Head of Instructor Development joins the judging panel

EMD UK is proud to be once again sponsoring the Community Fitness Awards, brought to you by Community Fitness Network, which are now in their sixth year.

Ahead of the Awards, which take place on Saturday, 13 November in Tyne and Wear, we caught up with CFN’s founder, Claire Goodliff, to find out what inspired her.

Claire started out as a Latin and ballroom dancer before moving into the world of entertainment, running events which included her providing entertainment using stilts, fire breathing and angle grinding (which produces a magnificent shower of sparks) although not all three at the same time!

Claire had previously taken an Exercise to Music qualification (now Group Training to Music) at college.  It wasn’t until she was in Las Vegas that she came across a Zumbathon taking place at The Venetian Hotel that she was inspired to use her experience and training to create a similar convention for both instructors and their class participants.  This now takes place every year at Ribby Hall Village and it is hoped that this year will attract similar numbers that it had pre-Covid.

Following the success of the conventions, Claire recognised that while many participants had barriers to attending classes, instructors themselves also had barriers.  She wanted a more permanent space focussed on supporting group exercise instructors working at grass roots level in the community and so Community Fitness Network was set up.

It then seemed a natural progression to create an Awards event geared towards operators as there was nothing similar at the time.  The event had run successfully since 2015, people enjoyed getting together and networking, they were recognised for their success and for the positive impact they have on people’s lives, and the event itself raised funds for the various community projects set up by CFN.

When last year’s live Awards event could not go ahead, Claire and her team drew on their creativity and were able to hold the Awards on Zoom.  Compered by Claire and complete with DJ, they even had people in various parts of the country ready to present Awards to the winners.  This year, the team are looking forward to the live event but also have places available for anyone wanting to join virtually, where the tickets also include snacks for two!

While like for so many others, the months of the pandemic have been very difficult, Claire had the opportunity to work on a project to help schools develop more links with the community.  The team at CFN also work on projects such as Neck of the Woods which aims to bring wider fitness opportunities to care homes, and it is hoped that eventually that opportunity can be ‘prescribed’ by health services.

When asked what she was most proud of, Claire tells us that it was seeing instructors who were thrust into an unknown situation able to ‘pivot’ by learning new skills and greater resilience to keep their businesses going.  ‘It was good to see instructors realise how much they are capable of to make a real impact for people in the community.’ Claire added.

As well as sponsoring the Awards, EMD UK’s Head of Instructor Development, Sue Wilkie, is a member of the judging panel.  ‘It’s a privilege to be asked to be on the judges panel this year, to celebrate the achievements of the instructors and brands who have pivoted their businesses during the pandemic.’

‘Instructors have inspired even more of the nation to get fit during the months of lockdown and are still fighting to get the nation active, as they always have. CFN’s awards allows us to celebrate their successes’ Sue added.

You can buy tickets for the Awards, combine them with Project Fit (a full day of classes created to celebrate group exercise and community fitness) or purchase virtual tickets, complete with snacks, here