A multi-academy trust which operates across Devon and Cornwall has been recognised with a national prize for their work to support children who have been excluded from school.

Wave Multi Academy Trust, based in St Austell, who have 11 alternative provision academies, won the Outstanding Inclusive Practice award at the Youth Sport Trust 2024 Conference Awards, sponsored by Sports Directory and The LEGO Group.

The award, sponsored by Sports Direct, acknowledges an alternative provision school that that has used sport and to re-engage young people, many of whom face varying complex challenges, in their education outside of a mainstream setting.

The Youth Sport Trust is the UK’s leading children’s charity improving every young person’s education and development through sport.

Chief executive Rob Gasson said: “We feel truly privileged tonight. We’re in such good company with fantastic schools and organisation who do incredible work.

“We feel proud to work with the Youth Sport Trust and the young people that we do.

“It’s a reflection of the hard work that all my colleagues put in but also the support we receive from this organisation hosting the event.

“We meet the needs of the most complex and challenging young people in society and believe that a healthy body is a healthy mind so that is reflected in our curriculum.”

Reigning heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson was also in attendance to recognise those who have gone above and beyond from across the country.

The 31-year-old also sat down for a keynote speaker session and shared advice and anecdotes from her athlete career.

She said: “It’s been a really great evening and event.

“Sport is what I do and how I’ve been brought up through youth development and all the competitions that I did through this organisation as a kid.

“It’s nice to be here and giving back and it’s great to hear so many inspiring stories.

“I don’t know who I am without sport and that came from PE lessons doing high jump when I was younger.

“From that young age, I found an identity through it where I was known for being good at something.”

More than 120 nominations were received from across the seven categories, and judging panels of experts reviewed the shortlisted entries to decide the finalists.

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver added: “There have been so many incredibly worthy nominees for the various awards.

“I’m so excited about all the innovation and tremendous practice that is going on across the country to build brighter futures for young people through the power of sport.”

The Youth Sport Trust Annual Conference Awards celebrate schools, settings, trusts, and individuals who, working alongside Youth Sport Trust, have made a real and impactful change to the lives of young people. Find out how the Youth Sport Trust is building brighter futures for children through sport and play. https://www.youthsporttrust.org/