As Commonwealth Day is celebrated around the world today, with the theme of ‘Year of Youth’, we focus on two Team Scotland athletes leading social change through the power of sport.
Four-time Commonwealth Games swimming medallist, Hannah Miley, and Team Scotland’s athlete of the Games with gold and silver on the track at Birmingham 2022, Eilish McColgan, have both been awarded a Game Changer Grant from the Commonwealth Sport Foundation to boost the impact of projects they have set up to benefit young people.
Gold medallist in the 400m IM at both Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014, Hannah Miley is using her experiences in sport to better inform young people about menstrual health through her project Typically 28.
It’s all about breaking down barriers and opening up conversations to properly discuss female health and menstruation and how female athletes can better support themselves in sport and life out with sport. She aims to make education more accessible and interesting and hopes the project will also inform coaches, helping to retain more female athletes in sport.
With Games Changer Grant support covering some of the programme costs, workshops can be delivered to a wider audience and one future aim is to train other athletes deliver the workshops, allowing them to share their own personal story. Not only expanding the project to reach more young people, this will offer a fantastic opportunity for athletes nearing retirement to work with different sports, build their skill set and boost their confidence when looking at life after competitive sport.
Having achieved one of the most memorable performances of the Birmingham 2022 Games with her gold in the 10,000m, Eilish McColgan has also been awarded Game Changers Grant support to help expand her Giving Back to Track initiative, which is breaking down barriers to involvement in grassroots athletics and supporting female athletes in reaching their goals.
Through the Giving Back to Track initiative, Eilish is currently supporting a small group of female athletes age 16-22 through a scholarship programme, supporting a further six athletes with a travel and training grant and supporting two female coaches achieve qualifications through her Inspire Female Coaching Grant.
She is also making a difference in grassroots athletics in her hometown of Dundee. A free after school club has been up and running across two schools in since October, with the project also providing bursaries at her own athletics club Dundee Hawkhill Harriers to cover track and club fees.
Not only is the project removing barriers to kids starting athletics, two young athletes from Dundee Hawkhill Harriers are gaining valuable experience in athletics coaching, being supported in running the club. The Game Changer Grant will allow the project to expand to further clubs in Dundee, and longer term to cities across Scotland.
Launched in July 2020, Game Changers is a grant initiative funded by the Commonwealth Sport Foundation. Using the power of sport and the shared values of the Commonwealth, Game Changers seeks to help establish the Commonwealth Movement as progressive leaders in social change to unleash our human potential and transform lives.