A dedicated volunteer at Disability Sports Coach has received the 2023 Community Southwark Disabled Volunteer of the Year award.
Alex Blayden, 25, joined the charity’s Club Southwark at the age of 16 to play sport.
Alex, who is autistic, has always loved sport, so joined Disability Sports Coach’s club in Southwark.
He excelled at all sports while at the club and soon took on the role of volunteer, supporting disabled club members to participate in activities.
The Castle Leisure Centre-based club is open to people with physical and learning disabilities, as well as sensory needs and is one of 10 award-winning inclusive sports clubs run by Disability Sports Coach across London.
Members play a variety of sports at the clubs including basketball, boccia, tennis and football.
Alex’s tireless volunteering has now resulted in him landing a role as paid coach with Disability Sports Coach. He said: I’m very happy to be a paid coach. It shows my confidence in my abilities and that I can do a great job.”
Alex added: “I like delivering sports sessions and adapting sport so that everyone can play. It’s good to give members tactics and techniques to improve their performance too.”
He is passionate about disability inclusion in sport and said: “Disabled people need to be able to play sports, not just non-disabled people.
“They need to practise sport with friends just like anyone else – when you’re playing sport you never feel alone.”
Peter Ackred, CEO of Disability Sports Coach said: “We are thrilled that Alex has won the Community Southwark Disabled Volunteer of the Year award.
“He has been simply extraordinary as a volunteer and made a fantastic contribution to the success of Club Southwark.
“Alex has grown in confidence and ability, achieving his Inclusive Activity Leader qualification and becoming a paid coach in his own right.
“He started his journey with us as a volunteer and now he has a career, which shows that volunteering is not only rewarding but can lead to great things.”