Friday, November 16, 2018

Volunteer Coach has dedication to sport rewarded with sportscotland award

"Volunteering in sport saved my life as a young person struggling with mental health. It really gave me something positive to focus on."

An Inverness volunteer’s tireless work in sport has been recognised after she was named sportscotland’s Volunteer of the Year.

Kirsty Ewen, 27, volunteers at Inverness Swim Club, promotes swimming across the Highland region and has been a member of sportscotland’s Young People’s Sport Panel for the last two years. As she enters her 12th year as a volunteer she says all the hard work has been worth it, because sport has changed her life.

During school, Kirsty struggled with her mental health. Kirsty speak passionately on this subject and says that volunteering in sport saved her life, she has been determined to ensure anyone feeling in a similar position is not alone.

Kirsty crammed a lot into her two years on the Young People’s Sport Panel, jumping at every opportunity offered to her despite most engagements meaning significant travel. She presented at several events to large crowds, talking about her journey in sport and the key areas she is passionate about, female participation in sport and mental health.

After showing such dedication over many years, Kirsty’s passion for sport shows no sign of diminishing. She is as determined as ever to help young people improve themselves through sport.

She said: “I just love being able to help people. I really want to make a difference for other young people. Volunteering in sport saved my life as a young person struggling with mental health. It really gave me something positive to focus on.

“I know first-hand how life changing it can be, so the motivation was there to see if I could make a difference for someone else.

“Whether that is big or small, just to encourage them to be the best that they can be or get the most out of an opportunity, that really keeps me going.”

Kirsty picked up her award on an evening where inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from all over Scotland were celebrated across 13 categories for their significant contribution to sport over the past 12 months.

The sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2018, were held at Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday, November 15th where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland Chief Executive, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals. Our Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate individuals on their commitment to Scottish sport.

“Kirsty is a truly inspirational young person who I’ve gotten to know well during her time on the Young People’s Sport Panel. She shows tremendous commitment, dedication and enthusiasm for sport and the causes which are so close to her heart, she is a truly deserving winner of this award and I look forward to seeing what she goes on to do in her career.

“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers.”

At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in squash, wheelchair basketball, para swimming, badminton, rugby, judo, lawn bowls, swimming, football, athletics and boccia were recognised for the many hours they dedicate to helping others compete at the best level they can.