The Borders team scooped the Diversity & Inclusion accolade when recipients were announced this week in a virtual awards presentation.In the 2019-20 season, the Scottish Rugby annual awards structure was revamped and renamed the ‘Rugby Development Awards’.
However, in light of the domestic league coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s awards followed a new one-off format, focusing on the off-field efforts of clubs and schools across all five regions of Scotland over the last year.Awards winners were announced for five categories, including Community Champion Award (sponsored by SP Energy Networks), Diversity & Inclusion (Scottish Rugby), Young Person’s Award (Mitsubishi Motors), Charity Fundraiser Award, Inspiration Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award (all sponsored by Tennent’s).Gala YM were nominated by club member Dr George Jaramillo, who credited the club for the “immense patience, trust, openness and camaraderie” shown to him since he joined the team in 2019.Dr Jaramillo is an openly gay man and described how the club had helped to change his own pre-conceived notions of rugby, saying: “I have found the team members have always been supportive, open and encouraging. Yes, there will always be banter – however, I have never felt ostracised, belittled or prejudiced due to my sexual orientation.“Though this may not be a big deal, the simple gestures of inviting me to an evening out to the pub, taking the time to show me a tackling move or just to take part in a quick game of touch rugby, has been remarkably significant for me.”
The winners were announced via the respective region’s Facebook group, with recorded video messages delivered by Scottish Rugby’s rugby development team and Scottish Rugby president, Ian Barr.
Scottish Rugby East regional director, David Drummond said: “Our sport has faced so many challenges over the last year, yet players, volunteers and members of the rugby community in the East region have channelled so much energy into helping others.“We are constantly humbled by the incredible commitment those across our clubs and schools show not only for the sport, but for their local community, charities and other people. The winners completely typify this and I really can’t offer enough praise.”Mr Barr added: “We often say in sport that volunteers are the lifeblood of the game. This year, that hasn’t just been a saying.
"Rugby volunteers, players and committee members all over the country have shown with their actions, commitment, determination and inspiring acts of kindness just how true that is. I am pleased we have been able to recognise that impact and say thank you to everyone for their efforts with Community Recognition Awards this year.”
Each winner will shortly receive a personalised trophy and prize from the award sponsor.