Our commitment to supporting talented young athletes is set to continue thanks to £6 million of National Lottery funding.
Over the next three years, talented young athletes will be able to combine their academic development alongside their sporting ambitions through our Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).
Since its launch in 2004, the scheme has helped more than 6,000 athletes. It sees governing bodies of sport and the education sector team up to help up-and-coming athletes balance the demands of college and university life with training and competing at national and international level.
One of the athletes to have benefited from TASS is Steph Houghton, captain of the England Lionesses football team.
Houghton, who benefitted from TASS support for three years while studying at Loughborough University, said: “Being on TASS meant having that extra security so if anything was to happen, you had that support network around you.
“I had a few injuries so the physio treatment for me was crucial – but I also found the nutrition and lifestyle services really useful. It also helped with the communication between football and uni, which allowed me to have some extra flexibility.
The opportunity that TASS gave me in being able to balance a full-time degree with being an international footballer was brilliant and I’ll be forever grateful for it
Steph Houghton, England Lionesses captain and TASS graduate
Houghton’s success is not unique. More than half the players in the Lionesses' 23-strong squad for this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 finals have been backed by the programme, which provides support including physiotherapy, psychology, mentoring and careers advice.
“For me, the opportunity that TASS gave me in being able to balance a full-time degree with being an international footballer was brilliant and I’ll be forever grateful for it.”
The programme – which is managed by SportsAid – sees us continue our commitment to supporting talented young athletes.
While our main role is to increase the number of people getting active no matter their background, ability or age, it’s also part of our role to make sure talented young people are given every opportunity to turn their talent into success.
We believe everyone should be given a chance to take part in competitive sport. For some, our talent schemes like TASS and Backing the Best are the start of a journey that culminates in global sporting success.
Phil Smith, director of sport at Sport England, said: “It takes more than talent and dedication to reach the top, you need access to a whole range of support services such as coaching, nutrition and physiotherapy.
“TASS is one of the ways Sport England invests National Lottery funding to ensure that more young people can fulfil their sporting potential, whilst also gaining valuable qualifications.”