Nottinghamshire County Council is playing its part to ensure the local current and future sports stars have the financial support they need by launching the 2017 Grant Aid Sports Fund for Talented Athletes this week.
The fund provides grants to help the county’s most talented sportspeople to overcome the financial hardship that can come with competing at the top level in sport.
Grants of up to £400 are available for sportspeople of all ages, provided they have represented their country in a sport recognised by Sport England within the last eight months and/or are ranked in the top five nationally in their age group.
Funding can be provided for a variety of uses, including specialist coaching, competition entry fees and extra equipment.
Applications can be made now at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/talentedathletes, the closing date being 5pm on Monday, July 17.
Previous local sports stars to have received the funding, include gymnasts, Sam Oldham, Becky Downie and Ellie Downie, swimmers Ollie Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw, athlete Richard Whitehead, show jumper Sophie Wells and rising tennis star Freya Christie.
Councillor John Cottee, chairman of the Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The success of sportsmen and women from Nottinghamshire puts our county on the map and inspires countless other people to take part in sport and get active.
“But we know that sporting success does not come cheap, with sponsorship and the bank of mum and dad only stretching so far. We want to give Nottinghamshire athletes every possible advantage in reaching and maintaining the very top level in their sport.
“The County Council has a long record of supporting both sports clubs and talented individuals. I am proud that this continues to contribute to the amazing success enjoyed by lots of Nottinghamshire’s sporting stars and teams over many years.”
In total, 43 Nottinghamshire sportspeople received a talented athlete grant in 2016/17.
Georgie Boyce (18), a female cricketer from Hucknall, also received a grant in 2016/17.
The all-rounder, who has represented England Women’s Senior Academy, Nottinghamshire and Loughborough Lightning, said: “I am lucky to be sponsored by Gunn and Moore, who provide all my cricket equipment but there is stil a huge outlay for coaching, travel and playing which the County Council grant has gone a long way towards helping me with.”
Lee Thompson (20), a 400m runner from Carlton in Lindrick, Bassetlaw, was another Talented Athlete grant recipient in 2016/17.
Already this year, Lee has surpassed his early season goal by reaching the 400m final at the British Senior Indoor Championships, where he landed the bronze medal. He’s also won titles at the Senior 200m Notts Championships, the Senior 400m North of England Championships this year, with the Under-23 national championships next on the horizon this weekend.
Lee said: “The County Council grant has not only helped me financially, but has also boosted my confidence as it assures me that I’m being backed not just by my family and coach, but also the wider community.
“Monthly costs for kit and facilities alone can be up to £60, but the biggest outlay is for travel and accommodation because competitions can be down in Bedford or up in Birmingham - the grant has been a saviour in that respect!”