Boxing gloves on a stone floor

Fighting for my rights!

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My right to take part in sport – making the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities real in my life! 

On the 26th February 2022, I’m about to take another step in my sporting journey and step inside the ring at the ‘Road to Glory’ Fight Night at Alloa Town Hall.

Lewis McDermott with medal

Lewis McDermid

The fight night is run by my martial arts club N-Courage and we are raising funds for Scottish Autism and my youth club, Play Alloa, which specifically provides social supports children and adults with disabilities.

These are two charities which are very close to my heart and help support my rights as a young person with autism.

My martial arts club N-Courage has been integral in supporting my rights, as it focuses on encouraging and supporting the participation of children and young people with additional support needs in sport.

When I was younger I never thought I’d be able to participate (let alone compete) in sport! I was always made to feel that because of my difficulties I would not fit in at sports clubs and events, and that understanding the rules of sport would be too challenging for me. However, at N-Courage I am fully included and accepted, as well as supported to aim high and reach my full potential.

I am so much more confident and independent than I was before I started attending N-Courage; I even volunteer as an assistant coach and help other children with autism build their confidence and skills through martial arts. I especially enjoy this as I know how they feel when they first start, as I felt scared and anxious when I first started my sports journey too. Because of my growth in confidence I have now almost reached my 500 hours of volunteering at N-Courage for a Saltire Award!

As a result of the positive experience I’ve had at N-Courage, I wanted to use this as my contribution to the Human Rights Town App by SCLD. Through being part of the App Development Group, I was able to share my story and use it to show how my human rights have been realised in real life by being a valued member of N-Courage. I think it would be great if there were more sports clubs in Scotland like this who focussed on the rights of those with a disability to participate and compete in sport!

I think it would be great if there were more sports clubs in Scotland like this who focussed on the rights of those with a disability to participate and compete in sport!

I am now so excited to be stepping into the ring again to raise funds for our chosen charities. There are a few more of my friends from N-Courage fighting too on the night as well as some of the parents – even my mum Tracey has taken up the challenge and will be fighting for the first time ever! We are a mother and son fighting duo! We have all been training really hard since October and it’s been a great journey, with both tears and laughter.

I’m really proud that I’m getting the opportunity to take part and on the night I’ll be fighting a worthy opponent for the N-Courage challenge belt. I can hardly wait and I’m looking forward to letting SCLD (and all of you) know how it goes on the night!

Lewis McDermid

Lewis is a member of the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities Human Rights Town App Development Group. Lewis has also helped to inform the Scottish Government on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Bill Incorporation (Scotland) Bill. In 2019 Lewis won the Sport Achievement Award part of the Scottish Learning Disability Awards. Lewis supports young people with autism to learn kick boxing.