Ayrshire College sports students win awards at North Ayrshire Sports Awards


Two Ayrshire College Sport students are celebrating picking up two individual honours at the North Ayrshire Sports Awards.


Photo: Ayrshire College

Lauren Gilbert, 19 from Kilbirnie, won the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ award, while James O’Neill, 21 from Saltcoats, was crowned ‘Community Coach of the Year’.

Both students, who study at the Skills Centre of Excellence Campus in Irvine, dedicate many hours to coaching young pupils across North Ayrshire.

The bulk of Lauren’s volunteering efforts are with North Ayrshire Active Schools, coaching a number of different sports - such as hockey, netball and basketball.

While James has a vast array of coaching commitments in the area. To name just a few, he coaches swimming with KA Leisure, Ayrshire Tornados basketball at Dalry Primary School, and athletics with North Ayrshire Athletics Club.

Lauren said “It feels amazing that I’ve been put forward for the award and even more amazing that I’ve managed to win it.

“Over this next year at Ayrshire College I want to keep coaching and working with schools. I love the reaction you get from the people you’re coaching, it’s really rewarding.”

James summed up his achievement by saying “It’s overwhelming.”

He went on to say “When you see someone who you’ve been coaching for a while developing their skills, it gives you a huge confidence boost.

“I get a real buzz from standing up and asserting myself in front of a group. The fact that I’m able to speak in front of large groups of people is great. It’s difficult for anyone to do, but the more and more I do it, I keep getting better at it.”

Sport and Fitness lecturer Johnny Sinclair said “Well-deserved congratulations must go to James and Lauren on achieving coaching honours at the North Ayrshire Sports.

“They are both dedicated and enthusiastic students who are always keen to support grass roots sport.

“James and Lauren are completing their final year at college and will hopefully progress to university before a successful career in sport and fitness.”

James stressed that the support the students receive from the lecturing staff at Ayrshire College is immense.

He said “All of the staff at Ayrshire College have done a lot for us. They’ve given us so many coaching opportunities. They deserve recognition - they do so much to support us.”


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