Eloise Moller, our Head of Sport & Health was named This Girl Can Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year last night at a glitzy award ceremony in London, after topping the public vote. 

The Sunday Times This Girl Can Award celebrates women who are organising grassroots sports and activities. Eloise won the award for her incredible work on our Sport Project, which works to improve the lives of Londoners experiencing homelessness through sport and physical activity. 

Speaking after her win, Eloise gave thanks to everyone who had contributed to the project’s incredible success. 

"It’s amazing recognition for all our clients who participate in the Sport Project as well as our dedicated Sport team who run all the sessions on the ground. 

 "Our clients gain so much from the sessions. It’s not just about the sport or a way to improve their health. The sessions bring a social element to their lives, an escape from everyday stresses and helps them build positive relationships with other Londoners. 

“By taking part, our clients see benefits in all areas of their life, engaging more with their key workers, growing their skills, looking after their wellbeing and getting back into employment or education. 

"This award is for everyone who takes part and uses sport to improve their lives and turn their circumstances around.” 

The Sport Project 

Eloise has spent the last five years developing our Sport Project from scratch, improving our clients’ access to and engagement in physical activity. 

People facing homelessness have historically had little engagement in physical activity due to facing multiple barriers when accessing sport. These include financial constraints, digital exclusion, no access to clothing and equipment, low self-esteem and confidence, stigma and assumptions made about them not wanting to access sport. 

The team has established in-house gyms at our services and provides a range of accessible sessions, from aerobics and yoga sessions to bicycle maintenance to boxing.  

In making physical activity accessible, we have debunked the myth that people experiencing homelessness aren’t interested in or can’t do sport, or don’t care about the state of their own health. We have dramatically improved peoples’ physical and mental health, social relationships and overall quality of life. 

Work with women 

Over the last year, Eloise has introduced a women-specific area of the project, ensuring that the benefits of physical activity can reach everyone, no matter their gender. 

By introducing women-only sessions in safe spaces with trauma-informed female instructors, we have seen an 86 per cent increase in female participants in the project. 

Jo Sayer, Sport England's Strategic Lead for Communications, said it was a pleasure to see Eloise honoured at the awards ceremony. 

"Eloise has helped scores of people that are experiencing homelessness to get involved with sport, allowing them to feel a sense of normality while meeting new people and having fun. 

"The sport sessions have also been a gateway to conversations about health and have opened up opportunities for life-enhancing wraparound care to be provided.” 

Find out more about our Sport Project here.