Fifty-three talented young athletes from Cumbria will benefit from a £35,150.00 fund – thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL.  The athletes will be supported through the ground breaking GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK.

The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines. With a staggering 89% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 73% of recipients being aged under 21, the Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing and National and international levels.  

Steph Driscoll, a heptathlete from South Lakeland is one of the athletes being supported this year said, “My aspiration is to represent Team GB at the 2024 Olympics. Due to my location, I have to travel twice a week from Kendal to Liverpool for specialist combined events coaching. I also need strength and conditioning training locally throughout the week. My diary for 2017 consists of a number of national events, each one of which involves a 400 mile round trip and an overnight stay. Mum works part-time and Dad is retired, so the costs are a concern. Heptathlon requires at least five different specialist shoes, besides other equipment ranging from starting blocks to a javelin. The financial award would help with equipment costs, while the athlete training membership would enable me to use the great new facilities at the Better Gym at Kendal Leisure Centre.”

GSF Patron and former Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell explained the core role the GSF takes in supporting the next generation of athletes and thus ensuring a sporting legacy is in place for future generation:  “It is vitally important that we inspire young people to excel in sport and harness their talent towards future success.

From starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I know that support through your development years is crucial. I am delighted that through this programme I am able to champion such support for future sporting talent”.

Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making: “Congratulations to all of the athletes receiving awards. We know first hand the commitment, effort and sacrifices they are making to perform at their best.

I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for their support for the programme. SportsAid, SportsAid Wales and Mary Peters Trust provide the direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways, whilst our many corporate sponsors headlined by GLL and Technogym, numerous local authorities, university and physiotherapy partners directly contribute to support these sporting dreams to become a reality”.

Since its launch in 2007, the GSF has provided over 13,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £7.5million across the UK.

The Rio Olympics and Paralympics were a historic successes for Team GB, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 20 medals won between them.  

Supported athletes receive Award packages that include financial grants of up to £1,250, free training memberships enabling access across 300 GLL and partner operated sporting venues along with access to sports science, medical support and employment opportunities all focussed towards supporting their athlete journey. 

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