Why Kiloh Mackintosh, who appears on Aberdeen’s new TSB Local Pride mural, is keeping his options open
It was only a year ago that 17-year-old Kiloh left school, but he already regrets leaving early. He was unemployed, and all his spare time was spent hanging around at home, playing games on his computer. So his nan, Maria Mackintosh, decided to step in. She read about Streetsport, a community-focused sports programme, on Facebook and thought it would be perfect for Kiloh. He went along one evening and had a ball.
“My first ever Streetsport session was on a Friday night, at the AstroTurf pitch in Northfield, and it was amazing,” says Kiloh. “Now I volunteer at three different sessions a week, and I’ve done 130 volunteering hours already this year.
“We usually just join in with the football games, but on Wednesday night I referee and help to manage the kids. At other sessions, I also keep an eye on what’s happening across different pitches. I love it.”
Kiloh has met lots of new people through Streetsport, and made new friends, too. He also tries to promote Streetsport whenever he can, which is why the teenager is one of the stars of a new mural in Aberdeen to celebrate Streetsport’s recent Pride of Sport TSB Community Partner Award.
The mural was painted by Peter Barber, a member of the Graffiti Kings collective. It was commissioned by TSB to recognise the positive impact the initiative has had on local people’s lives.
“We rely on our volunteers and it’s so rewarding to see kids like Kiloh giving back to their own communities,” says Streetsport’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Williams. “Kiloh used to walk with his head down, whereas now he walks tall, with his head and shoulders held high. That’s really important in a young person. His aspirations have been raised and he’s on a positive pathway now.”
Kiloh’s transformation is no surprise to his nan. “He just loves helping people,” says Maria. “I’m so proud of him and what he’s achieved. His confidence has really grown recently, and he’s a much happier person. The mural is such a lovely way of showing Kiloh, and his fellow volunteer, Rachael, that their efforts are appreciated.”
Meanwhile, Kiloh continues to look forward. After considering a career in construction, he has decided that he’d like to be a sports administrator. He plans to study sport and leisure at college in Aberdeen next September, and he hopes all his volunteering experience will pay off.
“Volunteering makes me feel amazing,” he says. “It has been a crazy journey – especially these last few months – but Streetsport has helped me a lot. I’m much more confident about speaking to people, and my fitness has improved, too. I’m definitely keeping my options open in future.”