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Race is on to beat funding deadline for talented athletes

23 December 2021

Aspiring sports stars have until the end of this month to apply for a grant from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes fund.

The £50,000 funding pot was launched in November to support the county’s budding Olympians, Paralympians and Special Olympians overcome potential financial hurdles such as training and equipment costs.

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for Nottinghamshire athletes who have represented their country at national athletic events in the last 24 months, which includes a range of Sport England-recognised sports, from speed skating to swimming and from fencing to table tennis and have until 31 December 2021 to apply.

Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities Committee, said: “We have a proud sporting history in this county and I’m in awe of the dedication of athletes who adapted to find ways to train throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

“With everything which has happened over the last year or so, it is fantastic that this funding is open to locally based athletes to apply for up to £1,000 to help with expenses such as travel, coaching, competition fees and kit.

“However, with the deadline for applications fast approaching, I would urge all athletes who meet the criteria, or parents of athletes, to apply for a grant as soon as possible.

“It really could make a huge difference in helping them meet their potential and ultimately help overcome some financial challenges.”

Paralympian canoeist Emma Wiggs MBE, who struck gold for Great Britain at Tokyo 2020 and trains at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont Country Park, has also urged athletes to apply to the fund.

Emma made history at this year’s Paralympics when she became the first Briton to become a double paracanoe champion, with a silver in the women’s KL2 and a gold in the women’s VL2 event – adding to the gold (KL2) she won at Rio in 2016.

She said: “The journey to compete at the highest level can be tough in so many ways – not least the financial pressure of paying for coaching, specialist equipment and travel.

“This fund is a great opportunity to help all those budding athletics out there in helping reach their potential – whether they are aiming for the Olympics, Paralympics or Special Olympics.

“With up to £1,000 available per application, I’m delighted that there’s more of a focus on those competing in parasports who may require expensive adapted equipment, clothing, or have even higher transport costs.

“Nottinghamshire has an amazing sporting past with a fantastic future too, particularly having such world-class facilities such as Holme Pierrepont on the doorstep.”  

Emma has also thanked the county council for playing a key role in her success, which was recently recognised at a special event at the National Water Sports Centre to celebrate a highly successful Olympic and Paralympic campaign for canoeists who represented Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.

The Paralympian canoeists brought home seven medals – three gold, one silver and three bronze – to top the medal table.

Of the seven medals earned, six were for athletes who based themselves at Holme Pierrepont – the home of the National Water Sports Centre, which is operated by Serco Leisure on behalf of the county council.

The event was attended by representatives from the county council, British Canoeing and Serco Leisure and speeches were given by Jack Garner, contract manager for the centre, John Coyne CBE, chairman of British Canoeing, Cllr Cottee and Emma.

Emma said: “This was an important event, which not only celebrated sporting success, but helped solidify the already strong relationship British Canoeing have with the people who operate the site. I’d like to thank Nottinghamshire County Council, Serco Leisure, Jack Garner and his team for their ongoing support during a very challenging 18-month period.

“Faced with floods, lockdowns and all manner of other obstacles, the NWSC team worked tirelessly to ensure athletes always had somewhere to train, helping us in the pursuit of our long-term championship goals.

“We’re very lucky to have the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham – I always tell people that for the canoeists and other water sport athletes who train here, this site is our secret weapon.”

To apply for a grant from the Talented Athletes fund, go to Local Communities Fund: Talented Athletes 2021-22 | Nottinghamshire County Council

Funding will be allocated to successful applicants from April 2022.

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