Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will join a SportsAid event dedicated to championing the parents and guardians of talented young athletes while highlighting the important role they continue to play in British sporting success on a visit to the London Stadium on Wednesday 26 February 2020.
SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes each year with a financial award, recognition of their potential and a range of personal development opportunities. The majority are aged 12-18, still in full-time education and are reliant on their parents and guardians to cover the costs of their sport. The overall average annual spend for a SportsAid athlete has risen from £5,022 to £7,089 over the last decade.
The parents and guardians are often the ‘team behind the team’ and the financial element is just one of the many crucial forms of unseen support that they provide. They willingly take on many different roles - including that of taxi driver, personal assistant, sports psychologist and lead nutritionist. Most athletes train twice a day and travel nearly 1,500 miles every month to train and compete.
The Duchess of Cambridge will meet parents and guardians of SportsAid athletes, attending by invitation-only, to gain an insight into their experiences and learn about everything they do. She will hear about the findings from a focus group session highlighting the challenges they face, surprises they encounter and pride they feel, while seeking to find out how the charity can offer them a clearer voice and enhance their support.
The visit comes a matter of months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games get underway and The Duchess will spend time with currently supported SportsAid athletes, as well as several of the charity’s most famous alumni, as they showcase a series of track and field events. There will also be a selection of other sports demonstrated which are set to be on display in Tokyo.
The Duchess will also sit down with other parents and guardians to listen to a panel discussion focusing on managing the relationship with their talented children. The Duchess, who became the Patron of SportsAid in 2013, has previously spent time with many of the country’s most promising up-and-coming sports stars at the charity’s training days, performance workshops and fundraising events.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- SportsAid is the only national charity (#1111612) of its kind - helping young British sportsmen and women aspiring to be the country's next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and world champions. SportsAid was established in 1976 and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.
- Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge became the Patron of SportsAid in 2013 and has met many talented young athletes helped by the charity, as well as Olympians and Paralympians who were previous beneficiaries at training days, performance workshops and fundraising events.
- SportsAid originally acted as 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 then began to focus purely on the next generation of young talented athletes and continues to play that role today.
- SportsAid has supported tens of thousands of athletes during the critical early stages of their careers, with Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Dame Sarah Storey, Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Katherine Grainger and Daley Thompson CBE among its 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 charity’s impressive track record was highlighted at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games where SportsAid alumni won 150 medals. This included 46 of Team GB’s 67 medals (20 gold, 15 silver, 11 bronze) and 104 of ParalympicsGB’s 147 medals (44 gold, 28 silver and 32 bronze).
- Each year, SportsAid will support over 1,000 athletes – the vast majority aged 12 to 18 – by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs. This is often the first recognition an athlete receives from outside their support network and acts as a motivational boost.
- These athletes are the country’s brightest sporting prospects. 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.
- The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000. The awards are generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities. The latter includes challenge events such as the London Marathon and RideLondon.
- SportsAid also manages the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) and Backing The Best (BTB) programme on behalf of Sport England. TASS helps athletes (16-plus) balance their sporting and academic careers, while BTB supports the most financially challenged young sports stars.