Twenty-one talented young athletes from Newcastle will benefit from a £13,050.00 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.  

Annalea Davison, a swimmer from Newcastle is one of the athletes being supported this year said “I will be racing in Edinburgh and Sheffield before the end of this year which will cost my parents £100s in accommodation and entry fees. Nutrition is a big part of what I in addition to physiotherapy and nutritional advice all of which my parents fund privately. Costs also include racing costumes which cost over £300 per costume. I go through at least 4 per year as well as my training costumes and other equipment. Any financial support is gratefully received and will help me and my parents considerably.”

Another Newcastle recipient in 2017 is international swimmer Jane Brown.  She said “I have been selected for British Swimming's Enhanced Transition Support (ETS) pilot that is aimed at providing transition support for podium potential athletes in Tokyo 2020. To compete in the Olympic Games is my dream and goal. This award provides a welcome contribution to travel expenses and replacement racing costumes. During training and competing, it is essential to stay healthy. As part of our training we undertake land training and strength and conditioning. The GLL award comes with membership of the local gym facilities. I feel that I am now at an age where I am likely to use this benefit. I was most grateful for the support of GLL last year and hope the support can continue to help me on my swimming journey.”

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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