Another incredible effort from SportsAid supporters saw them raise over £48,000 during the second annual SportsAid Week – helping the charity to surpass last year’s total and provide backing to even more young talented British athletes striving to fulfil their sporting ambitions. SportsAid Week is now becoming a permanent fixture with next year’s dates already announced for Monday 24 September to Sunday 30 September 2018!
The introduction of the #MyMiles challenge to SportsAid Week helped to increase the profile of the initiative and encouraged greater levels of engagement as a wide range of fundraising activity was undertaken across the country. SportsAid’s commercial partners led the way by showing their support for the charity throughout the week while Olympians, Paralympians, up-and-coming athletes, schools, universities and individual fundraisers all played their part.
The money generated by SportsAid Week goes towards producing financial awards to help Britain’s rising sports stars with training and competition costs such as equipment, transport and accommodation. Over 1,000 athletes, mainly aged 12 to 18, have been supported by the charity in 2017 with the vast majority receiving no other grants or bursaries. They make many sacrifices and show huge amounts of dedication to reach the top of their sport.
“SportsAid Week is purely in honour of the next generation of young athletes, said Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, who raised £590 after covering 112 miles for the #MyMiles challenge. “We have managed to create a focal point for our partners and supporters to help young sports stars while also shining a spotlight on the athlete journey. The #MyMiles challenge has been a fantastic addition to the initiative and has real potential for future years.”
Denise Lewis, Lizzy Yarnold, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Heather Stanning, Leon Taylor, Chemmy Alcott, Mark Hunter, Toby Gold, Emily Diamond, Mark Foster, Christine Ohuruogu, Etienne Stott and Shona McCallin are just a selection of Olympic and Paralympic heroes who showed their support for SportsAid Week by joining in activity such as a tennis-a-thon, hockey tournament, yoga session, mass spin class, snowsport showcase and a canoe slalom run.
“SportsAid supported me as a young athlete early in my quest to become an Olympic champion,” said canoeist Etienne – who won gold at London 2012 in the C-2 event with Tim Baillie. “The money not only helped me and my family materially, I also took it as a vote of confidence in my prospects for the future. I know that SportsAid helps young athletes as they grow towards their future, so I hope that people can continue to support them on their mission.”
Etienne made a valuable effort towards the #MyMiles total, which reached 5,741 miles over SportsAid Week, by paddling on the white water at Holme Pierrepont Country Park. He was supported by young canoeists Ewan Vernon and Jonathan Atkinson – just two of many SportsAid beneficiaries who clocked up miles as part of the challenge. A large group of athletes currently supported by the charity also ran their own independent SportsAid Week events to help give back.
Georgia Maryon, Andrearna Dunbar Bonnie, Niamh Charles, Amy Gordon, Grace Cruikshank, Anna Burt, Luke Batty, Annabel Roddy, Saskia Davies, Will Feneley, Louise Fiddes, Amber Anning, Charlotte Wharton, Sabrina Sinha, Victoria Weir and Chelsie Robison managed to fundraise over £1,500 between them as they ran a variety of activities including dodgeball, football, netball and badminton tournaments, multi-sports events, family fun days and school tuck shops.
“I decided to support SportsAid Week because I feel very strongly about the charity,” said synchronised swimmer Grace – who collected £315 by hosting a swimathon in which 13 miles was covered towards the #MyMiles challenge. “I know it has made a huge difference in my life having received a grant myself. I was able to buy much-needed equipment, like my underwater MP3 player, and pay for coaches who can teach me skills I need to become a top athlete!”
Realbuzz generously sponsored the SportsAid Week fundraising packs which helped spread the word about the initiative to a much wider audience than the previous year. Stand-out activity from other commercial partners saw Caesars Entertainment raise over £11,000 by holding a charity poker tournament, cycle challenge, boxing raffle, staff quiz and bake-off competition. Stoke Park also added £1,383.14 to the total by hosting a sports day for its members dedicated to SportsAid Week.
TP ICAP selected SportsAid as its chosen charity for L’Etape London with over £4,000 raised while an eight-team hockey tournament held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre produced more than £1,200. The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead showed its support by kindly donating £1 from every lift pass bought during SportsAid Week. This managed to raise £1,393 while charity buckets laid out across the venue also added a further £55.23.
Schools from across the country also took part in SportsAid Week with Brompton Academy, Chatham High School, Forrest School, Forrester High School, Hayesfield Girls’ School, Melton Vale Sixth Form College, Park House School, Range Hill School, St James’ CE High School, Tudor Grange School and Upton Hall School showing their backing. The University of Birmingham and the University of Bath also got in on the act with the latter making a donation from its Talent Transfer testing day.
“For many years, we have seen students try out for the University teams but drift away from competitive activity when they have missed out on their first choice sport,” said the University of Bath’s Gregory Sharp. “This year the Students’ Union led a new initiative for student athletes to be encouraged to be signposted into a new opportunity. This activity was scheduled for SportsAid Week and it provided a perfect opportunity to help raise some funds for the cause.”
He continued: “Support for young athletes helps reduce many of the barriers that may prevent them from achieving their potential. Sport is expensive and the higher you achieve, the more cost can become a barrier to progression. SportsAid helps to ensure that many young athletes have the opportunity to express their talent and pursue their goals. This support allows them to grow and develop both as a person and an athlete.”
A huge thank you to everybody that showed their support for SportsAid Week, and all of the commercial partners, organisations and establishments....
Banstead Community Junior School
Beststart Human Resources
Brighton and Hove City Athletics Club
Chatham High School
City of Bristol Synchronised Swimming Club
DILI Management LTD
Forrester High School
Hatfield Swimming Club
Hayesfield Girls’ School
Hazlewood Ski World
Get Living London
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
Melton Vale Sixth Form College
Nottingham Building Society
Park House School
Range Hill School
Royal Bank of Canada
Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead
Sport and Recreation Alliance
St James’ CE High School
Surrey Legs of Steel
Tudor Grange School
University of Bath
University of Birmingham Athletics Club
Upton Hall School