Team United provide football opportunities for people with autism in Broxburn

Award winner: Team United

Club recognised for providing sport to young people with autism 

A local football club doing remarkable things for young people with autism was among the winners at the 2018 Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards as it was named the Local Club of the Year.

Team United, in Broxburn, are doing something unique in grassroots football. Amid a growing number of disability clubs and groups, they’ve become the first to offer young people with autism the opportunities, support and pathway they were missing when it came to playing sport in an environment they felt safe.

Their success across the Lothians has seen them named as best Para Football Project at the SFA’s Grassroots Awards and earning glowing testimonies from players and parents for their transformative work with kids who struggle with life in mainstream clubs.

The young players are heard and seen on their own terms by coaches and volunteers who work hard to lift their confidence.

Awards night

A star-studded guest list gathered on 6 December in Glasgow to celebrate another exceptional year for Scottish sport.

Scotland’s athletes have once again shone on the global stage with Team Scotland winning a record number of medals at an overseas Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, while there were many fantastic performances at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

But it’s about much more than delivering on the world stage. In communities across the country there are countless examples of sport making a difference.

Attendances at the national Active Schools programme have reached 7.3million – an all-time high. There are also now 192 community sport hubs in operation across the country, further increasing participation opportunities.

Other big winners on the night included the Scotland women’s football team, who were named Team of the Year, while head coach Shelley Kerr was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Scots to their first World Cup finals in France in 2019.

Duncan Scott won Scottish Sports Personality of the Year and Dame Katherine Grainger picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Praise for Team United

Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: "Congratulations to all the volunteers and players at Team United, they are doing some incredible work and are making a huge difference in young people’s lives.

“There is terrific work being done by the sporting community across the country to increase the opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in sport. It is wonderful to have another chance to recognise such dedicated and hard-working people alongside Scotland’s elite athletes.” 

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