Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of SportsAid, has sent a message in support of this year's SportsAid Week. In the message, The Duchess praised the ‘commitment and dedication’ shown by the country’s brightest sporting prospects as she encouraged the public to ‘show their support for our next generation of athletes’.
The Duchess became the Patron of SportsAid in 2013 and has met many young talented athletes helped by the charity, as well as Olympians and Paralympians who were previous beneficiaries, at events, including training days and performance workshops, throughout the last four years.
Since its formation in 1976, the charity has supported thousands of athletes at the start of their sporting careers, with Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Dame Sarah Storey, Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Katherine Grainger among its extensive alumni.
More recently, Laura Kenny CBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Adam Peaty MBE, Georgie Hermitage MBE, Jade Jones MBE, Hollie Arnold MBE, Pam Relph MBE, Natasha Baker MBE, Tom Daley, Lutalo Muhammad and Dina Asher-Smith have all received SportsAid awards within the last decade.
“The most talented young athletes throughout the United Kingdom show great levels of commitment and dedication as they aim to bring sporting success to our country in future years. The early part of this journey is a challenging one. Many of the athletes are still in education and reliant on their family for all the support a young sportsperson needs to allow them to train and compete.
“SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes every year from more than 60 different sports, and as Patron, I am very proud of the impact SportsAid has on these young people, helping to relieve the different pressures they each may face, while also giving them the self-belief and motivation to continue to pursue their ambitions.
“This year’s SportsAid Week will be an exciting few days and a great opportunity for everyone to show their support for our next generation of athletes.”
The challenge is very straightforward - physically cover a distance of your choice (one mile minimum) before posting your mileage on social media (using #MyMiles) and nominating a friend, family member or fellow staff member to continue the chain. You can make a donation to SportsAid too if you want.
SportsAid will be keeping a running total of the miles recorded and is looking to encourage a diverse range of activity. You could decide to run, cycle, row, swim, or perhaps opt to incorporate #MyMiles into your daily routine by taking a lunchtime stroll with colleagues!
The first SportsAid Week took place in 2016 to mark the charity’s 40th anniversary and generated over £40,000 as Olympians, Paralympians, young athletes, National Governing Bodies, schools, universities, commercial partners and individuals rallied together for a week of fun and fundraising.
• SportsAid is the only national charity (#1111612) of its kind - helping young British sportsmen and women aspiring to be the nation's next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and world champions. SportsAid was established in 1976 and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.
• SportsAid was the major source of financial support for the country’s elite athletes before the arrival of National Lottery funding through UK Sport in 1997. SportsAid began to focus on the next generation of young talented athletes and continues to play that role today.
• SportsAid supported 1,106 athletes - the vast majority aged 12 to 18 - in 2016/17. The charity provides these athletes with financial support and recognition as they’re starting out. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 and helps with training and competition costs.
• These athletes are the UK's brightest prospects. Each year, they are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports. Most of them receive no funding, other than that from SportsAid, which means they rely heavily on their parents for support.
• SportsAid alumni won 150 medals combined across the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio this summer. SportsAid alumni won 46 out of Team GB’s 67 medals (20 gold, 15 silver, 11 bronze) and 104 out of ParalympicsGB’s 147 medals (44 gold, 28 silver and 32 bronze).