A dedicated young basketball player and coach has had his work in sport recognised after being named as a finalist in the sportscotland Scottish Sports Futures Awards 2019.
Declan Macdougall, from Irvine, attends the Glasgow Rocks Academy college programme at Kelvin College Glasgow and Twilight Basketball in Irvine, a Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) programmes designed to give children a safe environment to enjoy sport for free.
The former Greenwood Academy pupil admits his journey in sport has not always been an easy one. He says there were times when he would struggle to control his behaviour and he suffered from anxiety.
The 17-year-old says his life has changed dramatically for the better since joining Twilight Basketball and getting involved in the SSF programme, to which he is now an ambassador. He is in the running for the Ian Reid SSF Outstanding Achievement Award on 8 February.
He said: “Some big aspects of where and who I am now wouldn’t be the same without Twilight Basketball, they just helped me with so much. Between the staff and other players, they made my life so much better.
“Before going to Twilight, I would still be very emotional and very angry, I would take things personally while playing basketball. My anxiety was really bad, I definitely wouldn’t be coaching.
“Basketball means everything to me. There was a point when my anxiety got so bad that I wasn’t going to school. I feel like becoming an ambassador is probably my proudest moment.”
The sportscotland Scottish Sports Futures Awards 2019 will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on 8 February. The event will showcase how sport can be used for positive social change and celebrate the incredible commitment of the young people who engage in sport through SSF and those who have supported them throughout the year.
A group of truly inspirational young people have made the list of finalists for the 10 awards. SSF is a charity which has changed lives through sport. Over the past 18 years its work has supported communities where people are vulnerable or at risk.
SSF's local and national programmes provide tailored pathways to positive destinations, enabling young people to fulfil their potential and widening opportunities for all.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Scottish Sports Futures to celebrate the fantastic work being done through their initiatives up and down the country.
“There are some truly inspirational stories among the nominees. Declan’s love for basketball has clearly rubbed off well on the other young people he coaches, and sport has had a hugely positive influence on Declan’s life."
Kirsty McNab, CEO of SSF, said: “We are proud and excited to be showcasing our dedicated young people and their work at this spectacular event. We are committed to changing lives through sport and these awards give very deserved recognition for the most incredible individuals. It is a great honour for us to be lead-sponsored by sportscotland and we look forward to continued partnership working with them.”