One of Scotland’s leading young sports volunteers has had his contribution to sport in the Glasgow area recognised with the Young Volunteer of the Year Award from sportscotland.
Brandon Donnelly, 16, has been awarded the accolade for his commitment and passion to improve the health and wellbeing of his local community through tennis and football.
The St Mungo’s High pupil spends hours of every week volunteering with children’s charity PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid), helping youngsters in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Glasgow find success through sport.
Innovative Brandon, from Calton, sets up tennis courts and football sessions in streets, car parks and playgrounds, as he brings the children from different backgrounds and ethnicities together under the banner of sport.
He said: “When I was younger there was nothing to do, but then PEEK popped up in the park out of nowhere, that’s when we all started playing and joining in with sport together. Since then I have just wanted to give my time to them, just like they volunteered their time for me.
“For me, being active is a way of life. We get kids involved in all kinds of sport in their local area and encourage them to keep active and look after themselves.”
Calton has a male life expectancy of just 54 years, and Brandon is aiming to help change that statistic by encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.
Inspiring team player
Brandon was nominated by PEEK colleague Michaela Collins, who said: “Brandon is a fantastic role model to so many in his community where sometimes there is very little hope for a brighter and better future.
“I nominated Brandon for this award because he is truly inspiring. He’s an amazing young person who is really changing his community through play and sport. The life expectancy for a man in Calton is 54, so by those statistics Brandon has less than 40 years of his life [remaining]. The fact that he is changing that statistic for himself and other kids is just fantastic; he is definitely the change maker within Calton.
“Without Brandon, PEEK wouldn't be able to reach the lives of so many vulnerable kids. The world needs more people like Brandon.”
Brandon picked up his award on an evening where inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from across Scotland were celebrated across 13 categories for their significant contribution to sport in 2017.
The prestigious sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2017 were held on 8 November at Stirling Court Hotel where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals. Our Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate individuals on their commitment to Scottish sport.
“Brandon sets an exceptional example for young people, not just in Calton, but throughout Scotland. His dedication to sport and improving the health and wellbeing of his local area is truly inspirational.
“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers. I hope that many more people are inspired by our winners and recognise the opportunities that exist to get involved in sport at every level from volunteering at your local club or school to coaching or officiating on the world stage.”
At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in swimming, athletics, lawn bowls, tennis, football, rowing, shinty and curling were recognised for the many hours they dedicate to helping others compete at the best level they can.
Find out more
Be inspired by the stories of all the 2017 winners.
Visit the sportscotland website for information about the COV Awards.