THE man at the helm of a unique boxing project is in contention for the Community Award, sponsored by Bowman House, after proving a real knockout with people across Swindon in 2017.

Finalist Paul Rogers is the head coach of Scrappers Boxing Gym & Community Fitness Centre, which supported around 4,500 children and adults in the town during the year, many of whom have physical or learning difficulties or mental health problems.

Using boxing as a form of therapy, they benefit from social and personal development as well as improving their health, wellbeing and self-esteem.

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Now six years old, the project’s most recent achievement was the success of a Big Lottery grant application that enabled it to provide Agility and Fitness for All sessions for people with disabilities twice a week across a 12-month period.

In July, a successful Inclusive Boxing Showcase event was staged for participants to display their skills.

Also on the shortlist is Sam Bullas, who has made huge progress since taking over as community development officer for Swindon Wildcats in the Community three years ago.

Bullas, who also plays as a forward for the National Ice Hockey League team, has acquired charity status for the company and overseen a huge increase in sports participation and health education across Swindon.

The charity now works with more than 18,000 people every year and many of the wide-ranging list of programmes on offer were created and implemented by Bullas, who has also seen several funding bids through to fruition.

Swindon Wildcats in the Community aims to tackle the high levels of social, financial and educational deprivation in many of the town’s wards through its activities and Bullas’ exceptional level of enthusiasm and commitment to his role has been a real driving force in providing opportunities for all.

Active Trowbridge has also secured a place among our finalists following its most successful year to date.

Its aim is to encourage a more active community in the county town and it staged a free Active Festival that provided an audience of more than 12,000 with access to sports clubs and organisations.

The people of the town were given the chance to try an activity they might not previously have considered – with a range including football, dance and tennis on offer – while clubs were able to promote themselves to potential new members.

The year also saw a wider rollout of Active Trowbridge’s community sport roadshows, which took in seven areas of the town during the summer holidays and engaged  12,000 participants in sports such as cricket, rounders, tri-golf and tag rugby.

Active Trowbridge also worked with the Lawn Tennis Association to redevelop facilities in the town park, delivering four new courts – three for tennis and one multi-sport.

The 2017 Wiltshire Sports Awards, set up by the Swindon Advertiser, Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times in conjunction with Wiltshire & Swindon Sport (WASP).

Newsquest Wiltshire group sports editor Owen Houlihan, WASP CEO Steve Boocock and 1968 Olympic 400m hurdles champion David Hemery will meet in January to decide the award winners.

All the winners will be announced at the Corn Exchange celebration ceremony at the end of January, which will include an audience with 1985 World Snooker champion and now-television commentator Dennis Taylor, who will be guest speaker.

The evening will be a celebration of all of the winners for all of the categories, and tickets are available priced at £15 per adult and £9 per child, to include a buffet.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Ian Parker on 01793 501731 or email