Springboard Award Supports Young Sportsmen and Women
Young sportsmen and women from the Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area gathered at the offices of leading UK law firm Burges Salmon to celebrate the largest ever intake for the Springboard support scheme which offers grants and support to exceptional young athletes.
Sixteen of the 27 young athletes selected during 2012 were in attendance, as well as representatives from the Springboard partners, led by SportsAid, and including Burges Salmon, Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, North Somerset Council and the West of England Sport Trust (‘Wesport’).
Among the talented sportspeople were two who have just been selected to participate in the 2012 Paralympic Games, 13-year old disabled swimmer Chloe Davies based in Radstock and 38-year old Darren Harris, a longstanding member of the five-a-side Blind Football squad who lives in Bath.
A judo demonstration was also held, showcasing the talents of Springboard participants Dominic and Myles Nelson, alongside two other members from the Bradley Stoke Judo Club, Kelly Wilson and Jordan Knight. This was facilitated by their coach, Pete Douglas.
The Springboard scheme - first launched in 2009 - offers financial support to individuals between 12-18 years of age* plus they get free access to training facilities and guidance on key topics such as nutrition and contracts. Burges Salmon lawyers, including Natalie Jeffries and Dan Summers, are involved in providing mentoring to the athletes - offering practical help such as reviewing CVs or applications, as well as acting as a point of contact outside the normal sphere of their school and training regimes.
Twenty seven athletes are being supported this year, either nominated by their own sports clubs based on their future potential or via individual applications. Their sports are all recognised by Sport England and they are not already in receipt of funding from the government's Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) or the National Lottery. In addition athletes must have an England or Great Britain top 10 ranking in their age group or be a member of an England or Great Britain squad.
Tim Ilston, partner at Burges Salmon, says:
“This scheme represents the successful coming together of organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors in a very worthwhile project. We were delighted to host the launch of the Springboard scheme back in 2009 and it is very timely to gather for a celebration of our city's young sporting talent in this Olympic & Paralympic year.
“We hope this ongoing support from Burges Salmon and the other Springboard partners will genuinely increase the potential for success of these talented young sportspeople. In particular, we wish both Chloe and Darren the best of luck with their participation in this summer’s Games.”
SportsAid’s chief executive, Tim Lawler, said:
"SportsAid is proud to support these athletes through Springboard to ensure they get the backing they need to succeed. The fact that two have already qualified for London 2012 is testament to the success of the programme and shows what can be achieved through collaboration.
“This summer, we anticipate about 60 per cent of Team GB and Paralympics GB to have had support from SportsAid during their careers and we look forward to recognising and nurturing more talent from Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire beyond 2012."
Elly Nashat from Bristol City Council adds:
“We are really proud to be part of such a positive scheme supporting local athletes.”
Chris Hurd from North Somerset Council:
“It was great to meet and be in the presence of such talented and hardworking athletes, as well as speaking with the families who provide such great support in helping them achieve their goals. We are excited to follow our athletes in North Somerset and all the others involved in Springboard and look forward to hearing about all their success in the future.”