Gavin is a talented young athlete and has been recognised for winning various medals in swimming and athletics for both mainstream and disability clubs. He trains with the Scottish Senior Swim Team for Athletes with a Disability and in 2017 he won gold in all of the events he entered at the Scottish Senior Championships for Swimmers with a Learning Disability.
Being on the Autistic Spectrum, Gavin struggles with communication and has a limited social life. The swimming and athletics communities provide him with a stable and secure environment to meet friends and mature as an adult while keeping fit.
Gavin’s goal is to be selected for the GB Paralympic Squad, as well as continuing to train in athletics so that he can reach his full potential as a long distance runner. In the longer term, Gavin would one day like to become a sports coach for children and adults with disabilities.
To reach his goals, Gavin applied to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund to pay for swimming and athletics fees, personal fitness fees, his uniform and a ski trip to Italy with Abercorn High School.
Funding from ILF Scotland for extra training and fitness sessions, will help Gavin to reach his goal of being selected for the GB Paralympic Squad. The one off trip to Italy will provide Gavin with invaluable life skills to become an active member of his community by increasing his confidence to build social skills, as well as his independence, which he will be able to use in everyday life and will help him on his way to becoming a sports coach.
Gavin said, “I applied to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund to gain funding for my swimming and athletics fees for the upcoming season, along with a ski trip later this year. I hope that these activities will help me gain the confidence and independence I need to become a sports coach and member of the Team GB Paralympic Squad.”
During the Easter holidays, Gavin used some of his funding from ILF Scotland to take part in a Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) National Pool Lifeguard course. The course will provide him with essential life skills, such as First Aid training, which will allow him to work in the leisure industry. This is another step helping Gavin towards his long term goal of becoming a sports coach.
Gavin’s next competitions are the Aberdeen University International meet at the end of April and the British Paralympic international Swimming Championships in Sheffield at the start of June.
ILF Scotland funding will enable Gavin to continue to attend competitions and will be a valuable stepping stone to achieving both of his overall goals. The long term impact for him will be life changing, providing Gavin with the vital skills to develop a career in sports coaching, with the hope of being selected for the Team GB Paralympic Squad.