Waltham Forest's GLL Sport Foundation Awards

Waltham Forest's GLL Sport Foundation Awards

46 talented athletes from Waltham Forest (list in attachments) will benefit from a £28,700 fund – thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL.  The athletes will be supported through the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, with over 2000 athletes across the UK. 2024 marks the 16th year of supporting todays’ and tomorrow’s athletes. To date it has provided £15,386,230 worth of cash and in-kind support to 28,146 athletes. Importantly, 88% of those athletes receive no other funding. 

There was approximately 40 people in attendance from athletes, parents, staff and London Borough Waltham Forest (LBWF). In 2023, there was an athlete panel our two ambassadors; world champion triathlete, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Paralympian table tennis medallist, Kim Daybell. This year, we talked to our Training athlete, Sonia Green, who is an elite rugby player with over 300 appearances for Saracens, winning 3 Women Premiership Titles, and other trophies with Sarries. Furthermore, Sonia has been captain of England A, playing in the Hong Kong 7s, winning the 7s World Series with England and playing in numerous 7s tournaments around the world for England, Samurai & Tribe. During the Question and Answer there was a focus on mental health and how Switch The Play can provide support or useful resources. Additionally, Sonia discussed how she is continuely improving each year to the surprise of her teammates and how doing a range of movements or exercises can help avoid injury.    

The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines. With a staggering 91% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 66% 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. 

Training athlete Giovanni Penatti who is in her second year on the programme said "It’s very inspiring to see people advance in the sport with the support of GLL, and I’m honoured to be on the same stage as all of them!"

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”.

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”

Supported athletes receive Award packages that include financial grants of up to £500, 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. 

Applications for the next cohort will open on the 20th December 2024.