It’s wonderful to hear 87 gymnasts have benefited financially from the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme in 2019. This means, of course, there could be a number of potential stars in the making, perhaps with even Paris 2024 in mind. This is all down to the work of the GLL Sport Foundation, working tirelessly to help athletes improve and move forward positively with all the help they need.
Largest Ever Backing
In fact, this year’s funding of £52,000 is the largest ever, also demonstrating their commitment to the sport of gymnastics here in the UK. It’s also a fantastic way to celebrate 11 years of the programme and £11 million in funding throughout this time. Not only will selected athletes receive funding, but they’ll also have the door opened to first-class physiotherapy and sports science support.
Before the organisation’s inception in 2008, it had become clear, not just in gymnastics but across the board, a number of talented children had given up on their dream due to a lack of finance and support. Charity social enterprise, GLL, created the foundation to solve this frustrating problem once and for all.
So, what are the facts?
A Winning Result
Since they stepped in, 33 Olympic and Paralympic medals – more importantly, 16,200 athletes have found themselves in a much better place. There’s little doubt gymnastics has been left in a good place because of both the GLL Foundation and British Gymnastics.
The Foundation’s Patron, Sally Gunnell, OBE said: “I am delighted that in 2019 the GLL Sport Foundation is supporting over 3,000 athletes to achieve their potential. With more than 96% of supported athletes not receiving any other additional funding, it is clear that we are reaching those that need support most.”
“I’m sure we will see many successes for young GSF athletes in 2019.”
You may also like to know, GLL is the biggest leisure and culture social enterprise existing in Britain today. It operates 270 sport and leisure facilities throughout the UK through its customer brand, ‘Better’. Every athlete supported by the GLL Sport Foundation gets training access to all GLL-managed venues.
They take an active national role in promoting healthy lifestyles and physical activity, as well as championing the benefits of the Sport and Cultural Trust Sector, together with the Social Enterprise movement more generally.
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair added: “We are delighted with our 2019 awards and proud of the positive contribution we have made to sporting talent across the UK. Funding for athletes has been very much in the spotlight in recent years and we still see big funding gaps across sports and talent pathways”.
It would seem the GLL foundation are fully committed and even more determined to help support the next generation of athletes at all levels. The fact they have chosen to invest in younger, aspiring athletes means many more will reach the elite level on the national and world stage. But in truth, this is further proof, the work done every day in gymnastics clubs up and down the country is priceless. This is where it all begins, and everyone has an important role to play, no matter how small.
The support given by the GLL is certainly acting as a vital inspiration for those who have dreams of sporting success. It doesn’t just level the playing field, but also serves as a reminder that there’s so much left to achieve in the gymnastics arena.
The GLL is an exempt charity and a society for the benefit of the community. Their core purpose is to deliver quality sustainable and affordable services, which deliver public benefit, social welfare, healthy living and education. Services they provide include leisure, sport and healthy living centres, golf and outdoor activity centres, libraries and heritage centres, children’s centres, a performing arts academy and a dedicated vocational training college.
The future is very bright for each and every gymnastics club as the 21st century progresses, thanks to a drive to let everyone see the benefits of sport.
Peter says: “I would like to thank all of our partners and sponsors who make an essential contribution to the programme – together we re-affirm our commitment to GLL’s social enterprise principles to reinvest in sport and local communities”
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