I was honoured to meet Natasha Kerr from Catrine during Volunteers Week and to thank her for her amazing contribution to volunteering in Kilmarnock and Loudoun. Natasha has devoted over 800 hours to coaching children and young people last year with the Catrine Youth Club, Kilmarnock Harriers and East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities through her Ayrshire College course.
This alone is an amazing demonstration of her dedication to mentoring young athletes and by itself is deserving of recognition. However Natasha has overcome some challenging personal barriers in order to get to where she is, with having self-mutism and being on the autistic spectrum she can find it difficult to communicate.
Outside of the environment of coaching she can find it very uncomfortable speaking to people but in the role of mentoring young athletes her confidence and love of coaching shines through. Her achievements are a tribute to the Clubs and Ayrshire College for helping Natasha develop and grow in confidence so she can then in turn help develop the children and young people she coaches.
Natasha has already been awarded ‘Scotland’s Youth Worker of the Year’ and ‘Volunteer of the year’ by YouthLink Scotland, she has been nominated by the YWCA as one of the 30 most inspiring women under 30 in Scotland and is currently a finalist to The Herald Higher Education Awards.
I'm delighted that both the Kilmarnock Standard and the Cumnock Chronicle have also recognised Natasha's achievement in the local press recently, it is well deserved. Along with my thanks I hope Natasha all the very best for the future and firmly believe that she will make a huge difference to many children and young people, helping them grow into healthier, happier and more self confident individuals.