Community Recognition Awards 2021 - Caledonia Midlands Region Winners

Community Recognition Awards 2021 - Caledonia Midlands Region Winners

​The 2021 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from Caledonia Midlands region were announced in a virtual awards presentation on Wednesday 9 June.

The 2021 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from Caledonia Midlands region were announced in a virtual awards presentation tonight (Wednesday 9 June).

In the 2019/20 season, the Scottish Rugby annual awards structure was revamped and renamed the ‘Rugby Development Awards’, however in-light of the domestic league coming to a halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s awards followed a new one-off format, focusing on the off-field efforts of clubs and schools across all five regions of Scotland over the course of the last year.

The winners were announced via the respective region’s Facebook Group from 6pm onwards with recorded video messages delivered by Scottish Rugby’s Rugby Development team and Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr.

Awards winners were announced for six categories including; Community Champion Award brought to you by SP Energy Networks; Diversity & Inclusion Award brought to you by Scottish Rugby; Young Person’s Award brought to you by Mitsubishi Motors; Charity Fundraiser Award; Inspiration Award; and the Lifetime Achievement Award all brought to you by Tennent’s.

Each winner will receive a personalised trophy and prize from the award sponsor.

Scottish Rugby Caledonia Midlands Regional Director, Steve Turnbull said: “The last year has been like no other we have ever experienced, and yet our clubs and schools across the region have proved that still so much good can be achieved.

“It’s so important to us that we celebrate the achievements of the hard-working volunteers and club members we have in our game, and this year’s Community Recognition Awards are all about acknowledging and rewarding the dedication those individuals and groups have shown to their communities.”

Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr added: “We often say in sport that volunteers are the lifeblood of the game. This year, that hasn’t just been a saying. Rugby volunteers, players and committee members all over the country have shown with their actions, commitment, determination and inspiring acts of kindness just how true that is. I am pleased that we have been able to recognise that impact and say thank you to everyone for their efforts with Community Recognition Awards this year.”

The respective award winners and nominees are listed below:

​Inspiration Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: Colin Murray, Carnoustie RFC

Colin Murray of Carnoustie was nominated for his inspirational efforts in safely guiding members of the club through the Covid-19 pandemic, for his advocacy around mental wellbeing, and his work in improving club facilities.

The club stalwart first joined as a player some 15 years ago before becoming a coach and is currently involved as Club President.

Colin has been described by the club as someone who “has always been an extremely welcoming and friendly face, willing to go a few extra miles to see all sections and members enjoy success”.

Throughout the past year Colin has been credited as an instrumental force in the club's ability to deliver rugby safely by co-ordinating and training Covid-19 Safety leaders. However, never one to shy away from hard work himself, he has often been found down at the club cleaning equipment and checking players in and out of the club.

In addition to lending practical support, Colin has also been credited for using his voice to improve mental and social wellbeing practice across the club. Along with encouraging others to undertake and hold conversations around mental wellbeing, he was a key figure in promoting mental wellbeing training and resources.

With the desire to match the club’s positive culture with its facilities, Colin also organised the manufacture and installation of a containerised stand to provide shelter to supporters at future games. The President later identified the new stand as the perfect spot for a mural in memory of the later Peter Christie, regarded as a ‘club legend’ by all at Carnoustie.

​Diversity & Inclusion Award - brought to you by Scottish Rugby: Falkirk RFC

Falkirk have been recognised as a club who “typify” the definition of diversity and inclusion for their work over the last year to make rugby accessible to all, with particular focus on children and young people.

Recognising that there were a number of young players with additional needs participating in training sessions, the club’s volunteer coaches enlisted the help of the children's parents to develop and plan sessions to ensure they could provide the best experience possible for the players.

In addition to this, the coaches also took part in training courses to deepen their knowledge and understanding of children who have additional needs.

Providing feedback to the club, one parent said: "My son is autistic which at times has made it difficult to for him to be part of a club. The coaches at Falkirk Rugby took the time to get to know him and myself, and then worked with me to help him get the best experience possible.

“The coaches are very supportive and encouraging. My son loves playing as part of his team and has grown in confidence as a result."

The club further recognised that for some young people, although showing buckets of enthusiasm whilst training, they didn’t have having access to the right clothing. This led the club to start a pre-loved kit scheme which offered these young players “new” boots, shorts, T-shirts and jackets, allowing them to train more comfortably.

To further enable these young players, to access suitable kit and help create a sense of belonging, the club also worked hard to secure new sponsorship which saw them provide new training kit and waterproof layer to each player.

​Community Champion Award - brought to you by SP Energy Networks: Joey Crozier, Stirling County RFC

Dr Joey Crozier has been involved at Stirling County for over ten years and has held the mantle in a multitude of roles including coach, doctor, convener, referee and fixtures secretary.

However, it has been in the last year that the club explained just how “incredibly grateful for his time, abilities, generosity and selflessness” they have been as Joey stepped into the role as Covid-19 Safety Co-ordinator in Spring 2020.

In this role, Joey was responsible for overseeing public health and safety measures were met across the club, ensuring that the club operated in a safe manner whilst adhering to Scottish Government and Scottish Rugby guidelines. A mean feat for a club with hundreds of players in teams which range from micros through to adults, including Super6.

This responsibility is made even more impressive as Joey spent his working day as a doctor in intensive care Covid wards. Despite juggling his roles as a doctor, parent, coach and Covid-19 Safety Co-ordinator, the club credited Joey for meeting this challenge “with his usual empathy, hard work and talent”.

Whilst much of his focus was spent on ensuring the health and safety of all players, Joey still found time to work as head coach with the U14 girls, a team which continues to grow and develop. There are now more than 20 girls regularly attending training, and the club believe that much of this growth can be contributed to Joey’s “infectious enthusiasm and generosity of spirit”.

Charity Fundraiser Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: Bannockburn RFC

Over the course of the last year Bannockburn have worked incredibly hard to mobilise the Forth Valley community in giving back to others through a wide range of charitable projects.

Their first charitable initiative called 'Pass The Pledge' saw the club engaged their membership to ‘pass’ a virtual ball around clubs within Forth Valley, with teams pledging pennies to NHS Forth Valley as they took part, raising over £630.

Looking to further support those in their local community, the club next turned their hand to collecting donations and supporting the establishment of the Start Up Stirling food bank.

The club contributed over 200 kilos of food, answered over 770 phone calls from locals who required supplies due to shielding and supported the set-up of the Stirling High Street soup kitchen. The club’s support to this particular initiative saw them travel more than 8,500 miles cross Forth Valley.

Following the success of their local support, the club turned their hand to fundraising for two national charities. Combining raffle and calendar sales with sponsorship collection for physically distanced running events, which involved over 100 club members, Bannockburn raised £1,072 and £2,090 for the Royal British Legion and My Name'5 Doddie Foundation respectively.

​Young Person’s Award - brought to you by Mitsubishi Motors: Emily Clark, Stirling County RFC

At just 20-years-old, Emily Clark of Stirling County is already leaving her mark on the future generation of rugby players as head coach and team manager to the club’s thriving Micro section.

The club has credited Emily’s “determination, enthusiasm and ability to make every player feel welcome” as her stand out characteristics whilst delivering training sessions to over 80 Primary 1-3 children each week.

Along with supporting the young children at the club, Emily also manages and supports the wider coaching team, a group of individuals whose experience ranges from those taking their first steps into any form of rugby to former Premiership players and senior team coaches.

Emily’s ability to “constantly go above and beyond to ensure that all players are happy and supported” has been further recognised by the club.

On days where Emily isn’t volunteering her time as head coach at Stirling County, she most often turns her attention to inclusion and wellbeing and is described as a “powerful advocate for mental health in sport, and a tireless worker for inclusion and support in the community”.

​Lifetime Achievement Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: Robert Baldie, Strathmore RFC

Robert (Bob) Baldie of Strathmore is described as “a club man who has done it all”. From playing to coaching, clubhouse DIY to completing funding applications – there has been no end to Bob’s involvement at the club.

Bob first became involved at the club in his teenage years as a player, which was shortly followed by roles as team manager and coach, responsibilities Bob picked up as a result of injury, and for the past 20 years has been a club committee member.

The 53-year-old and his “can-do” attitude have been credited as a driving force behind the growth of the club’s junior section, and the building and subsequent improvement of Strathmore’s clubhouse facilities.

Bob's passion for the club is evident in everything he does and the way he speaks to everyone from junior members to local Councillors. The 'can do' culture he has created exemplifies solidarity and respect as everyone, no matter their skill set, is encouraged to contribute or support in their own way.

Watch the full Caledonia North Community Recognition Awards presentation below!

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