GLL, the UK’s largest charitable, social enterprise and leisure operator has been supporting young sports people in Newcastle during 2018 through our funded athlete programme, the ‘GLL Sport Foundation’. 

As applications for the 2019 programme are opening soon, we’re taking a look back at some of the outstanding achievements from our North East 2018 recipients.

Case Study: Alfie Kelly

North East competitive swimmer, Alfie Kelly trains with the Newcastle Swim Team at Better, West Denton Leisure Centre.  Now an international competitor with several major titles under his belt, whilst still just at the start of his career, Alfie explains what the last 2 years have meant to him in his own words:

“2017 was a very successful year for me, becoming the 2017 British 200 Butterfly Champion and gaining 2 county records, which are really hard to achieve as the standard is very high.  The times had stood for over 20 years and in December 2017 I broke the 400 IM short course county record, which saw me placed No 1 in the British rankings for my age group.   It was a fantastic experience and I hope that it made my mother and my coach very proud.

I also achieved qualification to the England Winter Championships / Commonwealth Trials and qualified for the B final in 2 events.  This was a great start to my senior career, which had just begun due to my age.

During the 2017-18 swimming season I have progressed to international junior team selection, representing Ireland at the junior European Championships in Helsinki.

I became the Irish 1500 National Champion, representing Ireland in the 1500 freestyle, and 400 Individual medleys.  I have also been selected for the Irish performance pathway programme, with a view to potential further junior and senior selection at European, World and Olympic competition.

As well as the Newcastle Swim Club, I’m a member of the Dolphins Swim Club in Cork, supported by Head Coach Mick McCormack.  I’m also in daily contact with the Performance Pathway “in touch” programme, ‘Swim Ireland’ based at the National Aquatic Centre Dublin.

Getting help from GLL Sport Foundation gave me a great feeling; it allowed me to buy equipment and enjoy the support of a sponsor. When I win it’s the icing on the cake and reassuring to know GLL are behind me.

Swimming is a very demanding sport and requires dedication from not only myself, but my family too.  Family members transport me to swim training nine times a week, including five early mornings; I am fortunate that my school really supports my swimming too and allows some time away for training and competitions.

This grant has really helped my mum, who finances my swimming, as a single mother, the annual costs are very high and as such both my mum and my sister give up holidays etc to support me.  At present my mum works two jobs to keep me swimming and the additional support has been fantastic to help with equipment costs and costs associated with attending training camps, overseas camps and talent camps, as well as the cost of entering and travelling to galas.

The GLL Sport Foundation grant offers valuable support to young athletes and their families.”


To apply for the 2019 programme and to find out more, click the button below:

GLL Sport Foundation 2019


About the GLL Sport Foundation

The GLL Sport Foundation is an athlete focussed programme providing athletes across the UK with tangible support to aid their sports performance, including training membership access to over three hundred venues across the UK, access to physio and injury rehab and financial awards up to the value of £1,250.

Across the UK it is projected three thousand athletes will be supported in 2018; it will mark a special milestone for the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme as the programme turns ten years, over which period it will have provided sixteen thousand athlete awards at a value of £9million.

The Foundation is directly aligned to National Governing Body of sport talent pathways, and with National partnerships with SportsAid and the Mary Peters Trust it ensures that the right awards are provided to the right athletes at the right time. 

These partnerships ensure that the Foundation can make the most impact to athletes that are transitioning from national to international level and with 74% of athletes being aged under twenty one and 87% of athletes receiving no other funding support, the impact of the Foundation is significant.