SportsAid helps the sports stars of tomorrow today by giving them recognition and financial support during the critical formative years of their careers.
These athletes are typically aged 12 to 18, and are among Britain’s brightest hopes for future Olympic and Paralympic success.
Research in 2012 shows they typically train for more than 15 hours a week on top of school or college commitments, often forfeiting what their friends are enjoying at that age. With their parents they travel more than 600 miles a month to train and compete, and spend more than £6,000 a year on their sport. At this stage sponsorship deals are hard to find so most rely entirely on their family and SportsAid for financial support.
Since SportsAid was established in 1976 it has helped many of the UK’s most successful Olympic and Paralympic athletes including Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Dame Kelly Holmes, David Weir CBE, Baroness (Tanni) Grey Thomson, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Ben Ainslie, Dame Jessica Ennis CBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, Dame Sarah Storey and Mo Farah CBE.
Each year SportsAid helps more than 1,500 young British athletes who aspire to achieve the same success.
The charity finds these athletes by working with the governing bodies of 75 sports – including Winter and Summer Olympic/Paralympic and other disciplines – which ensures the right people are helped at the right time. As a result, almost two-thirds of the British team at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were SportsAid alumni – winning 20 Olympic and 27 Paralympic gold medals between them. At the Rio games in 2016 SportsAid alumni won 150 medals. [46 of Team GBs 67 medals and 104 of 147 Paralympic medals].
“At a young age, committing to sport at a high level can be a real challenge,” said Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith, who was supported by SportsAid in 2007 and 2008. “SportsAid helped me to make this commitment by being an extra vote of confidence outside my support group.”
Paralympic champion swimmer Giles Long MBE was supported by SportsAid in 1995. He said, “SportsAid came into my life when I was struggling. I was a student with little money and had little in the way of international success to attract sponsorship. Their belief and financial support helped me to give that crucial extra edge to achieve my goal.”
SportsAid Eastern operates as a licenced charity and organises fund raising lunches with the business communities in 10 locations across the South East Midlands and the East of England . The Milton Keynes sporting lunch club has been creating networking opportunities for companies and individuals for 20 years and in that time has helped many hundreds of MK talented athletes on their journey to achieve their ambitions. Greg Rutherford MBE and Gail Emms MBE are amongst many who have achieved National and International success in their chosen sports. Bobby White who captained GBs Handball Team in 2012 and Wheelchair Paralympic Fencer Gabbi Down are amongst others who received help from the MK business community on their way to success.
Roger Fennemore MBE SportsAid Regional Director is the first to acknowledge the tremendous support over many years of local companies, EMW Law, Grant Thornton, Hampton Brook, Eden Wealth Management, Barclays , Aitchison Raffety , Hillier Hopkins, Taylor and Co, Brubeck, Interdirect, Events Managed and Jurys Inn. Also the charity receives direct grants to athletes from MK Community Foundation and MK College known as named awards.
SportsAid Regional Chair, Mark Ormerod says “SportsAid does a fantastic job in helping to ease the pathway from playground to podium at a time when the young people need it most and such work would not happen without the support of our sponsors and those many local companies who take tables at the events..We find ourselves at maximun capacity at our lunch events. With over 300 people coming together to support the charity it is a pleasure to offer a great networking opportunity in return AND we have a lot of fun!
We bank on SportsAid Alumni giving something back so we often attract world class athletes to Milton Keynes. Only last September we were delighted to welcome at the lunch Tom Daley MBE, Leon Taylor Gail Emms MBE and Danny Crates..Olympians all. It means so much to young people to get their SportsAid awards from those in whose footsteps they can and will follow. The charity acknowledges and thanks Adidas, Brubeck and Reebok and all those organisations who provide help in kind with raffle prizes and contribute in many other ways.