best achievement.
What does winning the LPSAA award mean to you?
Words are hard to find, but even 3 months on, I’m still buzzing! I think the message is that anyone can do this, everyone has the potential and right to be nominated for an award. It’s all part of my own personal journey, supporting our communities wellbeing, and I’m so grateful for the support and nominations I received for the award.
18 months ago, I had my own health challenges and so something like this was, at that time, so far away from being possible. The fact that my little boy Chester was there to see me achieve the award was just on another level. I have so much to thank my wife and family in achieving not just this award but who I am now.
Have you got any plans or projects coming up for 2023 that you’d like to share?
I’ve got loads! From warm space hubs, sport and talks and fit villages projects to active care homes programmes and youth group projects.
One that I’m particularly proud to support is the delivery of the Fighting Fit Cancer Rehab programme at West Lindsey Leisure Centre. The programme starting on the 15th February incorporates classes of low intensity movement with a social element to support participants on whatever their journey may be.
Hear from Chris Duncan, as well as Influencer award runner up, Harry Talbot, in this video made for the awards.
Thank you to Chestnut Homes for sponsoring the Influencer Award.