Charitable Social Enterprise GLL has positively backed the next generation of athletes with the announcement it will invest over £5million into athletes across the UK through its athlete support programme the GLL Sport Foundation within the Tokyo cycle.

GLL is the UKs largest leisure operator, leading Social Enterprise and athletes across its network of 61 areas of the UK will be able to benefit from support. Applications for the programme open on December 20th 2016 until February 20th 2017 and athletes from the Newcastle area are encouraged to apply in. Last year, the GLL Sport Foundation in partnership with Newcastle City Council supported 13 local Newcastle athletes including up and coming swimmer Georgia Darwent.

Georgia stated how the GLL Sport Foundation has helped her through her sporting career, “The help I received allowed me to access additional support services that were not accessible in my home programme.  As someone who is approaching senior level swimming, I feel it is important to have an integrated training programme that includes sports science/medicine support services, to enable me to reach my long term goal of competing at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.”

The GLL Sport Foundation is the UKs largest independent athlete support programme and directly partners SportsAid, Mary Peters Trust and SportsAid Wales and through these partnerships provides tangible support to athletes across the UK that are within National Governing Bodies of Sport talent pathways from a junior to senior level.

Since the programme launched in 2008, 10,600 athlete awards have been provided at a total support value of £6.1 million. 75% of supported athletes are aged under 21 and the programme supports athletes across all Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic sports. 

The programme supported 59 and 45 athletes that competed at the Games in London and Rio respectively winning 33 medals combined, and with this announcement GLL are focussed on increasing these numbers towards Tokyo and onto the 2024 Games.

GLL Sport Foundation Patron Sally Gunnell explains the role the programme has to play “The support from the GLL Sport Foundation is essential for young athletes, and can sometimes be the difference between being talented, and taking the sport up to the elite level. I have experienced first hand the financial struggle of being on the fringes of elite sport, and support programmes such as the GLL Sport Foundation relieves some of the burden so that more time can be spent on performing at the highest level possible”.

Athletes from across the UK can apply for support through the GLL Sport Foundation via the online portal - www.gllsportfoundation.org, applications close 20th February 2017. 

Supported athletes access financial support, training membership support to Better leisure centres across the UK and also sport science and physiotherapy programmes.