Boccia tournament for Ayrshire College students

Boccia tournament for Ayrshire College students

Ayrshire College students from the Supported Learning department came together at the Kilmarnock Campus for the first-ever boccia tournament between the three main campus teams.

Boccia is one of the sports that sits within the Ayrshire College Community Sports Hub (CSH). The Community Sports Hub designation is an important way to allow sportscotland, the National Governing Body of Sport, to see how partners work collaboratively to develop sport as well as develop people and communities through sport. Ayrshire College CSH brings a wide range of partners together working collaboratively to help drive the health and wellbeing agenda through sport. This is achieved by offering free activities in the College.

The success of this CSH developed aspirations from the college to open up the sports facilities to better engage the community through sports activities with a focus on increasing understanding of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Boccia is an inclusive precision ball sport, similar to bowls, that can be played by anyone regardless of age, gender, ability or disability.

HNC and HND Sport & Fitness students helped facilitate the event, which saw many of the participants take part in the growing sport for the first time.

Former Ayrshire College student Kayleigh Haggo, a gold medallist at the European Paralympic Youth Games and co-chair of Ayrshire Sportsability, was in attendance to lend her support as Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Event Coordinator. SDS’s Boccia Development Officer Josh Thomson was also at the event, and the two guests were thrilled to hand over the trophy to the winning team.

The Kilmarnock students came out on top after a full morning of competitive boccia, with Kilwinning coming a close second and Ayr not far behind.

Chris Boyce, Supported Learning lecturer at Ayrshire College, said: “It’s been a fantastic success. We’ve had some of our most vulnerable students taking part, which hasn’t really happened before. The most important thing is that this is the first cross-campus event for our supported education department. We’ve got two more boccia events planned, and then a football event. We’d love to eventually make this a national event for the sector, invite other colleges along and hopefully host a Scottish Colleges Championship here.”

Kayleigh Haggo, who was inducted into the College Development Network Hall of Fame last year as an HNC graduate of Ayrshire College, said: “It’s been great to see the three campuses come together, play boccia and have a great day. It’s important for everyone to realise that boccia can be played by anyone; it’s so inclusive, competitive and fun. It was a very good standard today, you could tell they’d put a lot of practice into this.”

Josh Thomson said: “My remit in my role is to grow the sport of boccia and create more opportunities in Scotland, and it’s fantastic to see Ayrshire College taking the initiative to put on an event like this. Bringing together students from different campuses, there’s no other event like this at the moment and I think it’s fantastic to see. This is what we want to achieve across the country.”

14 February 2023

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