Community Recognition Awards 2024: Glasgow North Winners Announced

Community Recognition Awards 2024: Glasgow North Winners Announced

Following their presentation at Cottiers on Thursday March 14, the Community Recognition Award Winners have today been announced.

The Community Recognition Awards are 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.

Award 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, Young Person’s Award, Community Club of the Season, and the Community Referee of the Season.

Glasgow North Regional Director Peter Burgon said: 

“The beauty of the Community Recognition Awards is the opportunity that it affords us to recognise and celebrate the contribution of so many people who give their time and energy to the game, without seeking thanks or praise. That’s why it’s so important for us to recognise nominees as well as winners, for someone to have contributed to their environment to the point that someone else wants to nominate them for an award is a wonderful thing.  There are so many people doing amazing things across rugby environments in Glasgow North, the chance to celebrate even just a small proportion of them is an absolute highlight of the season”.

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 again received hundreds of applications to the Community Recognition Awards this year, and although it was a tough job for the Regional Panels to narrow it down to the winners, it shows how many people in Scottish rugby are noticed and appreciated for all they do, and personally, I cannot thank them enough.”

The respective award winners are listed below:


Volunteer of the Season in Youth Rugby, sponsored by inspiresport -Ian Smith (Helensburgh RFC)

Approaching ten years in coaching at Helensburgh Rugby Club, Ian’s commitment to the club has seen him help drive it forward. For the last three years, Ian has stepped into the role of Youth Convenor alongside his coaching duties.

Ian owns his own company, which he runs day-to-day. This takes him across the UK but despite this he barely misses a training session or match. Despite his own son suffering a severe spinal injury, Ian continued to coach and provide unwavering support to his own 22 players. His son made a full recovery and was coached by Ian back into the back row and as a lineout jumper.

The desire Ian has showed to raise playing and coaching standards has not gone unnoticed by those at Helensburgh, as he has worked to introduce coaching and refereeing courses. Ian will step down from his roles at the end of the season but will help to appoint a co-ordinator that shares his desire for improvement.

“I have no idea where he finds the time to do all the coaching preparation/training preparation/match preparation whilst being on the main club committee, the rugby committee. I have roughly worked out Ian gives 25-30 hours volunteer time per week”- Parent. 


Volunteer of the Season in Adult Rugby- Les Barclay (Dalziel Rugby Club)

Described by those at Dalziel as a “true example of a committed club man”, Les Barclay is this year’s winner of the Volunteer of the Season in Adult Rugby for the Glasgow North region.

Having started playing for Dalziel Rugby Club in first year of secondary school, Les has now racked up over 650 senior appearances for the club. At the age of 54, he is still a regular starter in the front row for the Dalziel 1st XV. In his playing time so far, he has amassed 64 tries and six yellow cards, but has never seen red. Now in his 40th year of playing, Les is still selected on ability and is a huge part of the club.

Alongside his position on the pitch, Les has held countless positions on the Dalziel Rugby Club committee, including Secretary, Fix Secretary, Coaching Convenor, Vice-President, and President. Those at the club have hailed him for his commitment to the club, citing that most people wait until they have hung their playing boots before setting foot on the committee.

“Les really loves Dalziel rugby club and he would do anything for the club, he is still playing for the 1st team at 54 years old in the front row. He lives for his rugby and enjoys nothing more than helping teach and coach the young front rows at the club. Les is a hug personality at the club and is treated in high regard by all his fellow players”- Grant Talbot- Development Officer at Dalziel Rugby Club.


Volunteer of the Season in Schools Rugby, sponsored by inspiresport-Graham Calder (Dalziel High School)

Graham picks up this award for the power of work he does to promote rugby within Dalziel High School. He is also recognised for his ability to provide a seamless transition from school to club rugby.

Graham has been able to attract several age groups to rugby, with Dalziel High School fielding three teams at present, an S1 Boys team, an S2 Boys team and an Under-14 Girls team. All three of these sides competed in the Glasgow North schools league, challenging well amongst their fellow schools. The strong representation of teams across the board depicts the hard work done by Graham behind the scenes and his will to make sure the pupils have access to regular game time. As well as the schools league, teams were also given the opportunity to take part in the Championship organised by Glasgow Warriors and SP Energy Networks. This enabled pupils to experience playing at Warriors’ home Scotstoun.

Graham continues to plan the future of rugby at Dalziel High, implementing a feeder programme to catchment primary schools. Prior to their move to secondary school, primary pupils now receive a four-week block of rugby followed by an inter-school tournament. The aim of this initiative is to have a ready-made first-year team once the transition to S1 has happened, improving the chances of successful rugby longevity in the school.

“Graham has been the driving force of rugby at Dalziel for years, having previously set up Schools of rugby at St Morrices and in Coatbridge. I think it is clear to see that he always leaves rugby in a better place at the schools that he teaches. At Dalziel High School he makes sure the children get a block of rugby during curriculum time and makes sure they have their weekly after school club. He ensures the children get as much game play opportunity by attending all the Glasgow North league and cup fixtures. Graham truly has the children’s best interests at heart and is the heartbeat of school rugby, which has benefited the club”- Grant Talbot- Development Officer at Dalziel Rugby Club.


Young Person’s Award- Alan Paul (Uddingston RFC)

Fourth-year University student Alan stepped up as Director of Rugby at Uddingston on top of his role as Head Coach of Youth for the mids section). Since taking this role, he has taken strides to develop all areas of the club, as well as furthering its outreach to the community.

In 2023, Alan completed the process to setup a State School of Rugby, which he is lead coach and contact for. He coaches at the school of rugby weekly, ensuring the relevant Scottish Rugby monitoring and evaluating tasks are completed to the highest standard. Alan has created strong relationships within the school, as well as hosting rugby workshops and development days. His work with cluster schools have boosted Uddingston’s playing numbers and benefitted the wider community.

Alan prides himself in his role, ensuring every player, coach and member is supported in their position. The academic knowledge which he has transferred to within the club has bettered the volunteers also. He has also set up recurring coach development meetings to keep everyone on the same page and monitor the progress of the club.

Alan’s development of Uddingston RFC and his continued hard work sees him pick up this award. He plans to continue to grow all aspects and the community outreach of the club in the year ahead.

“Alan takes his role as Director extremely seriously, and at the age of 23, he is doing a fantastic job at driving the club forward and creating opportunities for our club to progress, whilst also building our midis and directing our future. Alan personally inspires me to do better, as a fourth year University Student, he still makes time for volunteers, prioritises the club and supports everyone within the club.”- Stuart Chalmers.


Community Club of the Season- Dalziel Rugby Club

Picking up Community Club of the Season for Glasgow North this year is Dalziel Rugby Club after an incredibly successful year both on and off the pitch.

Dalziel Rugby Club has one of the largest youth participation groups in the country. Marking it’s centenary year in 2024, it caters for all age groups, providing a safe and encouraging space to learn the game. The outreach of the club to local schools has rocketed as a result of its club development plan, with 800 pupils engaged with every month.

A main focus for the club recently has been on becoming even more inclusive, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. It has also worked tirelessly to break down the barriers posed by sectarianism and racism. The recently upgraded catering facilities at the club allow children and parents to be provided with hot and cold food while there. This, in turn allows learning to take place around fitness, health and nutrition to take place.

Dalziel have continued to work to develop every aspect of their club over the last 12 months. They have made significant strides in player and coach recruitment, with 31 new players and more than 15 new coaches in the setup, all of whom are provided with club kit. To attract new players, Dalziel host drop-in sessions for those with a new interest in rugby to come and show their skills. To accommodate a wider array of players, walking rugby continues to take place at the club for past players and anyone from the community. The community reach of the club has increased further as it allows the use of the clubhouse for events outwith rugby.

Dalziel have a strong offering of women’s rugby, with a new women’s team formed in 2023, complimenting the U14 and U16 girls’ teams and providing a route into adult club rugby for young players. Their midi’s section has also had increased demand, with over 60 regular attendees and parents often in attendance for sessions. The success in this section is shown as the club have extended their physiotherapy provision to include bookings for their midis section.

The club have brought on new community sponsorship for their youth festival. Last year at their youth festival, teams from England, the borders, Inverness, and Ireland attended, with over 1400 children attending. Dalziel also offer player sponsorships on an individual basis. They have also attracted two further major sponsorships this year, allowing them to continue to plan for the long-term.

Dalziel continue to make an impact on their local community, in a rugby capacity and a wider capacity. Their efforts to grow their club and make the game as inclusive and accessible as possible are recognised through this award.


Community Referee of the Season- Johnny Sim (GHK)

After several injuries forced his hand to put a stop to playing, Johnny turned his attentions towards becoming a referee to ensure he was still contributing and involved in rugby. He effectively juggles his work life with being able to officiate multiple matches every weekend.

Johnny’s officiating has taken him across the country, and not just on the mainland of Scotland. He has strayed across to Orkney on more than one occasion after accepting match responsibilities there. His commitment to refereeing has seen him gain a wide breadth of experience of officiating in different competitions. He has been the man in the middle for games in National 3, National 4, Women’s Premiership, FOSROC U17, U18 National Cups (club and school), school games from S1 to U18 and at Midi section.

As well as being main referee, Johnny has been assistant at a Glasgow Warriors Women Celtic Challenge match, as well as in the U17 FOSROC Championship and for Strathclyde University Men’s First XV. Johnny’s considerable progress in officiating in such a short space of time has seen him join the National Panel of Referees.

Johnny has been praised for his dedication to local refereeing, with GHK Development Officer Ronnie Gourlay commenting: “Johnny has always tried to assist at matches involving youngsters whether in school or Midi section matches, often refereeing on two or even three occasions over a weekend and responding to ’emergencies’. His fulltime job involves shift work which can mean that he is going straight from a shift to a match or vice versa but he simply takes this in his stride. He is always looking to improve his performance and welcomes feedback after games, whilst also attempting to be constructive in his game management and to referee in an empathetic manner”.

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