Jay moved from England to the Western Isles in November 2021 to live and work. Having been involved in helping to run and organise badminton activities down south, Jay offered his help volunteering and was warmly welcomed by his local club near Stornoway – he now plays regularly at the Stornoway badminton club.
Jay tells us about the culture and set up of badminton in Stornoway: “Competitive badminton was very successful on the Western Isles for many years and participation very high at community halls right through to the modern larger facilities we have. It is evident that some incredible hard work was done by a great number of people over time to maintain this.”
Due to a number of recent factors, Jay says that the development of players, competition, as well as overall general participation has lessened over time in most areas, with the exception of some southern islands such as Barra who have a great set up.
A boost for the badminton community
Jay has been working with a range of people and partners over recent months to try and re-energise the badminton infrastructure through the Western Isles going forward.
This has involved liaising with the local sports officers and centre managers and our new Regional Development Officer (RDO) Brian Donaldson from Badminton Scotland. Jay has also taken time to travel across the Western Isles to look at how badminton clubs operate and see what might be needed to help in their development.
Jay tells us: “Some very exciting things are now happening. We have a badminton singles ladder starting very soon based in the Isle of Lewis, a doubles one in the making and we are hoping to roll these out to the other islands. The local leisure centre in Stornoway has been amazing in its assistance in every way.”
“We are hoping to organise a Western Isles open competition, which hasn’t taken place for a number of years, have challenge matches across the islands and hopefully further afield at some point onto the mainland. We already have a Scottish mainland team planning to come up in November 2022 for a challenge match.”
Jay and the Stornoway badminton club would love to hear from any clubs throughout the mainland and islands of Scotland that may want to come and play against them for challenge matches, and of course a nice social event afterwards. The club may even be able to assist with low cost accommodation subject to availability. The Western Isles are a truly beautiful place to visit if players choose to take in the sights too during their stay.
Jay has also been influential in putting together a large squad of dedicated players to coach and develop over the next twelve months, from which players will be selected for the International Islands Games Event in Guernsey 2023, where Jay will be Team Manager. The training began in September 2022 and was a really positive experience for those that attended it seems, and they are looking to bring in expert coaches to help players improve.
Jay says, “We have entered this competition twice before and are now hoping that each time going forward we can improve our standards and performance.”
Increasing participation in Scottish badminton
There is certainly a feeling of excitement across the Western Isles again about badminton.
Jay says “One of the ways we have tried to increase participation and general interest across the islands for badminton is to make the sport and the limited number of clubs we currently have more visible to the public. This includes to perhaps visitors to the islands who may want to pop down for a club night experience.”
Jay and his team have created a buzz around badminton in their area which is enabling them to create an identity, allow people to feel part of something good and to attract the wider public’s interest. The team have done this using social media, chat groups, designing club logos and producing team kits.
They have also used traditional methods of advertising such as placing notices within the leisure centre about badminton activities and the clubs that operate – they have also kindly agreed to start stocking feather shuttles for purchase by the public and clubs.
The development of juniors and youth players is the ultimate goal further down the line which is an exciting prospect. Jay and the team are looking at options to hopefully get new coaches trained up by Badminton Scotland.
“These things will become more realistic once we get more people involved in the coordination of badminton across the islands, by working tighter within the Western Isles Badminton Association which has been dormant for some time.” – Jay Moran
We’d like to say a huge well done to Jay and the work of the team up in the Western Isles who are making big steps for the future of Scottish badminton!
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