Inspirational Community Champions Vying for Top Award

August 13, 2019

Recognised for their extraordinary dedication to their local communities, three of Scotland’s top performing sporting initiatives have been named as finalists for Community Hub, Club or School of the Year at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards on 3 October.

Awarded to the Community Sport Hub, Club or School which has made the most progress and impact on their community over the last year, the award attracted dozens of nominations across a wide range of sporting pursuits and from every region of Scotland. Impressing the judges with their innovation and ambition, Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club, Edinburgh Athletics Club and St Madoes Active Sport Hub will now go head to head for the top award supported by Active Scotland.

Dundee Dragons offers participation, development and competitive opportunities for people with a disability, including wheelchair basketball and rugby league, badminton, tennis and curling. The variety of sports on offer gives opportunities for individuals to learn new skills, meet new people, increase confidence and improve health and fitness, as well as compete in local, national and international events. The club were finalists in both plate and cup competitions at the Rugby Football League Challenge Cup, the first Scottish club to do so. They have also had several members on international duty across several sports, Mike Mellon winning two silver and a bronze at the Invictus Games just one of the highlights. Coach development is also key with several club members taking on coach or team manager roles for Scotland and Great Britain teams at international events.

Working in partnership with Leisure and Culture Dundee, Dundee City Disability Sport and Perth & Kinross Disability Sport, the club supports the local community, providing taster sessions in local mainstream schools as well as bringing wheelchair sports to ASN schools in both Dundee and Perth. They have heavily supported the Scottish Disability Sport Parasport Festival in Tayside and the NHS Fit Club, where young people with a physical disability experience sport for the first time.

Dr Elizabeth Ferris, Chair of Dundee Dragons said: “We are honoured to be shortlisted in the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards. It’s a testament to the hard work of our players, coaches, parents and volunteers whose contribution to the Dragon’s family is immeasurable”

Edinburgh AC are one of the largest and most successful athletics clubs in Scotland and the United Kingdom – they have over 560 athlete members and 85 active volunteers. With their main training base closed for major refurbishment, the Club have overcome the challenges of being split across multiple temporary training venues and continued to strive forward and develop. The club’s membership has grown by a further 12%, in the last 12 months, with new satellite sections being established, helping to engage a waiting list of almost 100 young athletes and providing regular links to schools.

At the European Athletics Championships in August 2018, Edinburgh AC had a phenomenal five athletes representing Great Britain and over the last 12 months the club have had 13 different athletes representing Great Britain, 33 athletes representing Scotland and club athletes setting 10 National records. The senior women’s team currently compete in the premier division of the UK Women’s League, the only Scottish club to do so, and at junior level the club reached UK finals in both U13 & U15 and U17 & U20 age groups. The club’s athlete membership is inclusive and consists of a large proportion of female athletes, athletes with a disability, involves members from diverse communities across Edinburgh and athletes from aged nine to over 80 years old. To deliver this programme the club have 50 active coaches and over 30 active officials – the largest contingent of any club in Scotland.

Gary Leek, Head of Communications at Edinburgh Athletics Club said:, “To be a finalist in the Team Scotland Awards is a proud moment for the club which has pulled together, working hard led by a great team of volunteers, the board, coaches, officials, sub group leaders and families. Together Everyone Achieves More and this has proven to be the club’s successful formula. For athletics to be up at the very pinnacle with other sports in Scotland is a huge achievement and the future is looking very bright from playground to podium at Edinburgh Athletic Club. We thank everyone for their continued support.”

St Madoes Active Sports Hub has grown rapidly since its inception in September 2017, now providing preschool classes, daily after-school sports, classes for teens, daytime classes for older adults, fitness & sports classes and mums’ return to exercise activities for over 400 participants a week. The Hub builds sport and fitness into many social and community groups and provides opportunities to the local community not available before. They have provided the first pre-school sport activities in the area, have over 60 participants age 70 or older taking part weekly and have introduced table tennis and other activities into their support group for people with Alzheimer’s. A Boccia group has also been formed this year and now has a thriving membership of all ages, with both able bodied and people with varied disabilities attending

Development of participants’ skills and the skills of volunteers is a key part of the Hub, with volunteers completing a wide range of coaching and leadership qualifications. Young volunteers are encouraged to develop with many regularly coaching and 25 young people engaged in the organisation of four community sport events. The Hub also has strong partnerships with Perth & Kinross Council, sportscotland, Live Active and local primary schools, with individuals regularly referred to the Hub through Council or NHS employees.

Anthea Bircham, Community Development Coordinator at St Madoes Active Sports Hub said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted because we want to celebrate the achievements of our participants, without the hub they wouldn’t have taken part in sport. As numbers have increased, we have seen those who are involved grow in both fitness and confidence. We are proud of our ability to include people of all ages and we love to see people overcoming barriers and taking part together. We want to acknowledge our dedicated partners who work with us to make a programme with ‘something for everyone’ possible.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chair, Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “Community Hubs, clubs and schools sit right at the heart of Scottish sport, hugely benefiting their local communities in terms of health and well-being as well as providing a clear path into recreational and competitive sport. The phenomenal dedication of our finalists to their communities deserves recognition and they should be rightly proud of their achievements over the past year.”

The Community Hub, Club or School of the Year award is supported by The Scottish Government’s Active Scotland Division, whose aims include encouraging and enabling an active lifestyle for all, supporting well-being and resilience in communities and improving opportunities to participate, progress and achieve in sport.

Winners across all categories will be crowned at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards in a star-studded celebration of Scottish sport on 3 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

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