SportsAid aims to support the right athletes, at the right time, with the right support. The financial challenge of trying to reach the top of their sport is one of their greatest barriers to success.
A SportsAid athlete and their family will spend over £7,000 each year in meeting the costs of their sport. Without the charity's support, many of these young prospects, typically aged 12 to 18, would face a tough decision on whether to continue training and competing. They come from more than 60 sports - the majority of which feature in the Olympics and Paralympics.
Many are already representing Great Britain at age-group level and, if they can continue doing so, have the potential to go on and inspire the nation. These up-and-coming athletes are supported by SportsAid as they have been identified by their sport's national governing body (NGB) as being ranked amongst the most talented within their discipline.
The prospect of competing at the highest level internationally is what motivates these young sports stars as they aim to bring medals home for their country. They show huge levels of dedication, commitment and sacrifice in pursuing their sporting ambitions - including covering 43 miles, on average, under their own steam in training every week.
The main challenges SportsAid athletes face are money and balancing the different areas of their lives. A large percentage remain in education, with no income of their own, and the charity's help relieves a certain amount of pressure on them and their families. The distribution of SportsAid awards are reliant on generating money through donations.
SportsAid conducts an annual athlete survey to help highlight and better understand the sacrifices made by young sports stars and their families. The questions asked cover a range of topics including their biggest challenges, key motivations and inspirations, targets for the future, the importance of SportsAid support and the cost implications of their sport.
The most recent survey was completed by 745 athletes with a near even gender split. The key findings help to demonstrate the difference the charity's help makes....
SportsAid works hard to distribute awards to all the athletes nominated for assistance but that’s not always possible every year. To be able to do this, the charity needs to grow its team of supporters. SportsAid continues to play a crucial role in easing the financial burden for the next generation while also providing a motivational boost at the time it's needed most.