SportsAid Week is back for 2019! The initiative was launched in 2016 to mark the charity’s 40th anniversary and generated over £40,000 as Olympians, Paralympians, up-and-coming athletes, National Governing Bodies, schools, universities, commercial organisations and individuals rallied together for a week of fun and fundraising.
The success of its inaugural year has now led to SportsAid Week becoming an annual fixture. Fundraising for 2017 and 2018 surpassed £100,000 combined and the charity is looking for you to play your part once again this September. There are so many ways to get involved and the team at SportsAid are here to help you with your chosen activity.
The #MyMiles Challenge is also returning to SportsAid Week for a third consecutive year as it continues to grow in popularity. The social media campaign, which encourages people to keep young athletes company as they train and compete, saw the introduction of the #MyMiles Marathon and a new Schools Challenge in 2018. The total to beat is 13,981 miles!
Please email Grace Hughes, SportsAid's Partnership and Activation Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about SportsAid Week. Your support will make a huge difference to the country's brightest sporting prospects!
SportsAid helps around 1,000 athletes across more than 60 sports each year, the majority aged 12 to 18, by providing them with an average award of £1,000. SportsAid Week is a fundraising drive designed to support the next generation of athletes striving to represent Team GB and ParalympicsGB at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
All the money raised assists young sports stars with training and competition costs, including equipment, accommodation and transport, during the critical early stages of their careers. The initiative also acts as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on SportsAid and the work the charity does to provide athletes and their parents with support at the beginning of the talent pathway.
Signing up for a fundraising pack is the best first step towards getting involved in SportsAid Week! It really is up to you as to how you show your support - whether it's on your own or with friends, family and colleagues. You decide the size of your event - no matter how big or small. Here's a few ideas to get you started on planning your activity....
The #MyMiles Challenge was developed for SportsAid Week to demonstrate the commitment and dedication shown by young athletes. The social media campaign asked fundraisers to undertake physical activity, covering a distance of their choice, to help raise money towards the SportsAid Week total for the country's brightest sporting prospects.
The #MyMiles total reached 13,981 miles last year and the aim is to beat this in 2019! #MyMiles is accessible to everybody – you can do a single mile or as much as 40 – the distance a SportsAid athlete clocks up each week in training! There's lots of inspiration you can take from the activity of previous years on how best to keep young athletes company.
Here's a step-by-step guide to the #MyMiles Challenge....
The first-ever #MyMiles Marathon, sponsored by GVC, took place during SportsAid Week 2018 as Tim Lawler, the charity’s Chief Executive, Paralympic champion Danny Crates and Andrew Cohen-Wray, founder of Athlete in Mind, ran a special 26.2 mile route through Buckinghamshire. Details will be available here soon about the 2019 edition!
Last year's marathon started at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, marking the 70 year anniversary of the Paralympic movement, before heading into the county's winding country lanes, passing through the cheering crowds at Webber Independent School, and finishing in 4:20:00 (h:m:s) at the MK Sporting Lunch Club in Milton Keynes where the team received a hero’s welcome.
The money you raise during SportsAid Week will help to support athletes in many different ways - no matter how big or small the amount! They don't just feel the impact of SportsAid's backing financially though - they also see the award as a motivational boost and a recognition of their talent as they look to progress forward with their careers.
“SportsAid makes a real difference to Britain’s most talented young sports stars - providing financial backing, and recognition, during the critical early stages of their development. Up-and-coming athletes have to make big sacrifices every day, a lot that go unseen, to be the best they can be - most of them are balancing their education at the same time. I had support from the charity when I was just 17 and it helped me to focus on my swimming as I looked to establish myself at senior level. Four years later, I became Olympic champion."
Adam Peaty MBE was supported by SportsAid in 2012 as a 17 year old. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at Rio 2016 and is a multiple world champion. Adam acted as an official ambassador for SportsAid Week 2018.
"I love meeting the young athletes SportsAid supports and seeing the drive and determination they have to be the best they can be. I remember when I had help from SportsAid and it's really important when you're starting out in your sport. It gives you the confidence to push on and succeed knowing that there are people out there who believe in you. That’s why SportsAid Week is such a great idea. It’s an opportunity to show the next generation of athletes that we’re right behind them and want to do what we can to help them on their way.”
Ellie Simmonds OBE was supported by SportsAid in 2006 when she was just 11 years old. She also received help from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme. The five-time Paralympic champion acted as an official ambassador for SportsAid Week 2018.
“SportsAid has played an instrumental role in my career. The money allowed me to go to a couple of extra tournaments where I was noticed by the GB Academy. You see the financial pressure you’re putting on your mum and dad, all because they want to help you achieve your dream of becoming Olympic champion, so receiving that help from the outside provides you with the recognition you’re going in the right direction. Fundraising is so important to SportsAid being able to give out financial awards to young athletes - just like they did for me.”
Lutalo Muhammad was supported by SportsAid for three consecutive years - the first of his awards coming shortly before his 18th birthday in 2009. The Olympic silver and bronze medallist acted as an official ambassador for SportsAid Week 2018.
“I am particularly honoured to be an ambassador for SportsAid and join Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge in helping to shine a light on the achievements and potential of young athletes throughout the UK. I've got so much respect and admiration for them. For the dedication they show and the hard work they put in, there is so much preparation and time that goes in. There is that next generation of athletes out there and I want to get people enthused about supporting the charity financially or by taking part in a fundraising event."
Laura Wright has been an ambassador of SportsAid since 2015. Known as the 'sporting soprano', Laura is the UK's leading classical artist who has performed at many major sporting events. She acted as an official ambassador for SportsAid Week 2018.