More than 2,500 talented young athletes from across the UK will benefit from a £1,400,000 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 more than 115 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.
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.
Rio 2016 silver medallist and GSF ambassador Lutalo Muhammad highlighted the role the programme plays throughout an athletes journey, “GLL is a fantastic organisation that paves the way for ordinary young people like myself to compete at the highest level. When I first started to compete internationally GLL was my only source of funding and I can sincerely say without GLL I would not have transitioned from a skinny kid that loved sport – to an Olympic medallist. I’ll never forget the help I received. Now, as a GLL Sport Foundation Ambassador I have supported numerous community and corporate events, speeches and workshops which I thoroughly enjoy and hope to continue to do to advance Olympic sports and inspire an active purpose filled lifestyle for all”.
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.