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 opened on December 20th 2016 and close February 20th 2017, athletes from the Epsom & Ewell area are encouraged to apply in. Last year, the GLL Sport Foundation in partnership with Epsom and Ewell Council supported 48 local Epsom and Ewell athletes including GB para sailor Alexandra Rickham.

Alexandra stated how the GLL Sport Foundation has helped her through her sporting career, “My aim was to win a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Although I achieved bronze, the GSF award helped with the road to Rio and purchase of sails for the 2016 European race season.”

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 support, to the value of £6.1 million. 75% of supported athletes are under 21 and the programme supports athletes across all Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympics 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 focused on increasing these numbers towards Tokyo and onto the 2024 Olympic Games.

GLL Sport Foundation Patron Sally Gunnell explained 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 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 online

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