GLL – the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise contracted to run leisure services in North Kesteven – is once again showing its commitment to improving health, wellbeing and opportunity in the communities it works in, by supporting the next generation of athletes to the tune of £1.2 million via its sports foundation.
The GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) is the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme. Since it launched in 2008, the programme has provided more than 18,000 athlete awards, with a total financial value of £12.1 million.
Applications for the programme are open until February 20th, 2022, and athletes from the North Kesteven area are encouraged to apply at: www.gllsportfoundation.org
Last year, in partnership with North Kesteven District Council, it supported 17 North Kesteven athletes, including Ross Phillips, Team GB wakeboarding captain.
Ross said the GLL Sport Foundation has helped him through his sporting career, “As Captain of the GB Boat wakeboard team, I am constantly striving to perform at my best to set an example to the more junior members of the team about performance and conduct. On the water success is directly linked to the hours of preparation off the water, both physical and mental.
Having access to amazing facilities ensures I can maintain my momentum in training, ensuring I perform to my best at every opportunity. Having access to training facilities and equally the respite facilities would allow me to prepare fully prior to all my 2022 events ensuring I maintain performance.”
Cllr Steve Clegg, North Kesteven District Councillor with special Executive Board interest in leisure said:
“We are delighted that through the ongoing contract we entered into with GLL in 2018 to run our leisure centres and community sports outreach, we are able to support aspiring athletes through the GLL Sport Foundation.
“As a charitable social enterprise with which we are partnered, GLL commits to invest in the development of sportsmen and women and we would really like to see local athletes apply and be successful in the receipt of training funds and wider support, as 17 local individuals were last year.”
“This includes RAF Corporal Ross Phillips, captain of Team GB Wakeboarding team who regularly accesses our fitness facilities in Sleaford.
“As a Council we are committed in providing opportunities for everyone to be more active more often and I would encourage everyone, however fit and active they consider themselves to be at present, to look into the provision offered by GLL Better at our gyms, pools and sports halls as well as in the community; the dance classes for all ages and abilities at The Hub; and programmes for guided and self-led walking through the Countryside NK services run by Hill Holt Wood – as well as other opportunities wherever they live.”
The foundation provides athletes across 65 areas of the UK with financial help, physiotherapy, a ‘Better’ Gym membership and more. In the wake of a difficult two years, GLL continued with the programme in 2020 and 2021, investing in the development of local talent aspiring to follow previous supported athletes such as Susie Rodgers, Dina Asher-Smith and Lutalo Muhammad.
In 2022, GLL is investing over £1.2 million into local athletes aiming to follow in the footsteps of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medallists such as Joe Choong, Matty Lee and Tully Kearney. Last year, 63% of supported athletes were aged under 21 and the programme supports athletes across all Olympic, Paralympic, Deaf and Special Olympic sports. Most importantly 96% of the athletes supported do not receive any other funding.
GSF athlete Joseph Choong won the Gold Medal in the Modern Pentathlon at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Commenting on the support he has received from the Foundation over the years, he said: “I have been a part of GSF since 2013 – they’ve been there to support large parts of my career and now seen me through to become an Olympic Champion. The importance of the GSF can’t be overstated. I look forward to helping the programme inspire younger generations into the future.”
Sally Gunnell OBE, still remains the only athlete to hold consecutive Olympic, World and Commonwealth titles. “From my own experience starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I understand how important the recognition and support from organisations like the GLL Sport Foundation can be to a young athlete. It can make the difference in achieving sporting ambitions.
This is ever-more important today as we recover from a difficult and challenging 2 years, where dreams have been put on hold and sport had to stop. Athletes can now refocus having re-started competition and working towards those goals with the support of the GLL Sport Foundation.”