Applications are now open for talented young sports men and women from across the UK to apply for a share of a £1 million funding pot, out to help young sporting stars realise their dreams. Talented athletes have until 20th February 2015 to apply for financial awards of up to £1,250.
The funding is thanks to the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, operated by charitable social enterprise, GLL. With 76% of awards given to athletes under the age of 21, the programme works in partnership with sport national governing bodies through the national charity SportsAid to support the next generation of sporting talent.
In 2014, GSF supported 1500 athletes including 70 individuals competing at senior World, European and Commonwealth Championships - winning 46 medals for their Nations. GSF athletes included Conrad Williams, who capped off a brilliant 2014 with two gold medals in the 4x400m relay events at the Commonwealth Games for England and in the European’s for Great Britain.
Hot on his heels was 18 year old Laura Halford, who achieved three medals from the Commonwealth Games for Wales in the rhythmic gymnastic competitions. Laura emphasised the support the GSF provides, “The GLL Sport Foundation was massively helpful in my preparation for the Games and I am now a three time Commonwealth medal holder, it’s more than I could have imagined”.
GSF disability swimmer, 15 year old Amy Marren, kept the multiple medal rush going by winning an astonishing six medals at the IPC European Swimming Championships.
Sally Gunnell OBE, GSF Patron and former concurrent Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles title holder explains, “From my own experience, starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I understand how important support from the Foundation is to the realisation of sporting ambitions. Through the programme we are providing the next generation of athletes with tangible support to make a real difference to their sporting journeys”.
The GSF was launched in 2008 by Sally at the House of Commons. Since then, the programme has provided over 6500 athlete awards across 95 Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic sports with support worth over £3.8million. A massive 90% of GSF award recipients receive no other funding support, yet research by SportsAid shows average athlete annual expenditure is more than £6,000.
GSF Chairman, Peter Bundey states, “It is crucial that we support the talent and enthusiasm of our young sporting stars. We can help young athletes bridge the difficult leap from regional to national and international level as they start to become ready for senior competition”.
“We are delighted to continue to work in partnership with SportsAid, who provide vital links between us and national governing bodies of sport. Working with SportsAid ensures that our funding becomes part of the national talent development programmes, which is important for all sports and young sporting talent”.
SportsAid’s Chief Executive Tim Lawler adds, “Working with the GLL Sport Foundation enables us to help more young athletes and ensure the right people are funded at the right time”.
To be eligible for a grant, young sportsmen and women must live or be in education in a partnership where GLL or its partners operate; or be affiliated to a sports club that has a training base at a GLL or partner operated sport and leisure venue.
To find out further details of the scheme and apply please go to the GSF website at www.gllsportfoundation.org. Applications for 2015 awards are open until 20th February 2015.
Each of the successful applicants will benefit from financial and or training awards. Financial awards of up to £1,250 will support athletes associated travel, competition and equipment costings during the next 12 months. Recipients will also benefit from sports performance support and training awards that allow free sporting access to more than 140 sport and leisure venues managed by GLL and partners across the UK.