Local athletes benefit from GLL Sport Foundation

Talented young athletes from Chiltern and South Bucks have been presented with funding awards from the GLL Sport Foundation to enable them to continue their sporting success.

The up and coming sports stars were celebrated at the Chiltern and South Bucks Foundation Awards which took place at the Beacon Sports Centre on 29 May.

This year, a total of 27 young athletes from Chiltern & South Bucks will be supported through the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, which this year marks its 10th year of support for today and tomorrow's athletes.

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. 

The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines.

With a staggering 90% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 72% 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.  

Chiltern District Council Chairman, Cllr Nigel Shepherd who gave a speech at the event said: "It is a privilege to meet such a talented group of young people. They are an inspiration."

South Bucks District Council Cllr Patrick Hogan said: "I was most impressed to see the wide range of talented young achievers in sport, and future national or Olympian stars in the making. Congratulations to the award winners and to the GLL Sports Foundation."

Lauren Cattell, a rugby player from the Chiltern district who is supported by GSF, said: "I have represented England at both 15s and 7s. I have over 20 caps in 15s having competed in Six Nations, European, Autumn International and Summer Tour competitions. I have been fortunate to be contracted as a professional rugby player since September 2016-2017. However, none of this could have been possible without the support GLL has given me to over the past couple of years, allowing me to train, work and study within a number of different places. The funding and support I have received in the past has without question proved extremely helpful and supportive when juggling professional sport alongside real life. To receive this support again will benefit me and my commitments to no end and as always I am forever grateful."

Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making. He said: "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; whether as a future champion inspiring the nation, sports coach, volunteer, fund raiser or as an inspirational role model to other young people to get active and involved in sport.

"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 16,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £9 million across the UK.