A partnership between Buckinghamshire Council and the GLL Sport Foundation has seen talented local athletes fulfil sporting history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Swimmer Tom Dean heads list of local hero medal winners and Olympians who competed at the delayed Games.
17 talented young athletes from across South Bucks- including swimmer Tom Dean - benefitted from financial support and free access to a comprehensive range of sport facilities across the UK, including local facilities in South Bucks.
The GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) was established in 2007 by charitable social enterprise GLL to support young sporting talent across the UK and help them maximise their sporting potential. The GSF is the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme with 3,000 athletes supported annually with access to almost 260 sport and leisure facilities.
GLL manages Better Leisure Centres on behalf Buckinghamshire Council and this arrangement provides the basis for the partnership with the GSF.
GSF athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines.
With a staggering 97% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 63% of recipients being aged under 21, the GLL Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing and National and international levels.
Tom Dean won two gold medals said: “I am proud to be supported by a Foundation that has helped so many talented athletes along their journey.”
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making. He said: “These last 18 months since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic have had an unprecedented impact on our lives and been hugely challenging for all involved in sport.
“With so many athlete preparations disrupted, we are proud of every one of the athletes and the part we and our sponsors and local authority partners have played in their sporting journey with Team GB.
“Since the Foundation began, we have now given nearly 20,000 athlete awards, totalling over £12million of support.
“This is possible because of our unique not-for-profit business model and it’s something our customers can also take pride in - because when they choose us they are supporting sport at grassroots level.”
GSF Patron and former Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell OBE said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the GLL Sport Foundation to have provided 89 athletes with support through their journey to Tokyo.
“It is a testament to the hard work athletes put in daily and highlights the impact that the support of programmes such as this can have.”
All eyes now turn to the Paralympics which begin on 24 August where GSF supports 18 athletes
• 18,000 athlete awards to 10,000 individual athletes made over 13 years
• £12million of financial support and in-kind sponsorship over 13 years
• GSF Patron is Sally Gunnell, OBE
• 45 GSF supported athletes went to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics in 2016. In total, they brought back 20 medals
• Appendix: full list of GSF Olympians and medallists
• Award-winning, staff-owned leisure and cultural charitable social enterprise is UK’s largest
• Operating since 1993 – now in Northern Ireland, Wales and England
• Manages a wide variety of leisure and cultural facilities from national elite sporting venues in QEOP and Manchester through to adventure play grounds in local parks
• Operates London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena in Legacy mode
• Provides expertise on Legacy operations that successfully include local community programmes