2023 European Games diving gold medallist Desharne Bent-Ashmeil
The UK’s largest independent athlete support programme – the GLL Sport Foundation Awards – closes its applications on 20 February.
Talented young athletes from 65 areas across the UK are invited to apply for a range of support, including financial help, access to sports facilities, physiotherapy, lifestyle mentoring and mental health aid.
Now in its 15th year, the GLL Sport Foundation has so far contributed over £14m and distributed 26,000 awards to support young talented athletes on their sporting journey.
The programme supports young emerging talent, with the majority of athletes aged under the age of 21 and the largest group under 18 years old. Across the programme, 87% of athletes receive no other funding or athlete support.
The innovative scheme is provided by charitable social enterprise GLL and a number of partner sponsors and expects to award £1.2m worth of help in 2024 for successful applicants. Already a popular and essential support programme for athletes, the Foundation is expecting heightened athlete interest as training, equipment, travel and other costs continue to rise.
All successful applicants will be given access to the 250 sport and leisure facilities across the UK operated by GLL under its 'Better' trading brand. Applications are open until 20 February 2024.
World class facilities that can be used by GSF athletes in training include Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Copper Box Arena and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s White Water Centre, Ice Centre and VeloPark.
Over the past 16 years, GLL Sport Foundation supported athletes have excelled in major competitions and have gained 76 Olympic and Paralympic medals and 77 Commonwealth Games medals. Previous holders of GSF awards include Darryl Neita (athletics), Anna Hursey (table tennis), Charlotte Worthington (BMX), Alex Yee (triathlon), boxers Anthony Joshua, Aiden and Michaela Walsh, divers Tom Daley, Matty Lee and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, swimmers Tully Kearney, Susie Rodgers, Tom Dean and Ellie Simmons.
Peter Bundey, GLL Sport Foundation Chair, said: “There’s still time for talented athletes across the country to apply for our awards and take advantage of a unique opportunity to reach their sporting potential. Previous athletes tell us the awards provide a lifeline to individuals who want to compete at the highest level as well as helping local communities discover the opportunities and enrichment that comes through sport.”
GSF supported para tennis player Lily Mills, 23 said: “I’m really excited about the new round of GSF Awards - for all young athletes out there like me, these awards can make a huge difference to us staying in training and competing at the highest level.”