Dumfries & Galloway Coaching Awards 2016

The Dumfries and Galloway Council organised Coaching Awards (in partnership with sportscotland) provide the opportunity to thank coaches for their dedication to their chosen sport and recognise their achievements. The aim of the awards is to celebrate and raise the profile of the fantastic work being done within Dumfries and Galloway and recognise the contribution and value of these coaches and volunteers.

The sporting community across Dumfries and Galloway including Sport Council’s and Clubs were asked to promote the awards. Subsequently, the awards attracted a good number and standard of nominations from across Dumfries and Galloway and provided the panel of judges with some real debate when selecting winners.

This year there were 9 Coaching Award winners in the following categories: Young Person’s Coaching of the Year; Community Coach of the Year; Development Coach of the Year; Performance Coach of the Year; Young Coach of the Year; Disability Coach of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Young Volunteer of the Year (Under 25 years) and Volunteer of the Year (over 25 years). All category winners detailed below.

All regional award winners have been automatically entered into the sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards 2016 with a further chance for entry into the UK coaching awards later in the year.

Chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Children, Young People and Lifelong Learning Committee, Councillor Jeff Leaver said;
“These awards show what committed coaches and volunteers we are fortunate to have within Dumfries and Galloway and these awards help to raise their profile showing how valuable they are to clubs, schools and sport in our area. Well done to all the winners on the night – please keep up the invaluable dedication and hard work.”

Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25 years)
Jane Stewart and Nicole Barlow (joint nomination)

In the past year, Nicole and Jane have demonstrated real commitment in developing their chosen sport of rugby. They epitomise the concept of ‘team’ on and off the field, hence the nomination. As well as nurturing the rugby talent of tomorrow and producing tangible results on the field, the girls are both active members of the committee and are always the first to volunteer with anything from assisting with fundraising events and collecting youth subs to pre-season maintenance work at Violetbank.

Nicole and Jane are the first people that the micros, and potential senior players of the future at Annan Rugby, come into contact with. They not only help them take their first steps in rugby, but into team sport. The fact that the girls regularly have 25 kids turning out on a pouring wet Friday night (and that their parents encourage this) is testament to the positive experience these kids have. With only one full season under their belt, numbers have more than doubled. Not only does this benefit the individuals by the enjoyment they get from their first endeavour into sport, it creates a pathway into the next stage of dev elopement, and ultimately secures the future of the club and grass roots sport / rugby.

Annan Rugby has just finished a phenomenal season and with coaches like Nicole and Jane, the future of the club, and rugby as an inclusive sport for all, truly is in safe hands.

Young Coach of the Year
Mairi Gordon

Mairi is the Modern Apprentice sports coach working with the Nithsdale Active School and Community Sport team. Mairi delivers various sporting and physical activity sessions throughout nursery, primary and secondary school and community settings within Nithsdale. Sports and activities which Mairi delivers include balance bikes, fundamentals, athletics, dance, hockey, orienteering, netball, baton twirling, cricket, tennis, table tennis and badminton where she has helped develop pathways by ensuring the children have a fun experience and supplying them with information about progression to local activities and clubs.

Mairi has volunteered for baton twirling club for the past 2 years working with various different levels of participant. She has coached 3 – 17 year olds working on displays with younger children and training for European and World Championships with the older children. Being an ex-baton twirler herself at the top level, this has allowed Mairi to understand and help younger athletes reach their full potential where she provide support, advice and enthusiasm.

All programme and sessions with Mairi are in a fun, safe and nurturing environment to ensure the best opportunities for the children to develop to their highest potential. She has been an inspiration to the girls in upper primary and secondary in the process of keeping them engaged with sport and physical activity in Nithsdale.

Volunteer of the Year – Over 25 years
Mark Buchanan

Mark is the Captain and Coach at Nithsdale Amateur Rowing Club in a completely voluntary role, concentrating on the members aged 12-18 at racing level, along with some racing seniors, totalling around 20 athletes. During regatta season, Mark’s commitment to the club and athletes escalates, organising and submitting entries, organising fees, managing loading boats and equipment onto the trailer and co-ordinating volunteers and athletes. Regattas often take 12 hours out of Mark’s day and some regattas can span 2 days. He organises athletes ensuring racing rules are followed, teaching them responsibility and providing encouragement which is a substantial job for a single volunteer.

Mark expects discipline, hard work and good behaviour from his athletes and pushes them to be the best that they can be. With a great sense of humour, Mark is well respected by the athletes with them wanting to improve because of him. Mark works extraordinarily hard to provide a safe and fun setting for all athletes. It is safe to say that NARC would struggle to be the successful club that it is if it was not for the countless hours that Mark voluntarily commits to coaching the athletes (primarily under 18s) and the overall management of Nithsdale Amateur Rowing Club which benefits all junior and senior athletes.

Development Coach of the Year
Cameron Little

Cammy is the Head Junior Coach, Senior Team Captain and Coach as well as actively playing with the senior team weekly. If he is not lining the pitch, washing the senior kit then he is putting up shelves, distributing posters or emptying bins to name but a few tasks he undertakes.

Cammy regularly attends coaching workshops and development meetings for rugby and has firm links with several clubs regionally. He studies training plans from top level rugby clubs as well as old school ideas to help enhance his own style of coaching. He is currently passing his coaching skills onto new junior coaches as well as helping re-train current coaches to the new laws as well as providing them with the materials they need to improve their skills set.

His hard work is paying off in the clubs development structure as some of the first juniors he coached are now playing within the senior team and has a healthy number due to join in the next few months. One of the juniors Cammy coached has just become Scottish Rugby Unions first ever Modern Apprentice and will be back at the club working under Cammy’s guidance.

Although he is not working alone I think everyone will agree that he is definitely constantly going above and beyond everyone else to ensure the club is growing, moving forward and delivering rugby to as many people as possible. His commitment level is second to none and he is certainly an amazing ambassador for rugby and coaching.

Disability Coach of the Year / Performance Coach of the Year
Andrea Manson

Andrea coaches the weekly disability swimming session in Annan and has done for the last 10 years. Andrea also supports the other disability swimming sessions throughout the region including the Dumfries Splash Club, attending monthly to support and mentor the coaches and the swimmers of the regional Dumfries & Galloway swim squad. In addition to weekly coaching Andrea supports the team at numerous local, regional and national swimming events and national championships. In addition to her coaching commitment Andrea is also a member of the local Annandale & Eskdale Disability Sport Committee, the regional Dumfries & Galloway Disability Sport committee and the national Special Olympics Scotland committee, attending monthly meetings and organising and supporting numerous fundraising and social events.

Andrea’s commitment, enthusiasm and drive to improve and develop disability swimming in our region over the last 10 years is outstanding and this passion has led her onto being asked to be the GB Head Coach for the British Downs Syndrome Swimming Team, taking up this role in October 2015. As well as her huge time commitment to the development of local swimming Andrea now spends numerous weekends away from home to support the GB team with several training weekends per year held all over the UK. She led the extremely successful GB team to success at the Europeans Championships in Italy where the team finished 2nd in the medal table.

Andrea is such a friendly, outgoing and fun coach, who has the passion, dedication and patience for all the athletes, families and team members. The athletes and families love her personality, her coaching methods and techniques to motivate and inspire people with a learning disability. Andrea coaches all ages and abilities from the local weekly swimming club right through to the GB squad, she knows the importance of working with all individuals from those who are just learning to swim right through to other end – the elite. Andrea is involved at all levels – local, regional, national and international.

Andrea works full time in a high demanding job but nonetheless she gives up so much of her own personal time to support these athletes and is always away from one end of the country (or other countries!) to the other . . . . . her poor husband hardly sees her! Andreas reward is she loves to work with these athletes and always wants to get the best from them all.

Community Coach of the Year
Mike McMillin

Mike has coached tennis across Annandale and Eskdale since 2009 within schools, clubs and the wider community. In his time coaching he has developed the game of tennis by inspiring and engaging thousands of children to take try the game.

As Mike has his own business in coaching Tennis he should be commended for the time and commitment he undertakes to volunteer his time to engage with schools, additional support needs units and the wider community to deliver the game of Tennis.

Mike has managed to develop two new thriving community based Tennis clubs that has seen the numbers attending each club grow year on year.

Many schools have seen Mike volunteer his time to deliver courses that help young adults learn the coaching skills needed to then volunteer their time to local primary school aged pupils in their school cluster.

Young Person’s Coach of the Year
Andrea Haggarty

Andrea takes weekly Netball sessions at both Cargenbridge and St Ninian’s Primary School all year round. Andrea has a driven passion to develop the sport of Netball across all ages but shines in the primary sector where she is a true ambassador and role model for Netball. Andrea is a very enthusiastic, reliable and committed coach who inspires girls to participate in sport. There has been a notable increase in self-confidence and ambition with the girls she has worked with in North West Dumfries.

Andrea referee’s and umpires at our weekly Netball friendly sessions at the DKAC which runs over a 4 month period and assists with group sessions in North West Dumfries, getting girls together to play netball.

Andrea has played a huge role in the increase of Netball activity across Nithsdale in the last 4 years, notably in primary schools where she has increased the number of schools participating.

Andrea always makes the time to support and encourage new coaches into netball and shows excellent leadership and mentoring skills in doing so. Working in partnership with the Active Schools and Community Sport team, Andrea is assisting with a new Netball League for 2016-17 offering the schools opportunities for ‘game play’ throughout the year. In doing so Andrea is offering all schools a free coaching session.

Lifetime Achievement
Alan Robertson

As Annan Rugby’s ‘unofficial’ official photographer, Alan ‘Diet Irn Bru’ Robertson attends the vast majority of fixtures, both home and away, taking literally thousands of photographs in all weathers. The fruits of his labour are obvious to anyone who follows Annan Rugby’s social media pages with 90% of the content provided by Alan. In addition to capturing play on film, Alan relays scores and snippets to his son Gus, who posts live updates on the website, Facebook and Twitter. Alan also takes responsibility for providing the local newspaper with match reports.

Alan is not only concerned with activity on the field. He recently met a group of senior players at Murrayfield at 4am to photograph the kick off of the ‘Longest Try’, a fundraising event where players ran in relay between Edinburgh and Annan. This took some 12 hours and Alan was one of only 3 people who stayed with the runners for the duration.

Alan Robertson moved to Annan in 1975 and joined club as player. He became more heavily involved almost immediately, joining the committee in 1976. In 1977 he was elected Club Secretary. A position he held until 1983. That same year he became Club Vice President for a year before taking over the mantel of Club President between 1984 and 1999, serving a continuous 22 years as an executive committee member. He then stepped down as an office bearer for a brief time, returning as Club Vice President in 2005 until 2007.

Alan was made Honorary President 2011.

Around 1995-96 the committee decided that Annan RFC needed a home of its own, having played until then on the public field at the Everholm. The proximity of the pitch to the river meant that fixtures were regularly postponed due to flooding. Alan, President and Ronnie Anderson, Vice President were tasked with looking into the feasibility of the project. Once a site was found (courtesy of Hoddam and Kinmount Estates) Ronnie looked into the funding sources available and Alan took on the responsibility for designing the development and costing the proposals. Once the design was approved by the committee, the work was put out to tender.

The project was awarded to local contractors for the new build and preparation of the pitches etc. The rest is history as they say and the Violetbank Development (The Field of Dreams) was officially opened in August 1999. Off the record, Alan said that the opening of Violetbank was the proudest day of his life (but don’t tell his wife Gina!).

Alan, and his son Gus, have recently been recognised by Annan Rugby for their years of service. In September an ex players’ day is to be held in their honour. The day culminated with the two officially opening the newly named ‘Robertson Lounge’ at Violetbank.

The contribution Alan has made, and continues to make is immeasurable. His genuine passion for the game and the club surely makes him one of Annan – and Scottish Rugby’s – most valued volunteers.

Volunteer of the year over 25
Maitland Pollock

Maitland has been a member of Lochmaben Golf Club for many years not only as a member but also serving as office bearer and on the committee. He has encouraged and enthused youngsters by providing coaching opportunities over the past 13 years and in that time has gained his level 3 qualification which is an achievement in itself, as there are only around 8 level 3 golf coaches in Scotland who do not have professional status. Maitland voluntarily coaches at Lochmaben Golf Club, in schools, after schools programmes and the local authorities’ award winning Sports Academy programmes across Annandale & Eskdale. He has been responsible for the thriving junior golf programme not only at Lochmaben Golf Club but at other clubs through his work with Active Schools and Community Sport. He has created strong and extensive links with local schools. Maitland also voluntarily assists with junior coaching clinics at golf events supporting Scottish Golf with their development of junior golf. This has had enormous benefits not only for Lochmaben Golf Club but for the sport in general and through Maitland, the club has now an increasing junior membership and a sustainable future.

Without Maitland’s commitment and volunteer coaching, membership in the area clubs would without doubt be lower and golf in South West Scotland what not be in such a strong position. Nothing is ever too much for Maitland and he is a dedicated individual who loves golf and introducing young children and adults to the sport and this would be due recognition for his incredible effort and commitment over a long period.

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