Catrina Lewis, our Outreach and Community Manager, received her employee of the year award at the Active Luton board meeting last week. It’s fitting that this year’s employee of the year has spearheaded an award-winning programme that’s made a huge difference to the lives of women across Luton.
Our Employee of the Year award is decided upon from the employees nominated for our ‘Going the Extra Mile’ award throughout the year by staff. Anyone across the organisation can nominate someone for going beyond the call of duty with exceptional service or dedication that goes above and beyond. Whether it’s a receptionist doing her utmost to give a customer what they want, or a member of the gym staff giving exemplary service to a gym newcomer- it can be anything that makes someone stand out from the crowd in the standard of work they do and the lengths they will go to.
Catrina started working at Active Luton as a community sports coach (athletics) working full time in primary and secondary schools as well as in the community developing grassroots participation, club participation and elite pathways. Catrina created the Luton high schools’ athletic cups and has even coached cricketer Monty Panasar! She has also taken athletic fitness sessions for Luton Town Football Club’s young academy players. She worked through various roles before her appointment as out Outreach and Communities Manager in 2013.
This is an important role for Active Luton as we strive to reach out to inactive people and ‘hard to reach’ groups to entice them into activities which both appeal and are accessible to them for the benefit of their health and wellbeing.
Over the years, Catrina has been involved in the KITs project to bring young men at risk of crime together to find a common bond and purpose through activities like football and basketball in neutral community settings to the Sport England-funded Sportivate and Doorstep Sports Club projects targeting inactive and/or disadvantaged 11-25 year olds in Luton.
In 2012 Catrina was instrumental in winning funding from Sport England to set up a women-only activity programme, ME TIME, to try to address the high levels of inactivity compared to national averages among women in Luton. The programme achieved its three year target for participant numbers within two years and Sport England invited us to submit an application for a further year’s funding which was recently granted. Currently well over 5,000 women have signed up and enjoy regular classes across Luton.
Catrina attributes the success of ME TIME to the dedication, passion, flexibility and sensitivity of her team of instructors, but she has undoubtedly been a major driving force. It was her team that nominated Catrina for her Going the Extra Mile Award for her extraordinary dedication and care as a manager – even following an emergency operation last year.
Even outside the workplace, it seems that Catrina finds time to win friends and influence people in the best possible way as our blog article entitled ‘Unsung Hero’ by University of Bedfordshire graduate and a former Stockwood Park Athletics Centre Athlete illustrates (link to Jayden’s blog).