A volunteer from Clackmannanshire has been recognised at an awards ceremony for her volunteer work in netball. 

Lauren Matthews (26) was awarded Young Volunteer of the Year at Sportscotland's Coaching, Officiating, and Volunteering (COV) Awards 2023. The COV Awards aim to celebrate those who enhance the lives of others through sport, as well as recognise the commitment of those who apply their own time to make sport more accessible. 

Lauren is the youngest chairperson of a netball local association in Scotland and she has contributed countless amount of volunteer hours to grow the sport. As part her work to increase participation, she launched the first ever local association netball social league, offering men and women the opportunity to play in regular competitive netball.

Lauren’s contributions to grow and professionalise the league over the last year has attracted over 500 new young women and girls and has seen 350 women return to the league. 

Not only has Lauren done so much for the sport, but she has managed to do it all while studying for a masters degree in mental health nursing. 

Lauren said: "I've been playing netball since I was four and I have always looked for new ways to get involved in the sport. Coming back from the Covid restrictions, I was asked to join the committee and then when the previous chair stepped away, I decided to take on that position last year.

"The launch of the social league last year, that was something that didn't exist prior to me, and it is the first of its kind ran by a local organisation in Scotland, so seeing that growth and acceleration in women wanting to play has just been incredible.

"I'm very much a person who likes to just get on with things in the background and see the result that comes out of it, but to be able to be recognised on a national scale is absolutely phenomenal." 

Sportscotland received 371 nominations in total covering 35 different sports across all 32 local authorities.