News

Volunteers Week 2024

5th June 2024

Volunteers Week 2024

As part of Volunteers Week 2024 from 3rd-9th June, we want to celebrate, recognise and say a massive thank you to volunteers across clubs, partner organisations and LEAP Sports Scotland that continue to give their time and support towards creating safe, fun and inclusive sports opportunities and spaces for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Volunteers Week is the perfect opportunity to highlight the wonderful people volunteering within the LGBTIQ+ sports and physical activity sector who regularly support clubs and projects that make a huge difference to people’s lives and well-being. We have spotlighted a few of these amazing volunteer stories to follow. 

Volunteer Week: Julie

Photo credit: Riina Paasovaara. Pictured (left - right) Gillian, Emer, Aimee, Karen, Julie.
The Glasgow Community 7s League is an inclusive, grassroots football league that is organised by a wonderful group of volunteers, headed by Julie. The league was set up with the express intention of providing a safe space for a diverse range of people who often face forms of discrimination in more traditional football spaces. The tournament is split into a beginners and an intermediate league, offering a space to play competitive football for teams who have a mix of experiences and abilities. It welcomes players who are cis & trans women, trans men and non-binary people, with eighteen teams currently taking part in the Winter ‘24 season.

Volunteer Week offers us the perfect opportunity to really celebrate the immense work that Julie has put into creating this community. When asked about Julie, one of the volunteer organisers, Gillian, said ‘she absolutely puts her whole self into the tournament, tries to make it fun, safe and good for everyone. She’s a bit like the swan, gliding over the water, with all the hard work going on beneath the surface!’

Volunteer Week: Logan

Logan is a LEAP Sports volunteer who organises many fun events and opportunities for the queer community in the Highlands to socialise and get active. For Volunteer Week 2024 they have shared their experience so far.

My name is Logan, I’m 40 years young and I’m transmasculine and autistic. I’m a Ballroom and Latin dancer and a dance fitness instructor currently running FitSteps classes in Moray. I’ve been a keen hillwalker, mountain biker, and adventurer my whole life.

Volunteering highlights: 

I began volunteering with LEAP Sports in February 2023, when we had our first Ballroom dance class for LGBT+ History Month in Elgin. In February 2024, we hosted a 4-week dance taster course in Elgin to celebrate History Month, and some of the participants have become my regular FitSteps dancers. Two of my friends who attended my FitSteps session sponsored by LEAP are now training to become Ballroom dancers and will be performing at Strictly Come Dancing in Elgin in November.

Our walking group, ‘Queers in the Hills’ was launched only 10 weeks ago. We hosted seven walks with over 50 participants overall, many of whom are regulars. As a walking guide, I’m always flexible to adapt to each participant’s capacity, and as a group of mature adults, we focus on problem solving together. Our core values are inclusion, connection, and adventure; the exercise is no more important than our time together around the table when we plan the next adventure. What we take home is a sense of belonging and increased vitality. ‘Queers in the Hills’ is a very relaxed and welcoming group for everyone.

As I turned 40 in February, I started to think more about the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle as we get older…I still climb Munros, and compete at Ballroom competitions, but what made me feel truly alive was when I guided two of my friends, who are in their fifties, to climb their very first Corbett in March. The happiness in their voices when they called their families from the summit of Little Wyvis, that’s my ‘peak experience’. When people tell me how it helps their mental health when we go for a walk and we spend a few hours blethering and laughing... once we even danced ‘Saturday Night Fever’ after a walk even though it was wet and windy.

Looking ahead: Last year, I hosted a Summer Solstice Picnic at Nairn Beach, with over forty people attending. Some people went swimming, others played games, and we even saw dolphins. Our Summer Solstice Picnic is back in popular demand this year as one of the Festival Fortnight events.

We’re also hosting a Tea Dance on the last day of Festival Fortnight. What better way to complete the Pride month of 2024 than to put on your dance shoes and celebrate with a bit of line dancing and social dancing? I have big hopes that Tea Dances will become a regular event.

We are a rather small scene in the Highlands & Moray…. It is a fine balancing act between discerning what the community needs in terms of sports activities and harnessing everyone’s longing for connection. People won’t remember that I bagged Munros or that I won medals. They’ll remember that I made them feel strong, adventurous, and alive. They’ll remember how we all danced together. It’s not my ambition to be better than others, but it is my ambition to be there for others.

I’m thankful that LEAP Sports supports some of our projects… I look forward to more collaborations with LEAP Sports in the future.

Volunteer Week: Leona

Leona is the heartbeat of Ness City Rollers, bringing warmth, kindness, and unwavering dedication to the skating group. As a volunteer for over 8 years, she has consistently gone above and beyond, welcoming newcomers and making everyone feel part of our inclusive, LGBTQIA+ friendly roller derby family. Her role as chair and her meticulous care of the kit have been instrumental in the smooth running of the group. Leona's derby persona, Scar Rental, perfectly embodies her surprising duality - a gentle and welcoming presence off the rink and an unstoppable force as a hard-hitting Blocker during games, equally known for collecting Back Block penalties and profuse apologies after clobbering someone. Her commitment and positivity are the glue that holds the team together, and it's no exaggeration to say that the Ness City Rollers would be lost without her. The impact of her leadership and support extends far beyond the skating rink, leaving a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to meet her. Thanks for all your hard work, Leona, love from everyone at Ness City Rollers!



Volunteer Week: Amanda

Amanda is a LEAP Sports volunteer based within the 'Out and About in Perthshire and Tayside' project. She regularly attends project events and is known for helping attendees feel welcomed and included. She also sits on the Qeltic Games Steering Committee, and is excited to be a key part in hosting this multisport event with LEAP Sports in August.

This July, Amanda will be representing Team Scotland at the Euro Games in Vienna. As part of the floorball team that took home the bronze medal in Bern last year, she is looking forward to seeing the success that this year brings.

Amanda's full time job is the Sports Development Coordinator for the Highland and Islands Students Association. It is her passion to make student sport more accessible across all of their 12 campuses, and her efforts were recently recognised when she won the 'Employee Of The Year' award at the NUS Scotland awards ceremony in March.

As a mentor within the inaugural Scottish Women in Sport (SWiS) programme, run by SAMH and SWiS, Amanda has provided guidance and support to young women wishing to enter the sports industry. Her work as the LGBTIQ+ lead on the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) Equality Steering Committee gives her the opportunity to provide advice and work on campaigns within the organisation.

She has hit the ground running in her latest appointment as Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on the board of directors for Scottish Club Sport, and will be working closely with LEAP Sports to champion LGBTIQ+ inclusion and participation.

Amanda works tirelessly to make sport throughout Scotland more accessible to all and is a true asset to LEAP Sports and the promotion of its values.

We are so grateful to the clubs and project officers for supporting us to share these stories and highlight the work of their amazing volunteers including; Glasgow Community 7s, Ness City Rollers, Out and About in the Highlands and Out and About in Perthshire and Tayside. We want to say a massive thank you to Julie, Logan, Leona and Amanda for their on-going commitment to our community and for enriching the lives of LGBTIQ+ people through sport.

If you are interested in volunteering and want to hear more about what volunteer opportunities LEAP Sports Scotland have available, please contact laura@leapsports.org

Written on 5th June 2024.