London Sport Awards 2021 nominees: Inspirational Young Person of the Year - Elvire Mavusi Matu
A BARKING and Dagenham dancer who started classes to provide more opportunities and boost physical activity in her local area has been nominated in the prestigious London Sport Awards.
Elvire Mavusi Matu, 23, set up Konverse Dance Crew when she was just 14-years-old, hoping to create a place where people could express themselves and connect through dance.
She has been able to do so thanks to the support of the Barking Salvation Army, where she holds her classes, and has now been nominated for London Sport’s Inspirational Young Person of the Year, in assocation with BBC Radio London.
And Mavusi Matu said: “I started Konverse when I was 14-years-old because I felt that there needed to be an affordable dance space in my local borough. I just felt there wasn’t much to do in my local communities.
“To be nominated for a London Sport Award means the world to me. I have been doing this for such a long time and just to be recognised means so much because it’s showcasing the work I have done to benefit the local community.
“If the Salvation Army didn’t believe in what I could do and the impact I could make in the borough they wouldn’t have given me [space] or supported me to have this platform.
“Honestly, it means so much to me to be nominated for a London Sport Award.”
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 the incredible individuals, groups and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.
Barking and Dagenham is one of the most under-privileged areas in London.
And one of Mavusi Matu's motivations for starting Konverse was to provide an extra opportunity for people of all ages in the area to embrace.
And she added: “When I was 15 I formed the name Konverse dance crews as a platform for young people and adults to converse.
“It basically means to talk through dance or to express yourself through dance, and it gives them that kind of voice to be able to showcase their own dance moves and routines.
“In Barking and Dagenham, the borough I grew up in, there’s not much. It has one of the highest crime rates, highest teenage pregnancy rates. I feel like if I didn’t introduce this there would be one fewer place to go, and I feel like I’m on a mission to help my local community.
“It’s so important to have these classes running, because you’re staying fit in such a fun way. I think there’s a need for an affordable place to go where you’re getting physically fit, active, you’re meeting new friends.”