Ahead of our inaugural Scottish Volunteer Awards, being hosted at the home of Livingston FC on Thursday 28 April, we’re speaking to some of our amazing volunteers in Scotland that make our clubs possible.

Sponsored by Iron Mountain amongst others, the awards evening will celebrate the fantastic efforts and achievements of our volunteers who have gone above and beyond to keep our clubs running during the Covid-19 pandemic, but to also highlight how volunteers can make a difference to the lives of older people across Scotland.

We caught up with volunteer Iby Robertson, who has been part of our Dunbar club since 2017. Iby began by explaining how he initially got involved in our club at Dunbar as a member.

“I’ve been a volunteer since 2017, but I went to the club in Dunbar initially as a very good friend of mine had early on-set dementia, and he wouldn’t get out of the house at all, and I wanted somewhere we I could take him.

“So, we were part of the group for a couple of years before my friend sadly passed away. But I stayed as part of the group as I enjoyed it.

“I always say that I don’t run the club, we all run the club in our own way, but I’m just the one who asks the questions! Everyone gets involved and stuck in and we all have a laugh and make the most of our time together. I must say that I love it, the interaction with the guys and girls, and I enjoy helping people if I can. Someone once said to me that I’m a giver, not a taker, and I think that’s correct because I like to see others being happy.”

Iby enjoys the friendship and camaraderie side of the Dunbar club and he believes the success of the group over the past five years would not be possible without that spirit.

“I do get a lot of pleasure out of it and a lot of the members will say to me that I’m the backbone of the club, but I say to them ‘no, you’re the backbone of the club’. A club is a group of people, it’s not about one individual.

“That’s what you get through sport. If you get a team spirit, where everyone is in it together then you can build something great and that’s why I think our club works so well for us and the local community.”

Thanks to Iby, the club has had several prominent guests from the local community visit the sessions which has offered a diverse perspective of sporting memories.

“We’ve got a young lady who is a brilliant ambassador for the Dunbar club, Maria Lyle - she’s a Paralympian Sprinter who I’ve known from when I worked at a local school.

“She won medals at the Paralympics (Tokyo 2022) and came back home to a great reception locally and the very next morning she was at our club to show her medals off to the members. Maria took her time to explain the difference between the events and the medals in comparison to the Olympic medals – and how they make a difference noise when you shake them.

“Considering at the time she was only 20, it was just fantastic and I know a lot of the guys love her when she comes in to chat. I think we’ve got a great rapport with the local community and everyone helps us out.

“Also we had Neil Martin, former player for Hibernian and Sunderland, come and join us for a session – and he’s 85 now. He came in and told us stories of his career and I thought it’s brilliant that we’ve got such an age range of great people who have come in to chat to our members.”

Finally, we asked Iby for his words of advice for anyone wishing to volunteer at a Sporting Memories club in the future.

“If anybody sees us and wondered what we’re all about – I would say get yourself along and check it out. It’s one of the best things I’ve done since I retired. I knew when I retired, I wanted to help people locally and this has been the perfect thing for me to do.

“I’ve never been a bookies man, but I would say that it’s odds on that if you go and visit a club, you’ll be back again another time!”

If you would like to find out more about how you can volunteer for Sporting Memories, visit here: https://www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com/why-volunteer-with-us