An Irvine basketball player and coach has had his tireless work recognised after winning a top sport award.

Declan Macdougall received the Outstanding Achievement Award at the sportscotland Scottish Sport Futures Awards last week.

Seventeen-year-old Declan attends Twilight Basketball in Irvine, a Scottish Sport Futures (SSF) programme designed to give children a safe environment to enjoy sport for free.

The former Greenwood Academy pupil, who has suffered from anxiety, admits there were times when he would struggle to control his behaviour but that his time at Twilight Basketball has helped to change his life.

His impressive work there as a player, a coach and an ambassador has been rewarded with the Ian Reid SSF Outstanding Achievement Award at the sportscotland Scottish Sport Futures Awards 2019.

Declan said: “Some big aspects of where and who I am now wouldn’t be the same without Twilight Basketball.

“They just helped me with so much, between the staff and other players, they made my life so much better.

“Basketball means everything to me. There was point when my anxiety got so bad that I wasn’t going to school, and it was reflecting how I was at basketball. “I feel like becoming an ambassador is probably my proudest moment.”

The sportscotland Scottish Sport Futures Awards 2019 took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on February 8 and showcased how sport can be used for positive social change and celebrate the incredible commitment of the young people who engage in sport through SSF and those who have supported them throughout the year.

Declan’s mentor John Bell was also nominated for the Role Model of the Year award.

He said: “I’m truly humbled. My work there was about the group and using a ‘sport for change’ model to help the young people not only improve in sport and fitness but also in their own confidence and abilities.

“It’s very flattering to reach the final of such a prestigious awards but to be honest I take more joy from the attainment of community awards the young people achieved.”