Education: Larbert High School
Coaching and volunteering: Coach at Tryst Community Sports Club, swim teacher for Falkirk Community Trust
Club: Falkirk Otters ASC
Hobbies: I am a proud member of Lady Business. We are an action group committed to combatting the issue of period poverty in Scotland.
Proudest achievement: As a member of Lady Business we were able to implement free sanitary products in every toilet in Larbert High School! We were even recognised on German news channel ARD for our achievements.
Future aspirations: This year I’m completing my UCAS application and I’m looking to do an undergraduate degree in Scots Law.
Interesting fact: I go by Tilly but my real name is actually..... Matilda! So technically I’ve got a permanent nickname.
Q&A with Tilly
What sport are you involved in and what is it that you love about it?
I have been swimming for Falkirk Otters ASC since the age of 9. I trained and competed all through my school years and made some incredible friends. Being involved in swimming meant that I took an interest in coaching and began to coach for Tryst Community Sports Club at their annual holiday camps. The Tryst offers a range of sports to the attendees of the camps. This meant that I gained experience in a huge range of sports.
What motivated you to be part of the Young People’s Sport Panel?
I was motivated to join the Young People’s Sports Panel because it seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for equality and creating change with my passion for sport.
What do you think of the YPSP so far and what work are you involved in?
So far, the YPSP has been an incredible experience. As a young person it’s very rare to feel genuinely heard and valued by an institution with influence like sportscotland. It’s so positive to be surrounded by other young people and staff who are so passionate and motivated to create positive change. I am a part of the ‘Inclusion’ project group and we are currently focussing on how we can make sporting venues more accommodating for those with disabilities. In October 2020 I took over sportscotland’s Instagram story to promote Women and Girls in Sport.
What do you think are (some of) the big challenges facing young people in Scotland today?
I feel young girls are often discouraged from taking part in any extracurricular activities, but especially sports. There are social and societal pressures that push young girls from being passionate about physical activity, but there are also physical barriers. I have done a lot of work to tackle the issue of ‘period poverty’ in Scotland and I feel there is a link between this and girls’ participation in sport. Without access to proper menstrual education and sanitary products, these barriers will always exist.
How do you think sport can help support young people in Scotland?
Sport builds confidence, perseverance, and passion. No matter what level you take part in physical activity, it has so many benefits. It can be an outlet of expression, something to focus on and channel your energy into. However, sport creates community. The people you are surrounded with when involved in physical activity can be the greatest support system you have.
If you could change one thing about sport in Scotland, what would it be?
I would have any young people who are beginning to progress to a competitive level within their sport, given mental health training. All too often, young people are shown how to let their body recover from the strains of competing, but not their mind. I would hope that this would increase participation in competitive sports to a later age and keep young adults involved in their sports.
Is there a role model who inspires you? What is it about them that you admire?
Ellie Simmonds OBE is someone I admire within sport. Competing at an Olympic level at such a young age she is a role model to all young people that you can achieve your goals at any age if you are determined enough. Her continued work with WaterAid and Dwarf Sports Association after retiring shows truly how much more sport can do for a person than just train them physically, she is now able to make a difference in the world because of her participation in sport.