Scottish Rugby announces Glasgow North region Community Recognition Award winners

Scottish Rugby announces Glasgow North region Community Recognition Award winners

The 2022 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from the Glasgow North region have today been announced following their presentation on Wednesday 30 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, Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby, Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s, Young Person’s Award, Community Club of the Season sponsored by Tennent’s, and the Community Match Official of the Season.

Each winner was presented their award at an events ceremony held at Cottiers Hotel, receiving a personalised trophy and prize.

Al Kellock, Glasgow Warriors Managing Director and former Scotland international, was also in attendance at the event to deliver a speech to the 55 guests from clubs and schools across the Glasgow North region.

Scottish Rugby Glasgow North Regional Director, Peter Burgon said: “It’s so important to celebrate the achievements of the hard-working volunteers we have in our game, especially following on from the pandemic, and last night was all about recognising and rewarding their dedication to our sport.

“We have so many passionate and committed people across our region who give up so much of their time to help others take part in rugby. Our award nominees and winners exemplify the values of our sport.”

Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr added: “As we approach the end of the domestic season, it is vitally important to 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, particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am so pleased that we have been able recognise that impact and say thank you to everyone for their efforts in helping the game bounce back with this year’s Community Recognition Awards.”

The respective award winners and nominees are listed below:

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

Cambuslang RFC has been the bedrock of the Cambuslang and Rutherglen community since its formation in 1903.

The club set out with an intention at the beginning of the new season to “become a leading community club, focused on delivering a fully inclusive programme of rugby, with no barriers to enjoying the sport”. Cambuslang have brought this vision to life through community outreach initiatives and the creation of new rugby programmes.

The club has seen an exponential growth in its player base over the last 10 years, with the club investing much of their effort and energy into developing their youth section. The club now proudly work with around 350 youth members, who are supported by 40 dedicated coaches, underpinned by an equally hard-working committee.

Further to this, six of the club’s coaches now provide support to Stonelaw High School on a weekly basis to help them grow their rugby programme, further demonstrating their strong community engagement and commitment to growing the game.

As a means of opening their doors to the local community, this season the club began delivering regular ‘Family Fun Friday’ evenings, to enable those who wanted to learn more about what the club has to offer, to do so in a friendly, fun and covid safe environment. The initiative helped introduce the club to roughly 100 new members.

The club’s off-field efforts have been just as admirable as their on-field work. From donating Easter eggs and food donations to a community food bank, to collecting and distributing over 400 Christmas to the Cambuslang community through the club’s charity partner, Healthy and Happy.

​Young Person’s Award: Mohammed Baig, St Pauls High School

Mohammed Baig has come a long way since he first created a Powerpoint presentation to ask his parents if he could start playing rugby.

Best known as Baig, the 18-year-old has been recognised with the Glasgow North Young Person’s Award for dedicating this time to other young people at St Pauls High School so that they can enjoy the same rugby experiences he did.

The school Sports Leader and Rugby Ambassador has spent the last year delivering extra-curricular rugby to other young people at the school, and he has turned up for every after-school training session, fixture and festival.

Baig also regularly leads in delivering transition sessions to Primary 7 pupils at local primary schools which feed into St Pauls High.

A spokesperson from St Pauls said: “Baig is an outstanding character. His passion is infectious, and he is a role model to all in his school. We are so grateful to Baig for his commitment to rugby and to the young people at St Pauls.”

​Volunteer of the Season in Youth rugby: Martin McCall, Cambuslang RFC

A coach, a referee and a facilitator of rugby with the community for the last ten years, it cannot be questioned that Cambuslang’s Martin McCall lives and breathes rugby.

Martin (49) has been recognised for his work in helping to create a fun, friendly and safe environment for young people at Cambuslang RFC in which to thrive.

This season, Martin established the club’s new pre-school rugby offering called ‘Cambus Cubs’. The Cubs have gone from strength to strength, and now regularly hosts 25 children every Saturday.

In addition to this we have collaborated with Cartha RFC to ensure that our U15 teams which Martin leads as a coach have been able to continue competitive matches in the 2021/22 season, this has been stimulated by Martin’s desire to get the best out of community rugby for the better of others.

In a testimonial about Martin, a spokesperson for Cambuslang said: “Martin is doing an incredible job developing the sport, delivering activity five days a week whilst holding down a full-time job and being a father to four wonderful children.

“Week in, week out Martin is there for others at the club, transferring all his rugby knowledge and passion onto our future generation of Scottish rugby stars. Recognising him with this award is a fantastic way to say thank you for all he does for the sport.”

​Volunteer of the Season in School rugby: Jake Wilson, Coatbridge High School

Coatbridge High School I.C.T teacher, Jake Wilson is this year’s Volunteer of the Season in School rugby for the Glasgow North region.

Jake has been credited for dedicating countless hours of his own time to the School of Rugby program at Coatbridge High. From getting kit organised for the pupils, to delivering training sessions, Jake makes sure that every pupil has the opportunity to be a part of rugby – whether as a player, referee or coach.

As a referee himself, Jake has been supporting pupils to gain their Scottish Rugby qualifications as referees, and he regularly sacrifices his weekends to helping the young referees with referee coaching sessions.

A spokesperson from Coatbridge High said: “Jake tries everything he can to remove the barriers for young people playing rugby. Over 100 pupils are now playing rugby because of Jake, with some only turning up to school because of rugby as it’s the highlight of their week.

“Jake goes above and beyond for our pupils. From ordering taxis at the end of training so that everyone can come, and parents don’t have to worry about their child getting home, to making sure everyone has the correct kit from gum shields to t-shirts, no one is left out or discriminated against.”

Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s: Tim Abrams, Glasgow Raptors

Tim Abrams from Glasgow Raptors has been described by his fellow team-mates as “an exceptional coach” and picks up this year’s Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby award.

Glasgow Raptors are an LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby team, and under Tim’s leadership they have gone from strength the strength.

A few years ago, the club would often struggle to get more than 10 people at a training session and this made competitive play an almost impossible challenge. Since Tim took up the mantle of head coach, the Raptors now have 61 registered players, with over 30 training on a regular basis.

The vast majority of their player base are brand-new to the game, and the club have said that those players are “people who would never have engaged in the sport without Tim’s input and support”.

Tim has been able to engage with these players by delivering regular beginner sessions to give aspiring players their first taste of rugby and has helped to integrate each player into sessions with existing members.

The Raptors are now able to participate in national rugby tournaments and have cited Tim as the reason the team now experience the “entirely new phenomenon” of deliberating over player selection.

Speaking about Tim and the impact he has had on the Raptors, Chairman, Luke Kieffer Harding said: “Tim is also one of the most committed people I’ve met in the sporting world. At the age of 24, he has an extraordinary grasp of coaching and knowledge of the game. I struggle to think of any younger head coach from previous teams we’ve met.

“Tim has fostered an inclusive and welcoming environment for all backgrounds and levels of ability. It’s wonderful to see such strong representation from a part of the community who may not have otherwise participated without the efforts of volunteers like Tim.”

​Community Referee of the Season: Harry Richardson, Hamilton Bulls

It’s regularly said that rugby wouldn’t happen without the referee, and this is a mantra that 22-year-old Harry Richardson has truly taken to heart in the youth game rugby in Hamilton.

The young referee has gone above and beyond to make sure that games go ahead this season, whether at the club, local schools or at a rugby festival. In one day alone, Harry officiated games for U12 girls, U16 girls, U13 boys and U16 boys, and he did so without being asked, showing his passion for giving young players every opportunity to play rugby.

Harry is said to “always open to chat with coaches and players to offer help”, but is also completely open to feedback on his own refereeing, and how the level of the teams playing might change his own style.

In a testimonial about Harry, a spokesperson from Hamilton Bulls said: “You can tell when Harry takes to the middle of the pitch that he has a pure love for the sport and the people. Harry wants to give back to the game and help everyone in any way he can, never asking for anything in return.

“He is also a fantastic example of how your rugby career can continue after playing in a way that isn’t just focused on coaching.”

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