Billy took up figure skating 7 years ago at the age of 11. Billy currently skates for Achenharvie Figure Skating Club and is ranked number 2 in the world for inclusive figure skating.

Billy has a hearing impairment and cannot hear anything without his cochlear implants. When he is practicing his figure skating, Billy finds it increasingly frustrating as it takes him longer to pick up instruction from coaches than the other people on his team. The coaches need to have a face-to-face conversation with Billy every time to instruct him and so it takes longer than when coaches are able to shout instructions to athletes. During group sessions, Billy has to stay with his little sister so she can help translate, which he finds very frustrating as they always have to stay together.

Billy applied to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund for a number of things which will help him become more independent while still spending time within his community. To help with his figure skating, Billy applied for a specialised microphone for his coaches, extra skating lessons and equipment, along with flights and accommodation for a skating competition in Colorado.

Billy has also applied for a laptop which will help him to keep in touch with his friends who he doesn’t see a lot, along with driving lessons which will help him visit friends who live far away. These items will help Billy become independent while still spending time with his friends as well as taking part in his skating.

When we asked Billy about how this funding will change his life, he said:

“This money will help me improve my skating skills and get me to my first ever international competition abroad in Colorado this September. It’s all booked and I have been training hard. Without this funding I wouldn’t be able to go and represent my country. I am so happy and proud to be given this opportunity. Thank you so much ILF Scotland, watch this space!”

The ILF Scotland Transition Fund will continue to help Billy progress in his skating, learn new skills and make new friends. The long term impact of the grant will be tremendous for Billy and will help him to be independent, while keeping in touch with his friends who live far away.