Swim England

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‘Remarkable’ and ‘inspirational’ Ripple Effect volunteers shortlisted for national award

Two volunteers with Swim England’s Ripple Effect project have been nominated for a national award.

Allyson Irvine and Ryan Carstairs are both Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreations Awards 2024 finalists.

They have been shortlisted in the Inspiration of the Year category and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday 8 March at Headingley Stadium, Leeds.

The Inspiration of the Year award celebrates individuals in the sport and recreation sector who have inspired others through the support they have provided to their community during the past 12 months.

Each award winner will receive £1,000 to help support their work in the future.

Allyson has already picked up an award for her work with the Ripple Effect project.

Last year, she collected the This Girl Can Get Out Get Active Nottingham Inclusion Award for her voluntary work across the area.

Allyson joined the Ripple Effect project through Limbpower, one of the national disability sporting organisations that have supported the project to ensure that the inclusive programme is developed by disabled people.

Humbled and proud

After training to become a timekeeper and a judge, she has helped out at the British Masters Championships and the GoCardless Swim England National Winter Championships.

On her latest nomination, Allyson said: “I’m very humbled and proud to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award.

“I have throughly enjoyed being part of the Ripple Effect project – it’s been brilliant to help out poolside and encourage other people with disabilities to get into swimming and other activities.”

Ryan, who was also named as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category at last year’s Swim England National Awards, joined the Ripple Effect project through UK Deaf Sport.

Despite being profoundly deaf and autistic, Ryan has been a competitive swimmer for more than eight years and has also been training to become a timekeeper and judge – all while studying for an A-level in photography and a diploma in sports studies alongside caring for his mum.

Ryan, who has aspirations to become a swimming teacher, said: “I’m very honoured to have been nominated for this award.

“It’s been great to learn new skills and I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the project in the future.”

The Ripple Effect project, which is funded by the Spirit of 2012, aims to identify and overcome the barriers for disabled volunteers to get involved in aquatic sports.

Best of luck

Nicola Hughes, Swim England’s Ripple Effect project officer, congratulated Allyson and Ryan on their nomination.

“It’s great to see both Allyson and Ryan shortlisted for this award,” she said.

“They are both truly remarkable and an inspiration to their peers. They fully deserve to be recognised for their work and we wish them the best of luck for the awards ceremony.”

Meanwhile, the Somerset ASA has been shortlisted in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award category.

The nomination is for a YouTube documentary which was created by swim mum Andrea Brown and her son, Jack, to highlight he number of mental-health related challenges in youth sport and raise awareness of the issue.

More than 17,000 people have viewed the video, which is accompanied by a free ebook and the opportunity to take part in mental health first aid courses.

To find out more about the Ripple Effect project, please click here.

More details about the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreations Awards 2024 can be found by clicking here.