Lifeline for struggling talented athletes

10 November 2015 Funding


The rising cost of becoming a sports star has led to some of England’s best up-and-coming talent dropping out of sport altogether

Findings from a latest SportsAid study shows parents could be forced to fork out as much as £27,000 a year to help their child pursue their sporting ambitions.

The study comes as we launch Backing the Best, a ground-breaking new scheme designed to support talented young athletes and open up opportunities that might otherwise be out of financial reach.

The likes of talented amateur boxer, Sophie Colebourn, could be one of up to 100 young athletes set to benefit this year.

Sophie, who is 18-years-old and currently receives a contribution from SportsAid, relies heavily on her dad to fund her sporting ambitions.

"I can't rely on my dad for money for equipment or supplements because he doesn’t have it. If I don’t have the money that I need, I can’t do the things I want to in boxing," says Sophie, who is the second-ranked senior women amateur boxer in England.

Sophie and her family are not alone in feeling the financial pinch. The rising costs involved have led to some of the country's best young talent unable to continue in their chosen sport – a situation this latest funding will help try and reverse.

Backing The Best will commit £5.5million of National Lottery funding over four years to give youngsters the opportunity to fulfil their potential and minimise the financial strain of competition at the highest level. 

"Training is intense, day in, day out. For a head guard it’s about £100, for a pair of boots it’s £100, so before any funding it was a strain for my dad – and for my younger brother and sister, because they’d have to go without too," adds Sophie.

Annual awards of up to £5,000 will be made on a case-by-case basis, specifically contributing to essential costs such as travel, accommodation, kit and support by coaches and physios.

The impact of this support could be paramount to the future success of Sophie and hundreds more talented young athletes just like her.

  • Check out Backing the Best for more information and details on how to get involved.