A BALLINGRY sports coach who has given youngsters the chance of a slam dunk has been nominated for a national award.

Sharp-shooter Ewan McTurk, an ambassador mentor at Shell Twilight Basketball in the area, has been shortlisted for the Aspiring Leader accolade at the sportscotland Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) Awards 2020.

The prizegiving ceremony, which will be held on February 28 in Glasgow, showcases how sport can be used for positive social change, and celebrates the commitment of the young people who engage in sport through SSF, and those who have supported them.

Not only does Fife College student Ewan, 21, lead basketball sessions and make the young people who take part feel at ease, his commitment to sourcing a new venue recently has ensured they have been able to continue.

When asked why he wanted to continue leading the sessions, he explained: "There are lots of young people walking around the streets without anything to do, so I wanted to provide them with a safe, social environment where they can have fun and play basketball.

"It makes me feel great when I see a difference being made in a young person's life because it shows that I have done a good job, that they have gained trust in me and they always have a smile on their face.

"It feels good seeing young people with a basketball at the local court, it shows me that I have made an impact on them, and they are willing to try something new."

Over the past 20 years, SSF is a charity whose work has supported communities were people are vulnerable or at risk, and its local and national programmes provide tailored pathways to positive destinations, enabling young people to fulfil their potential and widening opportunities for all.

Kirsty McNab, SSF CEO, commented: "What better way to celebrate our 20th birthday year than coming together to celebrate and be totally inspired by the most incredible young people and those who work tirelessly to support them.

"We are over the moon to have sportscotland as our title sponsors for our awards night as together we work to profile the transformational effect that sport coupled with a youth work approach can have in some of our most challenged communities. Young people are leading the way in challenging perceptions, overcoming statistics and proving that sport changes lives."

Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, added: "We are delighted to be teaming up again with Scottish Sports Futures to celebrate the work being done through their initiatives up and down the country.

"Putting young people at the centre of our efforts is a crucial part of what we do. As the national agency for sport we believe strongly that young people should have a voice in sport and be able to access great opportunities and learn important skills."