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Funding pot worth £50,000 now open to help talented Nottinghamshire athletes

Funding to support the county’s budding Olympians, Paralympians and Special Olympians opened on Tuesday 30 November helping overcome potential financial hurdles such as training and equipment costs.

Nottinghamshire County Council has more than doubled its current Talented Athletes funding pot to £50,000 to help more up-and-coming athletes recognise their potential in their chosen sport,  particularly those competing in disability/parasports who may require expensive adapted equipment, clothing, or have higher transport costs.

Grants up to £1,000 are now 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: “On the back of such a fantastic Olympics and Paralympics for Team GB, we are keen to support a wider range of local athletes, so we have increased this part of the budget from £21,000 to £50,000. We know that competing at a high level can be very expensive.

“We want to see more Nottinghamshire-based athletes follow in the footsteps of inspirational sports stars such as Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw, the paracanoe champion at the Tokyo games, who received support from our Talented Athletes fund on her journey to success.”

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Local sports stars to have also previously received this funding include gymnasts Sam Oldham, Becky Downie and Ellie Downie; swimmer Ollie Hynd; athletes Richard Whitehead and Sophie Hahn and show jumper Sophie Wells.

Jo Salmon, from Southwell, is a volunteer for the Special Olympics Nottinghamshire committee, which focuses on athletes with learning disabilities.

Plans are taking shape for a Special Olympic network in Notts for 2022, which Jo is closely involved with.

Jo is mother to Ben, 18, a Special Olympics basketball player/coach of the Nottingham Hoods Sporting Stars and former pupil of the Southwell Minster school.

Ben has autism and epilepsy, so Jo is well aware of the challenges parents/carers may have in enabling their child to participate in sport at a high level.

Families can incur ongoing expenses to enable their child to take part, everything from accommodation and transport costs, to playing kit and participation fees.

She said: “As much as parents, like myself, really want our young people to compete at the highest level in their chosen sport,  it can involve making some tough choices.

“When Ben competes away, I need to also travel with him as his carer and so this can become even more costly and impact the wider family.

“There is a lot of extra expense which families are often unaware of until they become involved in the sporting world.

“I really welcome this funding and am delighted that it is focusing on helping those athletes with physical and learning disabilities, who often have more to pay out by the very nature of the specialist equipment or transport involved.

“I would encourage all parents of athletes who meet the criteria to apply for the fund as it could make a big difference in helping their child meet their potential and go towards helping ease the financial headache.”

Kerryn Chamberlin, Strategic Director, of Active Notts, said: “We would love budding athletes all over the county apply to this fund, no matter what their background.

“These grants can really help overcome some of the financial challenges that competitive sport creates for people, such as travel expenses, equipment, coaching fees or even gym memberships. For our local athletes, this opportunity might be their path towards competing at the Olympics, Paralympics or Special Olympics, and is not one to be missed.”

Cllr Cottee continued: “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 coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns.

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

The deadline for applications is Friday 31 December 2021 so apply now via Local Communities Fund: Talented Athletes Fund 2021-22 | Nottinghamshire County Council

Funding will be allocated to successful applicants from next April 2022.

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