Supporting the next generation of young sporting heroes
35 talented young sports people across Hampshire have received funding grants awarded by Hampshire County Council, totalling £17,600 to help boost their competitive careers.
The majority of the funding has been awarded from Hampshire County Council’s ‘Financial Assistance for Talented Young People in Sport’ fund, which is made available each year to support young rising sports stars facing financial hardship.
Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Deputy Leader, and Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services said: “This funding is a real boost to some of our county’s most promising young sports people. With the cost of living on the rise and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic ongoing, this financial support is needed more than ever and will go a long way in supporting our young people to help realise their full potential.”
One of those to have benefited is 17-year-old Andrew from Alresford, who competes in Disabled Wheelchair Tennis. He said: “The grant from Hampshire County Council has given me some fantastic opportunities. This year I used it to fund an extended stay in Bolton during which I won an incredible five International Tennis Federation (ITF) titles in 10 days! Most recently I was lucky enough to be selected for Team GB and represented the junior team in Portugal where we won a silver medal in the ITF juniors' event.
“I would encourage any athlete whether able-bodied or disabled to apply for the grant. It has made a real difference to me and my family, and I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities without it.”
Lily and Poppy from Totton, aged 13 and 11 respectively, both compete in Taekwondo and also received funding. They said: “The Talented Young People in Sport grant has given us the opportunity to travel to Europe to compete in Olympic ranking Taekwondo competitions, in order to help us develop and fight the best in the world. So far this year, Poppy has won a G2 Gold medal in Sweden and Lily won Bronze in the G2 Belgium Open. This is the only funding we get for all the competitions we do, so it helps us to continue our dream of competing in the Olympics for Great Britain.”
As well as the ‘Financial Assistance for Talented Young People in Sport’ fund, funding was also made available from the Michael Austin Harlick fund. A former Gosport resident, Michael Austin Harlick left his entire estate to Hampshire County Council on the understanding that funds would be used to celebrate the achievements of young people in physical education, recreational and sporting activities across the county.
While the Michael Austin Harlick funding is awarded by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, award decisions for the funding continue to rest with Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services Department. The department has, this year, chosen two young people who compete in climbing and athletics to benefit from the funding.
Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Rob Humby, and Executive Member for Policy & Resources and Economic Development, said: “I’m delighted that, through this much needed funding, the County Council is able to support new generations of sporting talent as they continue to emerge across the county. I look forward to watching the progress of our committed young people as they excel in their chosen sports and carry forward Hampshire’s strong sporting heritage into the future.”
Sports covered by the grant allocations include netball, rugby, gymnastics, martial arts, golf, tennis (including table tennis and disabled wheelchair tennis), badminton, trampolining, clay target shooting, athletics, modern pentathlon, ice skating, cheerleading, weightlifting, swimming, BMX racing and climbing.