Supporting the Sporting County with grants up to £400 for local athletes

14 September 2018

Ashfield - Felicia Miloro.jpg Broxtowe - BradleyFry2.jpg Gedling - Toby Fisher 1.jpg Newark -Olivia Whitelaw (2).jpg Rushcliffe - Molly Palmer.JPG CounGordonWheeler.jpg

Calling all Talented Athletes in Nottinghamshire! Funding is now available to support you in your chosen sport.

The next round of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes Fund has opened today (FRI), offering grants up to £400 for Nottinghamshire athletes who have represented their country at national athletic events in the last year. Applications close 15 October 2018.

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. The county council awarded 65 grants worth more than £23,000 in sports grants last year.

Some of last year’s successful recipients have spoken of their delight at receiving funding, and are profiled in separate case studies below. They include:

  • Ashfield pole vaulter Felicia Miloro who has represented GB
  • Broxtowe skier Bradley Fry who has competed at a European Cup
  • Ice hockey player Toby Fisher from Gedling, national champion with Nottingham Tigers
  • Olivia Whitelaw, dressage from Newark and Sherwood who has represented GB
  • Rower Rachel Heap from Rushcliffe, representing GB at Under 23 level
  • Rushcliffe athlete Molly Palmer, top in the UK in her age group for 100m

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.

Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of the Communities and Place Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I’m delighted to be launching the Talented Athletes Fund. We want young athletes – both male and female – to apply to this fund, so they can receive vital support for their chosen sport.”

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.

Coun Wheeler added: “Some fantastic athletes have benefitted from sports grants from the County Council in the past and young people will immediately relate to these stars.

“I am proud that the County Council is playing its part to ensure that current and future sports stars have the financial support they need. Our Local Improvement Scheme provides targeted financial support to help make Nottinghamshire stand out as a place where people can fulfil their ambition. We wish all applicants the very best of luck.”

Applicants must live in Nottinghamshire – please read the ‘Talented Athletes Fund Application Guidelines’ for full details of the criteria for funding, which is available to download from the County Council’s website:

The closing date for applications is Monday 15 October at 5pm


Talented athletes case studies:

Ashfield: Felicia Miloro, 17, from Hucknall. Sport: Pole vault

Felicia trains at Notts Athletics Club once a week, as well as at Sutton-in-Ashfield Harriers Athletics Club and Loughborough Students Athletics Club three times a week.

Felicia said: “The funding given to me has enabled me to pay for competitions, travelling expenses and equipment needed in order to progress in pole vaulting. In my first year as an under 20 competitor I have competed at both national and international competitions, which include both junior and senior competitions. I gained a silver medal at indoor nationals as well as a bronze medal for the outdoors. I also became the county champion in pole vault and set a new championship record. In June I became the women’s U20 champion for pole vault and set a new championship record of 3.80m. After this competition I was then selected to represent England at the Welsh International which was hosted in Swansea. At this competition I placed 1st so was then selected to represent team GB Juniors at the Manchester International. This is my first GB call up.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the County Council help in funding me to progress to a higher level in my sporting career.”

Felicia is studying a Level 3 extended diploma in sport and is also studying for an education programme that is also a Level 3 BTEC. Her support network includes her dad Steve, mum Tracy, and sisters Caprice and Rimini.

Broxtowe: Bradley Fry, 13, from Newthorpe. Sport: Skiing

In the winter, Bradley spent two months in Switzerland and had some fantastic results winning a few competitions.

His discipline is Slopestyle Skiing and he won the Kids Laax Open at LAAX, in Switzerland. He also entered his first European Cup event and won a gold and two silver medals at the British Championships so he was very happy. Both of these events were also held at LAAX in Switzerland.

Bradley is part of the GB Park and Pipe Academy, and his local slope is at Manchester’s Chillfactore. Bradley said: “I first went skiing with my dad Nick at Swadlincote dry slope when I was five. I love charging down the mountain and progressing my tricks on the pro line jumps. In five years’ time, I hope to be even better and to ski for team GB, and as part of my long term goals, I want to ski in the Olympics, Dew Tour and X-games, and my favourite snow sports role model is James Woodsy Woods.

“Away from skiing, I go boxing, play with mates on my scooter or bike and I like the video game Fortnite.  I study at Hall Park Academy School in Eastwood.”

Bradley says that his mum Hayley and dad are his main support, and says his dad takes him to all the slopes and has got a caravan in Switzerland so he can ski more in the winter season.

Here is his winter season video edit:


 Gedling: Toby Fisher, 14, Plains estate, Arnold. Sport: ice hockey

Toby was with the Nottingham U15 Tigers for the last two seasons, and he will now be playing for the Nottingham U18 Cougars for 2018/2019 season. They train on a Tuesday night at the National Ice Centre, and Toby also trains with the U20 Leopards on Wednesdays and Nottingham Lions senior team on a Thursday night.

He lifted the U15 Division 1, North Champions title and the U15s National Champions titles with Nottingham Tigers, and has been selected for Team England, competing for his country in Bratislava. Toby also plays for Midlands Conference - a team that is made up from elite players from each club side, competing against Scotland, North, south east and south west. With Midlands Conference, the team were Winter Classic Champions in January this year and Toby was top points scorer of all players at the tournament.

Dad Glenn said: “As a family, we have supported the Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Team since the 1990s and Toby was just five days old when he attended his first game and there has been no looking back! He started skating at four years old with the Squirts sessions run by the NIC and joined his first team - Nottingham Sabres U10's, aged just five.

“Toby's passion is playing a skilled, fast paced, high octane team sport and being a winner.”

Toby attends Arnold Hill Academy, in his very little spare time away from ice hockey. He is signed for Arnold Town football club and had has a season ticket for Nottingham Panthers. In five years he would like to be playing at the highest possible level and to be part of the GB squad aiming for the Winter Olympics.

Both mum Alison, dad Glenn and older brother Jake who has also been through the Nottingham Ice Hockey Club system, support Toby, along with both sets of grandparents . The family travel all over the UK and abroad in support of him.

Newark and Sherwood: Olivia Whitelaw, 15, from Hoveringham. Sport: Equestrianism - Dressage

Olivia is a Rushcliffe athlete studying at Toot Hill School in Bingham and as a member of British Dressage has been selected to represent GB at International competitions in 2017 and in 2018.  This year's support from the county council has enabled Olivia and her horse Brouwershaven’s Viceroy aka Leo to gain their first International win whilst representing GB, including an awards ceremony with their first national anthem being played!

Mum Nikki said: “We are truly grateful for the support provided, being a family on limited income the sport of Dressage is so expensive at the National and International level and without your help we would certainly not have been able to focus on as much training and development in this period - and the results speak for themselves with the partnership celebrating their first International win in July.”

Olivia is fully focussed on the 2019 Pony Europeans with short term aims identified as the following: more training, successful premier league competitions, aiming for more selections for GB at International level.

Olivia said: “The aid we have been provided financially has enabled additional training sessions for myself and Leo with our coach to help us continue to improve and become a stronger combination, it also enabled more physical training sessions using a personal trainer to make me become a stronger athlete.

“The support from Nottinghamshire County Council has allowed us to continue competing both Nationally and Internationally for Great Britain, the aid we have been given has helped cover the cost of travel, entry fees, stabling and many other factors that contribute to competing at this level.”


Rushcliffe: Rachel Heap, 19, from West Bridgford. Sport: Rowing

Rachel has spent the last season racing and training for the Leander Academy in Henley on Thames. She has raced nationally all season and won the under 23 4’s head of the river race back in November.

In addition to this Rachel has just returned from the under 23 European championships in Belarus, where she placed 5th in the women’s pair.

Rachel started Rowing after being inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games, so joined the learn to row course which was hosted by her school - Rushcliffe Academy. When asked about the support from Nottinghamshire County Council, Rachel said: “The support has been a huge help for me and has allowed me to afford the training camps and racing accommodation throughout the season. In addition it is great to know I have the support of the council with my rowing career!”

Aside from the funding Rachel receives from Nottinghamshire County Council, Rachel funds her rowing though a job as a waitress and the generous support of her parents; who are her main support network, supporting her at every race. 

Rushcliffe: Molly Palmer, 15, Ruddington. Sport: Athletics

Molly finished last season ranked number 1 in the UK for 100m and long jump indoor and ranked number 2 in the UK for long jump outdoors in the under 15 age category.

Molly is a member of Charnwood Athletics Club where she trains three days a week and Notts Athletics Club where she trains two days a week. 

Molly, a pupil at Rushcliffe School, in West Bridgford, has been doing athletics since she was aged 11 after giving up gymnastics. After being used to training 24 hours a week at the Notts Gymnastics Club she took a month off from doing any sports and just enjoyed hanging out with her friends. She soon got bored of this and decided she wanted to find another sport which she enjoyed. She took part in a school sports hall athletics competition which inspired her to look for athletics clubs. Notts AC where developing their track at that time which lead her to joining Charnwood AC. Later, she also joined Notts AC to work with Nigel Kesteven to develop her long jump skills. 

Mum Rosina said: “Molly loves 100m, 200m but she is most passionate about the long jump. 

“Her aim this year was to jump 6m which she was close to at the English Indoor Champs at Sheffield Institute of Sports - with a jump of 5.91m. She was also aiming to get her first national vest but unfortunately, soon after the competition she found out that she had a fracture in her foot which then put her out for the outdoor season. She was absolutely gutted and frustrated but she has continued to work hard on maintaining her core strength and she has maintained her motivation during this difficult time. She has just been given the all clear to start running again so is looking forward to preparing for next season.”

Molly said: “Last year was a very busy year for me. The funding was so useful in supporting me with my training and competition schedule costs throughout the year. I also used the funding to buy some essential training and competition kit.

The highlight of this season was retaining the indoor long jump Midlands and national titles. This was a fantastic achievement for me as it is my first year in the under 17 age group category - I’m not 15 until August. I’m currently ranked 4th in the UK for long jump in the under 17 category.”

Rosina, Tim and Molly’s sister Lily and her friends have been there to keep her spirits up. We are always there to cheer her on at all her competitions. 


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