It is vitally important that we inspire young people to excel in sport and harness their talent towards future Games. 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.
Sally Gunnell OBE, Patron, GLL Sport Foundation
The GLL Sport Foundation is an organisation operated by GLL, a charitable social enterprise, helping young athletes. GLL developed the scheme to prevent sporting talent being lost due to financial hardship and the Foundation was officially launched in 2008. The Foundation prides itself on being athlete-focused and offers a support structure to achieve success.
The Foundation also aims to support athletes through the transition phases in their lives and provides access to training and coaching qualifications, as well as work placements and jobs within GLL. Linked to this full circle of support, the athletes play a core role in inspiring and engaging the wider communities in which GLL serve by attending local events.
The GLL Sport Foundation provides young British athletes with financial support and recognition through its partnership with SportsAid. Each athlete receives an annual award of up to £1,250 which contributes towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment. This year, the GLL Sport Foundation is helping 80 up-and-coming sports stars.
GLL provides athletes with a training membership enabling access to all its operated venues, thus enabling them to complete strength and conditioning programmes in their gyms, rehab work in the pool and skills practice in an environment local to them for both training and competition preparation. The Foundation also works very closely with sport science providers.
GLL has hosted a number of SportsAid events including two visits from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to the Copperbox Arena. The Duchess, who is the Patron of SportsAid, attended an athlete workshop in 2014, where young sports stars received guidance on nutrition, performance lifestyle and dealing with the media, and a Commonwealth reception in 2018.
Since the partnership began 11 years ago, the GLL Sport Foundation has enjoyed a number of success stories with Dina Asher-Smith and Lutalo Muhammad both high-profile previous recipients through SportsAid. The current cohort includes sailor Finn Hawkins, who is a Youth Olympic bronze medallist, and double junior world champion rower Calvin Tarczy.
“SportsAid and GLL have given me massive support and I’m grateful for everything they’ve done. They really have helped me an awful lot financially: getting up to and paying training, and making sure that I can get back safely. They’ve been a huge help and I’d have to say that without them a lot of the progress that I’ve had wouldn’t have been the case.”
Dominic Ogbechie is a high jumper who won gold at the European Athletics Under-18s Championships. He received a SportsAid award from the GLL Sport Foundation in 2018.
The Bank of Mum and Dad? That’s just the start! Being the parent or guardian of a talented young athlete is so much more. Taxi driver, personal assistant, sports psychologist, lead nutritionist…and that’s under normal circumstances. Their CV would have grown even further in recent times. School teacher, training partner, social media assistant…and their back garden or garage has probably become a gym! They really are the ‘team behind the team’.
SportsAid is here to bring YOU closer to the country’s most talented young athletes. Who are they? Where do they come from? What have they achieved? What challenges do they face? What are their long-term ambitions? We are going to offer insight and inspiration from our future sporting heroes as we share their stories through a series of written interviews, features and blog posts - alongside a regular stream of exclusive video content.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge joined SportsAid at the London Stadium last Wednesday (26 February) to champion the parents and guardians of talented young athletes and highlight the important role they play in British sporting success. The Duchess, who has been the Patron of SportsAid since 2013, also delivered a speech to guests where she shared her admiration for the parents and guardians.