Malcolm and Shelly have worked tirelessly this year, dedicating their time to the development of Petanque in Banff and surrounding areas.
Malcolm contacted Calum Smith, the Active Schools coordinator for Banff to share his passion for the sport and outlined his vision, which is to ensure the junior Scotland Petanque team is heavily represented by young people from Banff and Aberdeenshire.
Following these discussions, Malcolm and Shelly began coaching in schools in May 2021 and delivered 4 weeks of sessions during the school day to all 7 primaries and the Academy, with a total of 202 pupils benefitting from their time and commitment.
Allowing the young people an opportunity to continue playing, the couple moved to set up an after-school session at Macduff Community and Sports Centre, allowing the children to attend further free sessions up until the summer holidays.
With no let up, the couple then supported the LLA holiday programme delivering sessions in the activity camps for primary school children, before once again setting up the after-school sessions in August for a further 7 weeks. 17 young people had now been regularly attending after school sessions, and Malcolm was once more present in the October holiday camps delivering a further 2 hours of activity.
Whilst doing all of this, Malcolm was also busy working with Macduff Bowling Club, securing funding from local businesses, to build and set up a piste – (Petanque pitch) that contains 6 individual playing areas, and remains in discussions to extend further to allow a second piste in the area, required to satisfy the growing demand for play.
Malcolm, who also volunteers as a coach for the Scottish National team, next turned his attention to developing Petanque coaches. He worked with the sport and recreation class at Banff Academy to deliver a training course to 7 senior pupils. These pupils are now visiting Banff Primary School and delivering a 5-week block of Petanque to the primary 6 class, with Malcolm present to support delivery if needed.
This followed on from delivering training to 48 of Aberdeenshire’s teachers and Active school coordinators over the February mid-term break – ensuring schools across Aberdeenshire now have the capability to deliver Petanque as part of their PE curriculum.
The training Malcolm has been delivering was designed by him personally and he is currently in discussion with Sportscotland to have this recognised as an accredited course in future.
The passion and commitment shown by Malcom and Shelly has led to them committing to over 60 hours of delivery each in the last 10 months, educating people of all ages in a sport that had never previously been available in the area.
Youngsters who have had the opportunity, have spoken of their excitement and enjoyment taking part and schools have been very appreciative of the support and delivery style provided, The training received by teachers has gone down well, and the active schools team hope this is the start of Malcolm being able to realise his ambition in the near future.
The willingness to work with schools to identify suitable times, often moving other commitments to fit in is incredible. The delivery is of course only part of the work they do, with countless hours preparing lesson plans and new activities to keep the young people engaged. A sport that was rarely heard of in this area, has growing popularity and has enabled so many young people to have additional opportunities.
And it’s because of this dedication and support, that the Aberdeenshire Active schools’ team have named Malcolm and Shelly Mackenzie as their Volunteer of the Year for 2022