Badminton in Scotland is alive and flourishing – and nowhere is that more prevalent than Aberdeen, where new standards in getting everyone involved in the sport are being set.
Bucksburn Inclusive Badminton Session embodies the broad appeal and accessibility of the sport, and is a shining example of how shuttlers of all ages and abilities can compete in the same environment.
The session has been running for eight weeks at Bucksburn Academy and is attracting people who use wheelchairs, an amputee player, people with autism and children with learning difficulties who take on mainstream players, such as parents, siblings and guardians.
Such competition has meant the players are improving week by week and growing in confidence all the time, and the efforts of all involved have created terrific opportunities for people with disabilities and mainstream players in the north east of Scotland to come together and enjoy badminton.
The session, based on games and a focus on skills and technique, is open to all abilities and anyone over the age of ten can pick up a racket and take to the Bucksburn courts.
The idea was formed after consultation with Active Schools, Sport Aberdeen and Scottish Disability Sport. Discussions have begun about planning for next year with different options to make it a club in its own right.
Aberdeen is also the centre of BADMINTONscotland’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of Young Sports Leaders (YSL), with the area being the first in Scotland to roll out the YSL training to Active Schools.
The aim is to get Active Schools Coordinators throughout the country to be able to deliver the sessions themselves, allowing more young sports leaders to be trained across Scotland.
The Active Schools YSL programme, run by BADMINTONscotland regional development officers Jane Russell and Andrew MacKenzie, involves training coordinators on the skills, activities and games that the sessions encapsulate, with the coordinators leading the course themselves and the link up with after school clubs, community clubs, local badminton events and Big Hit festivals.
It is hoped school to club links will become stronger through the scheme and badminton in Scotland will grow further down the line.