General News:

‘Trailblazing’ local volunteer finalist in national awards


A Sport Aberdeen volunteer who gave up over 1,000 hours of his own time to help inspire others was selected as a finalist for a prestigious national award.

Former Orchard Brae pupil Alex Soaris said he was “totally thrilled” to make it as a finalist in the Outstanding Volunteer(s) category at this year’s Community Leisure UK Awards.

The national awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of charities and social enterprises in public leisure and culture and winners were announced online this year due to Covid-19.

Alex was recognised for his commitment and dedication after he “helped to shape the future for additional support schools and their pupils” through his volunteer work with Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools programme.

Having started as lunchtime helper, Alex progressed further and successfully went through the coach recruitment process, securing a role as a Holiday Camp Leader with Sport Aberdeen, the first pupil from an additional support needs school to take on a coaching role with the charity and an incredible achievement.

Commenting on Alex’s achievements, Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“Alex is a trailblazer, not only due to his volunteering but also in helping us develop an additional support needs programme which has created new and exciting pathways into participation and future employment. His hard work, dedication and enthusiasm has allowed him to overcome barriers and excel in this role.

“For the pupils of Orchard Brae Alex is a fantastic role model. An ex-pupil who has worked incredibly hard to be given the responsibility to now coach them and has already motivated a senior pupil to get involved in volunteering.

“Without Alex’s commitment it would be almost impossible for Active Schools, part of Sport Aberdeen, to run so many Extra Curricular clubs for additional support needs pupils at Orchard Brae. His energy and enthusiasm have helped to shape the clubs, encouraging the children and their families to return again and again.”

Alex commented:

“I’m very proud to be chosen as a finalist for this award. The support Sport Aberdeen has given me has allowed me to become more confident with my leadership skills and specifically my coaching with young children. I hope to be able to continue to improve my coaching and give more opportunities for children to be active.”