Young sports stars set to benefit from Council fund

Young Sports stars have been given a helping hand to realize their sporting dreams through this year’s Youth Sport Fund.

This year’s rollout of funding was awarded last month at a ceremony in Hackney Marshes. Presented by Mayor Jules Pipe, 25 young people are now receiving support for their chosen sports including judo, rugby and indoor climbing.

Young People are awarded either Gold, Silver or Bronze to recognize their sporting achievements to date. In addition to the financial aid of the grant, any young person who is presented with a Gold or Silver award will also receive a fully paid or half price membership respectively at one of the GLL-run London leisure centres courtesy of GLL, the organisation managing the Council’s six leisure centres.

Lola Martinez-Rufete, 15, from Homerton, has been awarded a Silver Award for her achievements within rugby. Not only was Lola selected to be a member of the ball team for the rugby World Cup 2015, but this year has also been selected for the England Southern Division Squad to represent them in 2016.

Lola said: “I only started playing rugby two years ago and have already come so far in such a short period of time. Rugby means a lot to me as it’s something I have worked really hard to excel in and committed myself to. I have attended regular training sessions and events in order to reach this point and I want to continue to do so, however I need the financial support in order to do so and therefore really appreciate this opportunity as a way of aiding my future in rugby.”

Hackney Council’s Youth Sport Fund has granted more than £180,000 towards the development of young athletes since it began 2007. With this year’s round of grant funding totaling £18,143.

Gold awardee Jo Neame, 16, from Stoke Newington has recently been selected onto the Great Britain Lead Climbing Team. Jo said: “I am thrilled to receive funding, which will help me attend British and European competitions.”

The fund is given to young people with sporting potential who live or go to school in the borough. Funding is also available to community clubs that wish to provide provision and opportunities for young people to take part in exercise.

One parent stated that sport had had a big impact on her child’s life. She said: “As a result of being bullied in school, she had self-esteem and confidence issues. Being able to excel in a sport helped to overcome those issues.”

Alongside individual athletes, five community clubs were also awarded funding. This included the Leaside Trust, which can now train four female volunteers in the Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme, and helping the club provide mountain biking to its newly-formed girls-only sessions.

Chief Executive of The Leaside Trust, Terry Kinsella, said: “Thank you Hackney Council - the funding will help strengthen links with hard-to-reach communities through providing activity that helps to improve health and wellbeing and reduce barriers to participation.” Young people and community groups in Hackney can apply for funding through the Hackney Youth Sport Fund by filling in an application form. Closing dates and how to apply in 2016/17 will be available from May here.

For more information about applying for the Council’s Youth Sport Fund, please contact the Council's Leisure and Physical Activity Team at: leisuresports@hackney.gov.uk or: 020 8356 4897.