A young coach from Bow who volunteers with Tower Hamlets project Social Organisation for Unity and Leisure (SOUL) described their nomination for a London Sport Award as a dream come true.

Salim Miah volunteers as an Under-14 football coach having joined SOUL as a 12-year-old. SOUL, who have been shortlisted for The Community Impact Award, in association with GameDay, received the nomination for their work to help the Tower Hamlets community through sport, education and leadership programmes.

And the 22-year-old, who will discover if SOUL is a winner at an eagerly-anticipated awards ceremony at the historic Guildhall on December 6, said: “As a group, I feel as if we've been excellent.

“We've been doing what we've been doing and there are bigger and better things to happen. 

“This club has been a part of my life since the age of 12 – we were just a normal football team playing and attracting local boys and have grown to become an organisation that's helping people in need and bringing the community together.

“People that don't get to participate in sports, people that don't get to go on trips, we give that opportunity for kids and just seeing us as a club excel to bigger and better things is something that we were waiting and dreaming for it to come true.”

Over the last five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, has grown to become the biggest celebration of grassroots and community physical activity and sport in the city. 

And this year’s showpiece event will once again recognise, celebrate and shine a light on the stories of  incredible individuals, groups and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital, helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.

SOUL was founded in 2003 and continued its work during the pandemic moving its sports programme, which typically involved weekly football sessions, online and providing advice and guidance to over 100 people a month.

They also ran an emergency food programme providing food to over 5000 vulnerable families and provided activity packs to children to keep them engaged.

Their commitment to supporting both the physical and mental achievements of their members is clear from Miah – who has gone on to become a teacher at Stepney All Saints School.

Miah added: “In our summer camps, we have over 100 kids participate.

“During their summer period, they can go enjoy the sun and go out with family, but they want to be here because they know as a collective we give them something that not many people or organisations can give them.

“There are so many things that we set up for them, which they can take out into their day-to-day lives and they implement everywhere we go. 

“A lot of these kids, I teach them in school as well, so I see them outside of the coaching aspect and inside of school – they've just excelled as students.”

The London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, shines a spotlight on the unsung community heroes helping Londoners of all backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and sport. Find out more about the Awards and how London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world at http://www.londonsport.org #MakeYourMark