STIRLING Council’s Youth Team and Active Stirling have earned a prestigious award for their wonderful work together on a free basketball project for young people.

They received the Partnership of the Year accolade last weekend at the sportscotland Scottish Sport Futures (SSF) Awards 2019 for their achievements with the SSF Twilight Basketball programme.

The initiative, which has been running since 2010, provides a safe place for those aged between 11 and 21 to take part in a fun basketball session in Raploch. Among the benefits for participants are making new friends, being active and gaining a range of skills.

To sustain the project long-term, the Youth Team teamed up with Active Stirling, who have provided qualified basketball coaches for the sessions, passing on their knowledge and expertise to volunteers and young people.

The positive outcomes to young people and the wider community from this profitable partnership saw it being recognised at a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow (Feb 8).

Some of the children who take part in programme collected the gong, along with members of the Stirling Youth Team and local basketball star, Kieron Achara, who has starred at the Olympics and currently plays for Glasgow Rocks.

Cllr Chris Kane, Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said: “Congratulations to the Stirling Council Youth Team and Active Stirling on winning this award which recognises their achievements in making the Twilight Basketball programme such a success.

“This fantastic initiative delivers many benefits to participants, including new skills, improved physical health, and learning and development opportunities, and I am delighted this partnership will ensure it continues to make a positive difference to young people across Stirling.”

Cllr Maureen Bennison, Vice Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said: “This accolade is a glowing tribute to this inspiring free programme which has been running for almost 10 years and is going from strength to strength thanks to this flourishing partnership between the Stirling Council Youth Team and Active Stirling. A huge well done to everyone involved.”

The sportscotland Scottish Sport Futures Awards 2019 showcased how sport can be used for positive social change and celebrated the incredible commitment of the young people who engage in sport through SSF and those who have supported them throughout the year.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Scottish Sport Futures to celebrate the fantastic work being done through their initiatives up and down the country.

“There were some truly inspirational stories among the winners, who through their hard work and dedication have shown how sport can be used for positive social change within their communities.

“As the national agency for sport we believe that young people should have a voice in sport and be able to access great opportunities to learn important skills as well as participate in sport.”

Kirsty McNab, CEO of SSF, said: “We were proud to have showcased our dedicated young people and their work at this spectacular event.

“We are committed to changing lives through sport and these awards give very deserved recognition for the most incredible individuals. It is a great honour for us to be lead-sponsored by sportscotland and we look forward to continued partnership working with them.”

The SSF Twilight Basketball programme meets on a Friday night at the Raploch Community Campus from 7.30-9.15pm and is free to attend.