94 talented young athletes from Lambeth will benefit from a £52,250 fund – thanks to the Lambeth Gifted and Talented Programme in partnership with the GLL Sport Foundation. The athletes will be supported through the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK managed by charitable social enterprise GLL, which this year marks its 10th year of support today and tomorrows athletes.
The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines. With a staggering 90% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 72% of recipients being aged under 21, the Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing at National and International levels.
Lambeth held an Awards Evening at Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday 1st June. 30 odd athletes were able to attend and representatives from GLL, GSF, and Lambeth Council were present. The Awards Evening finished with a display from many of the borough's GSF supported ice skaters.
Lambeth GSF Athlete and Commonwealth Games 2018 Olympic Weightlifting star Forrester Osei said: “The foundation allows both aspired and elite athletes like myself to focus on the tasks ahead of us. Whilst the therapy and recovery scheme ensures all supported athletes like myself are injury free and ready for competitions.
The foundation also ensure athletes like myself and young aspired have the financial support to assist with competition and other expenses, allowing us to not miss out on competitions”
Lambeth GSF Athlete and Athletics star, Kristal Awuah, spoke about the importance of the GSF programme: ““I’ve been working extremely hard over the last year to ensure that I am excelling as a professional athlete and I’m so proud of what I have already achieved. As I focus on the next phase of my career, I have to also balance the financial costs associated with training and competing. Receiving monetary awards and sponsorships are crucial to the sustainability of an athletics career, therefore I am so pleased to be a recipient of a GLL Sport Foundation Award. It’s organisations and initiatives like this that invest in British talent that will help myself, as well as future athletes, take their careers to the international stage.”.
Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, said: “This fund from Lambeth’s leisure provider GLL gives young athletes a real chance to make it to the top. A lot of really talented youngsters are in danger of not fulfilling their sporting potential due to a funding gap and it is programmes like GSF that help ensure that doesn’t happen. This support is so important in developing not just talent, but confidence and leadership, reaping success for Lambeth, and the UK, as proven by the recent record medals haul in Australia.”
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: “Sport is such an important element in our lives whether that be as an athlete; a coach or within the wide network of support, sport can and will continue to deliver so much for us. This was seen once again from the euphoria that gripped the Nation during the World Athletics Championships last year”.
“It was fantastic to see GLL Sport Foundation supported athletes deliver medal successes and others to break through to the international representative level. It is a core ambition for the Foundation to be successful in supporting both today’s and tomorrow’s athletes”.
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making: “The wealth of young sporting talent within our local communities is truly inspiring. We are delighted to play our part in supporting the development of sporting talent across in every region in the where GLL operate sports and leisure facilities. We believe that the vast majority of the athletes that benefit from the GLL Sport Foundation will give something back to sport and society in a positive way; whether as a future champion inspiring the nation, sports coach, volunteer, fund raiser or as an inspirational role model to other young people to get active and involved in sport”.
“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 16,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £9 million across the UK.
The Gold coast Commonwealth games were historic successes for home nations, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 18 medals won between the 60 athletes that competed.
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.