Award winner Lewis McDermid talks in front of an indoor athletics track

A wee blether with… Lewis McDermid, winner of the Learning Disability Sport Achievement Award 2019

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SCLD caught up with Lewis and mum, Tracey, in Stirling, to see what he has been up to since the Learning Disability Awards…

SCLD – Congratulations again on winning the Sport Achievement Award. How did you feel when you knew you were nominated for a Learning Disability Award?

Lewis Thanks… honestly, I was just very surprised!

SCLD– What was it like when you went up to collect your award at the Learning Disability Awards ceremony?

I get shy in the limelight but feel happy inside when people say well done to me.

SCLD – What were your best bits about the night?

Lewis I enjoyed everybody else getting their awards and hearing other people’s stories… and the food…

Tracey I remember you ate my pudding as well as your own!

Lewis Yes [laughing] maybe…

SCLD – Yes we’ve certainly heard lots of appreciation for the food at the Learning Disability Awards! Would you say winning a Learning Disability Award has made a difference to your life?

Lewis Yes it has made a difference… it’s changed a few things – I’m planning to do more volunteering.

Tracey – Just there (before meeting SCLD) we met a teacher from Alva Primary, Lewis’s old primary school – the teacher told us that they have a photo of Lewis and the Alloa Advertiser* news article about him winning his Learning Disability Award, up on the wall in class! The article is also displayed in Banchory Primary, where Mr Kerr (the teacher who initially gave Lewis the confidence to try sport in Primary 7) is Deputy Head Teacher!

So it’s definitely given Lewis more opportunities to volunteer (in local schools) helping some first years with autism to move up and settle into high school.

Lewis I got two awards for Sport Achievement at the Alva Academy Prize giving in June, and also I collected the Sport Award for my house Merlin, which I’m House Captain for.

SCLD – What have you been up to since the Learning Disability Awards (in May 2019)?

Lewis – I’ve just started volunteering at N-Courage Martial Arts* – it’s a martial arts school in Alloa.

SCLD – What do you do in your volunteering role with N-Courage?

Lewis I help kids and adults with autism and other disabilities… if someone is new and doesn’t talk I build a relationship with them, and help them to come out of their shell. Then they can begin their martial arts training.

SCLD – How did you find out about N-Courage?

Tracey I work within the Disabilities Team in the local council and I knew about them from my work, as we would often make referrals there.

SCLD – Do you do Martial Arts training yourself Lewis?

Lewis Yes I’m into Martial Arts… I do MMA [Mixed Martial Arts], Judo and Kick Boxing.

Tracey – Lewis is in the Scottish Kick Boxing Team!

SCLD – Wow! Do you have any competitions coming up?

Lewis I’ve got the Everlast Scottish International Open in Kickboxing coming up in August and the ICO World Kickboxing Championships in October.

SCLD – Sounds very exciting – good luck! So are Martial Arts something you’d like to do in the future?

Lewis I quite fancy personal training as a job but don’t know in what sport yet.

SCLD – Well it sounds like you have plenty to choose from! N-Courage isn’t the only place you volunteer either, from what we’ve heard…

Lewis No, it isn’t – I volunteer at the Forth Valley Disability Sport 2020 Club [a sports youth club for children with disabilities]. I help out by doing a mixture of sports coaching, games and putting equipment out for them.

I also volunteer at Play Alloa [a programme for children and adults up to the age of 30, where activities include youth clubs, holiday clubs and one-to-one support when people are transitioning, e.g. from primary to secondary school].

I help with the play sessions for the younger ones [at Play Alloa]. When I’m at Play Alloa they all accept me and know me well. I enjoy helping Angela [a member of staff at Play Alloa].

SCLD – Sounds like you’re very busy Lewis! So what’s next?

Lewis I’m starting at college on a ‘Work Start’ course after the summer. It’s a mix of English, maths, sports and different life skills courses. So I’ll see how it goes…

SCLD – Well we wish you all the best for the future.

Before you go [Lewis is off to volunteer at N-Courage this afternoon] thinking about your experience of winning a Learning Disability Award, do you have anything you would like to say to other people with learning disabilities and/or autism?

Lewis – Just to try new things… you never know what might happen.

Thank-you to Lewis and Tracey McDermid.

You can watch a video of Lewis coaching Martial Arts here.

You can watch Lewis’s Learning Disability Award story here

*Find out more about N-Courage Martial Arts.

*Read the article covering Lewis’s Learning Disability Award here