Nottinghamshire County Council funding set to help local sporting talent raise their game

12 September 2019


- New round of Talented Athletes funding is  now open -

Budding local Olympians and Paralympians are being  encouraged to apply for the latest round of  County Council funding to help propel them even further in their chosen sport.

A new round of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes Fund is open from today  (Thursday 12 September)  until 14 October 2019 offering grants of up to £400 for Nottinghamshire athletes who have represented their country at national athletic events in the last year. 

The Talented Athletes Fund is part of the County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme which offers financial help and support to local communities.

Grants are available to pay for travel, training, accommodation, competition and coaching fees and kit costs.  Last year 121 of budding  sports stars benefitted from more than £21,000 worth in sports grants last year.

These included: 
• Britain’s fastest short track speed skater for his age, Willem Murray - Willem received a Talented Athlete grant for £400. This grant has contributed towards competition fees, travel fees, equipment costs  and coaching fees.
• Skater Robynne Tweedale who represents GB, from Mission, near  Retford 
• Athlete Lee Thompson, the European U23 4x400m champion, from Carlton-in-Lindrick, Worksop
• Kimberley climber Martha Lubczynskyj, who has represented GB
• Toton siblings Connor, Erin, and Anna Green, English table tennis stars. 
“The trio have been competing this year at events in England, Latvia, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. The funding from Nottinghamshire County Council has helped towards the costs of these trips.”
• Joshua Plumridge, GB U18 handball player from Carlton. His mum Anne Jardine said: 
 “Personally, the cost of fees, competition, travel at home and abroad and kit and physio increases as Josh progresses. Therefore, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athlete’s grant is a massive help towards the yearly costs.”
• Mansfield’s British Championship speed skater Sam Lloyd
• GB Under 20 fencer,  Ed Howlett from Farndon, said,
“My grant from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes Fund has been well spent - fencing is an expensive sport and every contribution helps.”
• Phoenix Weir, GB tennis player from Bingham.  He dad, Alastair,  commented 
“The funding helps towards improving his world ranking. 
This year he has achieved a Great Britain ranking of 7 in his second of four seasons and is the highest ranked player in his season. He has won National and International tournaments.”

Councillor John Handley, Vice-Chairman of the Communities and Place Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "The Talented Athletes Fund is a great opportunity for young athletes to secure funding to help them with their training costs at this exceptionally high level. . 
“In Nottinghamshire, we are proud of our sporting heritage and want to encourage as many young people to achieve at the highest level that they possibly can."
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 Handley continued,
“Becoming a top athlete requires immense talent, dedication, coaching and family support. But there’s another important element that sometimes gets overlooked – and that's money.
“Having access to the best coaching and equipment does not come cheap. And travelling around this country and abroad to compete or train can be a huge drain on finances, with sponsorship and home budgets only stretching so far.”
The full details of the criteria for funding, which is available to download from the County Council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/talented

Applicants must live in Nottinghamshire and have until Monday 14 October to apply.


Talented Athletes who have previously benefitted from funding:

Willem Murray, 11, West Bridgford. Sport: Short Track Speed Skating

Currently, there is no younger British Speed Skater faster than Willem.
Willem Murray received a Talented Athlete grant last year for £400. This grant has contributed towards competition fees, travel fees, equipment costs  and coaching fees.
In the last year Willem has competed at competitions in Nottingham, Solihull, Sheffield, Guildford, and also just recently at the Short Track Summer Camp Trophy at Oberstdorf in southern Germany. This summer camp consisted of five structured days of on-ice training followed by a two day international competition.
Willem finished 2nd in the British Short Track Championships held in April 2018 and recorded a 500m race time of 54.629 seconds.
Dad Chris said: “We are extremely proud of Willem’s commitment and achievements as a Short Track Speed Skater over the last five years with the NIRC. Qualifying for European competitions is excellent.

Robynne Tweedale, 22, Fircot Farm, Misson. Sport: skating
Skater Robynne Tweedale has this year been invited to compete in the ISU Grand Prix Series in the US and Canada, the highest standard of competition within the sport, including the best teams in the world. She takes part in competitions worldwide and has already represented the UK at the European Championships 
Robynne said: “When I was 11 or 12, my mum took me to an ice rink to public skate and couldn’t get me off of the ice since. 
“The amount of creativity and passion we intertwine with the physical demands of ice dance brings me so much joy in every day of training. Being out on the ice and being allowed to express yourself, act and tell an audience a story while maintaining the physical and technical side of the sport is something that makes figure skating in general so unique. The process we go through to create the performances people see is something I really can’t compare to anything else.”

Lee Thompson, 21, from Carlton-in-Lindrick, Worksop. Sport: Athletics
Lee is currently part of City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletics Club, and trains six days a week, eight times a week.  He first got into Athletics after competing at the Mason Cup when he was a school leaver aged 16, and then joined Rotherham Harriers later that summer.
In 2017, he was European U23 Championships 4x400 Champion. This year he has become National Indoor British Champion, World Indoor Championships Individual Semi Finalist and Relay Finalist. He was also the only male Brit to be selected for the 400 individual at the World Indoor Athletics Championships. 
Lee said: “I think the thing I am most passionate about within the sport is definitely winning. And another is reaching the Olympic Games, I think this is the same for most in their respective sports!
“In five years, I would ideally see myself as one of the top 400 metre runners in the UK, consistently! I would also like to picture myself as an Olympian and have a few medals to my name in either Europeans, Worlds or Olympics.”
Away from athletics, Lee works full time for Wilko’s at their head office in Worksop, as a finance analyst.

Martha Lubczynskyj, 17, from Kimberley. Sport: climbing
In the last two years, she has recorded some excellent results in several competitions – 5th in the junior British Bouldering Championships 2017, 4th in the British Bouldering Championships 2018, 3rd in the Scottish Bouldering Championships and 6th in the 2017 Junior British lead championships.
In December 2017, she just missed out on reselection to the Great Britain team . Climbing is an up and coming sport and has recently been selected as one of the new sports for the 2020 Olympics. 
Mum Kate Feenan said: “Martha was always clambering up things as a small toddler - book cases, other furniture, trees. We first took her to a climbing centre when she was seven and she took to it straight away.
“Martha particularly likes the training involved in bettering herself. As her coach she always surprises me with her effort and commitment in training. However hard it is, however tired she might feel (after a busy day at school) she always throws herself into it and commits 100%. Beyond this Martha loves the social side of climbing. Climbing is a social sport and Martha has made lots of friends as a result of climbing.”
In five years’ time, Martha sees herself competing at a senior level in the UK and hopefully Europe. 

Erin, 13 and twins Connor and Anna Green,  12, from Toton. Sport: table tennis
Three children from the same family - Connor, Anna and Erin Green - have been competing this year at events in England, Latvia, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. The funding from Nottinghamshire County Council has helped towards the costs of these trips.
Anna was recently selected for the 9-13 England Youth Squad, and has had success in many competitions including winning the Under 13 Girls tournament at Sycamore, the Under 13 Girls tournament at Burton, winning the Under 12s title at the English National Masters and becoming the U12 champion at the TTE (Table Tennis England) National Championships.
Erin has had success at the English Schools championships, and won Division Two of the Junior British League, was the Winner of the U15 Consolation title at the Cadet and Junior National Championships, and was part of the junior girls’ team that won the English National League Cup (Bromfield Trophy).
Connor was selected for the 9-13 England Youth Squad, was the winner of the Under 12 boys Cadet competition in Riga, Latvia, was the U12s winner at the English National Masters, the Winner of the U15 Consolation title at the Cadet and Junior National Championships, and the U12s champion at the TTE National Championships.
All three attend George Spencer Academy, and are members of Draycott and Long Eaton Table Tennis Club, with the family living in nearby Toton. As well as training locally each week, they train regularly as part of the England Training Squads, often held at Nottingham University. They were around table tennis from birth as both parents play and are coaches, and they first had coaching with Gordon Fearn as part of West Bridgford Table Tennis Club.
Proud Mum Jo Green said: “They love training, being active, competing and of course winning. 
They all want to stay at the top of their age groups.  Erin is top 7 Cadet in England.  Anna and Connor are No. 1 U13 in England.  Erin has just played for England at the English schools International and Connor and Anna are about to travel to France to represent England at the Euro Mini's.”

Joshua Plumridge, 17, from Carlton. Sport: handball
Mum Anne Jardine said: “Josh has really progressed in the last year with his handball. It has been a very busy year and alongside his sixth form studies and a part-time job at a supermarket, Josh has continued to be dedicated to his sport and to train hard. Since last year Josh has continued to play for both the Nottingham U19 and Men's handball team. 
“He also successfully completed a coaching course which has meant he has been able to coach younger Notts players as well as his school team - but also he has done quite a bit of refereeing of league matches.
 “Personally, the cost of fees, competition, travel at home and abroad and kit and physio increases as Josh progresses. Therefore, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athlete’s grant is a massive help towards the yearly costs.”

Mansfield’s  Sam Lloyd, 14, Sport: speed skating.
Sam skates three times a week at Nottingham Arena for Nottingham Ice Racing Club.  Mondays focus on relays, Friday is endurance training and Saturdays are speed and general skills work, for example practising cornering and starts.
Mum Jo explains: “Sam began figure skating at the age of seven.  He completed all of the NISA skills levels up to Gold.  He watched the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014 and saw Speed Skating for the first time.  He decided then that this would be his sport.  Sam had a taster session at Nottingham Ice Arena, short track speed skating club and was instantly hooked.  He just loves the adrenalin rush that he gets from the sport.”
In terms of key achievements, he has qualified for the British Championships twice, won the Easter Cup and came third in the Nottingham Cup. He loves the speed, the friendly club environment, the competitions all over the country and the general competitiveness 
Sam is in full time education at Samworth Church Academy, Mansfield. He volunteers and helps coach the year seven football and cricket teams after school. He also enjoys playing football with his friends, art and rollerblading.  He has just been selected by his school to go onto the Leadership Sports programme. 
He would like to become part of the Speed Skating Academy which leads onto GB training however the funding has now been cut within the sport due to the results at the last Winter Olympics meaning future funding is very uncertain. For the moment Sam is concentrating on competing at national level and continuing to improve his personal best results.

Ed Howlett, 18, Farndon. Sport: fencing
Ed Howlett has just started studying at King’s College London and has just been accepted as a member of ZFW Fencing Club, whose head coach is Ziemek Wojciechowski, one of the world’s top fencing coaches. One of his fencers, Richard Kruse, won the silver medal at last month’s World Championships in China.
Ed was selected to fence for England in the School Games, gaining a silver medal in the individual competition and a gold medal in the team event. He was men’s foil team winning captain for Yorkshire at the Cadet Winton - a strongly competitive six weapon inter regional competition, and won a gold medal in the Manchester Sword team foil in June. He also won a bronze medal in the U18 British Youth Championships in May, and a silver medal in the RAF 100 Open in June, among other achievements.

Ed said: “My grant from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes Fund has been well spent - fencing is an expensive sport and every contribution helps.

Phoenix Weir, 12, Bingham. Sport: Tennis 
Phoenix is a pupil at Toothill in Bingham who trains at David Lloyd in West Bridgford most days of the week.
Dad Alastair said: “We have always played tennis with both our two sons since they were old enough to hold a tennis racket! We used to play in Bingham Leisure Centre who were incredibly supportive and helpful and even got a small court marked out on an old wooden gym floor where we played every day!
“Phoenix is passionate about creating his own legacy as being an exciting player to watch. He would like to play in the Junior Wimbledon.”
In the last year, Phoenix has competed for Great Britain against France and also travelled to Croatia with the Great Britain team to compete in two tournaments there.  He won the Road to Wimbledon doubles competition last summer and also got the semi-finals of the singles there in the 12U category.  At the National level on the domestic scene he is currently ranked number 5 in Great Britain and has had success in singles and doubles at tournaments in Bath, Sunderland and Nottinghamshire this year.
The family say they are very grateful for the Talented Athlete funding which has helped towards some travel and hotel fees.

Willem Murray, 11, West Bridgford. Sport: Short Track Speed Skating
Currently, there is no younger British Speed Skater faster than Willem.
Willem Murray received a Talented Athlete grant for £400. This grant has contributed towards competition fees, travel fees, equipment costs  and coaching fees.
In the last year Willem has competed at competitions in Nottingham, Solihull, Sheffield, Guildford, and also just recently at the Short Track Summer Camp Trophy at Oberstdorf in southern Germany. This summer camp consisted of five structured days of on-ice training followed by a two day international competition.
He attends the regular three  times weekly on-ice training sessions with the Nottingham Ice Racing Club [NIRC] and has recently added off-ice training sessions too, as well as weekly Skate UK Speed Skating sessions at the National Ice Centre, plus occasional training in Sheffield with the Sheffield Ice Racing Club.
Willem finished 2nd in the British Short Track Championships held in April 2018 and at the Oberstdorf Summer Camp Trophy race meeting held in August, Willem recorded a 500m race time of 54.629 seconds.
Dad Chris said: “We are extremely proud of Willem’s commitment and achievements as a Short Track Speed Skater over the last five years with the NIRC. Qualifying for European competitions is excellent.


ENDS

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