Community Recognition Awards 2023 | Caledonia Midlands region winners announced

Community Recognition Awards 2023 | Caledonia Midlands region winners announced

The 2023 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from the Caledonia Midlands region have today been announced following their presentation on Friday 17 March.

The Community Recognition Awards is Scottish Rugby’s annual domestic game awards programme, focusing on the on and off-field efforts of clubs and schools across Scotland over the course of the season.

Awards winners were announced for six categories including; Volunteer of the Season in Youth rugby sponsored by inspiresport, Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby sponsored by inspiresport, Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s Lager, Young Person’s Award sponsored by inspiresport, Community Club of the Season sponsored by Tennent’s Lager, and the Community Match Official of the Season.

Each winner was invited to attend the Scotland Men’s team run on Friday 17 March ahead of the Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy, to receive their award.

Scottish Rugby Regional Director for the Caledonia Midlands region, Steve Turnbull said: “The volunteers in our region are a credit not only to their clubs, schools and societies, but they are a credit to Scottish rugby as a whole.

“We’re extraordinarily proud of not just the winners, but everyone who was nominated. The commitment and passion that came through from the nomination submissions was truly inspirational.”

Scottish Rugby President, Colin Rigby added: “As we approach the end of the domestic season, it is really important that we recognise and share our gratitude to the countless volunteers within our sport who make what we do not only possible, but special, fun and enjoyable.

“We received hundreds of applications to the Community Recognition Awards this year, and I know it was a tough job for the Regional Panels to narrow it down to the winners, but it goes to show how many people in Scottish rugby are noticed and appreciated for all they do, and I for one cannot thank them enough.”

The respective award winners and nominees are listed below:

Community Club of the Season sponsored by Tennent’s Lager: Strathendrick RFC

For the past 12 months, Strathendrick RFC has been front and centre at the heart of the local community through fundraising and physical activity, leading them to receive the Community Club of the Season award for Caledonia Midlands.

Now the largest participation sports club in the Trossachs, the club runs 17 different age group teams, men’s teams and a women’s touch rugby team.

Working on collaboration with Balfron High School, the club have helped establish four new girls’ teams in the last 18 months alone, with the U16 side going on to win the Glasgow North Aspiring League in their first season.

To ensure maximum inclusion, the club have created a clothing exchange programme where people can donate, exchange and pick up boots or other kit they need to take part in rugby. The club fundraised over £600 to kick start the initiative and give young players a chance to access kit they need.

The kit-store has been extended include a food bank for members of the club who may need some additional support.

In the last year, the club has also dedicated a considerable amount of time fundraising for local causes. Since May 2022, the club has raised more than £28,000 for agriculture mental health charities and for specialist equipment for a former player who had been affected by a brain injury.

Volunteer of the Season in Youth rugby sponsored by inspiresport: Riley Taylor (Bo’ness RFC)

Riley Taylor has been a member of Bo’ness Rugby Club for over six years, and in that time has been described as “key to the club’s solid foundation in youth rugby”.

Following the competition of his coaching qualification, the 17-year-old is now helping to coach the younger children every Sunday morning.

When the S1-S6 boys’ coach moved on due to taking up a new job, Riley volunteered to step up as a coach to keep the training sessions going so that the boys could continue with training and keep up the momentum that had been built.

When Riley isn’t coaching and playing himself, he is also supporting his older brother Jackson, who has disability, engage in rugby with the Edinburgh Rugby Inclusive team.

Speaking about Riley, Lyndsay Porteous, a committee member of Bo’ness RFC said: “Riley is an incredible young person. He willingly volunteers his time to help others to give them a good rugby experience. The fact he does all of this whilst he studying and working part-time is very inspiring.

“Riley has great rapport with everyone at the club, he is friendly, approachable and encouraging of anyone who wants to play regardless of ability. Riley always puts others needs before his own and we are very fortunate that he is willing to spend his spare time ensuring that other children are given the opportunity to enjoy playing rugby. His supportive approach is hugely beneficial to players, their families, fellow coaches and volunteers at the club.”

Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby sponsored by inspiresport: Chris Jubb (Wallace High School)

Fresh from delivering a host of activity during Scottish Rugby Schools Week, Chris Jubb, P.E Teacher at Wallace High School picks up the Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby award.

Chris been described as the “driving force” behind the curricular and extra-curricular programme rugby programme at the school, and has played an integral role in creating one of the largest state school programmes in the Caledonia Midlands region, if not the country.

Those new to the game are introduced into a well organised and structured development programme which builds understanding and growth in rugby skills, terminology and most importantly confidence in contact.

This gradual development is also supported by a calendar of rugby fixtures, of which are contact and non-contact, for all boys and girls’ age groups against local and regional state and independent schools, all of which are coordinated orchestrated and organised by Chris.

Chris has also supported and encouraged senior pupils to complete their Introduction to Match Officiating course, and now regularly help to referee matches at the school.

Speaking about Chris, Head Teacher, Scott Pennock said: “Chris’ energy and drive appear limitless, as is the commitment and support he provides to pupils of all ages, ensuring each feels welcomed into the school rugby environment.

“Running at the heart of all this activity are the core values of the High School and those of Scottish Rugby, and you can see that transfer to pupil’s behaviour off the pitch too.

“Chris is a well-respected and inspirational leader and the impact he has at Wallace High School is immeasurable.”

Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s Lager: Harry Brown (Waid Academy FP)

Harry Brown has been named the Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby for his life-long loyalty and support of Waid Academy FP RFC.

Following his years as a tight-head prop, Harry has migrated his involvement at the Anstruther-based club to supporting with a range of tasks including pitch up set up, changing room set up and clean up, driving the coach for away games and supporting with fundraising events.

Speaking about Harry, 1XV Waid player, James Allen said: “Harry is entirely selfless, always giving up his time to make sure the jobs that no one wants to do are done. He’ll be the loudest supporter at the side-lines and never offers any harsh words, only constructive advice. He is the easiest man to talk to in the club and loyal to a tee.

“That kindness extends beyond Waid. He is always there to make sure the away team is welcomed and congratulated, and he typifies the values of rugby.”

Young Person’s Award sponsored by inspiresport: Mya Gear (Falkirk RFC)

Mya Gear of Falkirk RFC is this year’s recipient of the Young Person’s Award for the Caledonia Midlands region for her contribution as a coach and leader at the club.

Mya started at the club as a volunteer five years ago and has since progressed to support the club as a mini’s rugby coach. The 17-year-old now leads the delivery of sessions for P1 to P3 boys and girls, helping them not only develop their skills and confidence, in a fun and supportive environment.

Kerry Stanners, who coaches the mini’s alongside Mya said: “Mya is a great asset to Falkirk RFC. It quickly became clear she has a natural ability when it comes to coaching and working with children due to her empathetic nature. The young players she works with really look up to her.”

Community Match Official of the Season: Jason Roseweir (Dunfermline RFC/Midlands Referee Society)

 Jason Roseweir of Dunfermline RFC and the Midlands Referee Society has been named the Community Match Official of the Season for the Caledonia Midlands region.

Jason has been described by those who nominated him as someone who is “not only a professional on the pitch, he is a professional off the pitch”.

Jason has been a life-long lover of rugby and was inspired to pick up the whistle and completed his first Match Officiating course in 2018. Since then, he has gone on to referee for all ages in the male and female game across the region.

The father of one, has also been said to make his way is straight down to McKane Park to offer his services as an assistant referee on the days he hasn’t got an appointment in the middle, and also regularly offers to cover friendly fixtures.

Jason has also been helping the Midlands Referee Society improve their digital output, creating a website and helping with social media to try and give the society a bigger presence and improve the attractiveness of officiating and the benefits of the society.

Speaking about Jason’s impact as a match official, Scott Murphy, President of Dunfermline RFC said: “I think everyone who has met Jason finds him to be a willing, enthusiastic and fair match official who has shown a real commitment to the game. He has dedicated many of his weekends supporting our club’s need for a referee.

“We are very grateful to Jason and I, like may others are the club, feel his passion and commitment deserves to be recognised.”

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