Check out the latest in our Club in Focus occasional series as we look at clubs across the length and breadth of Scotland and assess their growth and development in various circumstances.
Here, we are looking to Dumbarton and a spirited revival of a junior section at West Dunbartonshire AC as club member (and local journalist) Rosemary Lowne reports . . .
A dedicated team of volunteers have helped to save West Dunbartonshire Athletics Club’s junior section.
Since 1998, the friendly club based in Dumbarton has helped to improve the lives of children and young adults from all abilities and backgrounds. But, due to a lack of coaches, the junior club section had to briefly close last year.
Upon hearing the disappointing news, a determined group of ex athletes and coaches decided to take action. Through a shared passion for the sport and a determination to give something back to their community, they gave up their spare time to set up a new committee.
Despite the mammoth task ahead, the volunteers remained determined to resurrect the club with some welcome support from WD Leisure and from scottishathletics.
After months of endless meetings and training, the junior section was re-launched in October last year.
Laura Young, who is chairperson of the club, said the committee and coaches were thrilled by the turnout.
‘We were absolutely astounded by the turnout on our first night,’ said Laura. ‘We were unsure what the response would be like but it was unbelievable.
‘All our months of commitment and hard work paid off as we could clearly see that there is a huge demand for athletics in West Dunbartonshire.’
Just three months after the re-launch, eight young athletes took the chance to compete at the scottishathletics Indoor U12 SUPERteams event at the world-class Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
‘To have our young athletes competing at such a prestigious venue so soon after setting up the junior section, was simply amazing,’ added Laura.
‘It was a great opportunity for the children and one which will inspire them for years to come.’
With a team of six volunteer coaches and a strong committee, the future is looking bright for athletics in West Dunbartonshire. Demand for the club continues to grow exponentially as news of the new junior section spreads throughout the area.
The club currently trains every Tuesday night at Dumbarton Academy at 7pm. Anyone who would like more information is asked to check out the West Dunbartonshire Athletics Club Facebook page or website.
*A copy of this article first appeared in PB magazine and in the Lennox Herald – always pleasing to see clubs command coverage in their local community.