Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is supporting 50 of the most talented young British athletes through SportsAid for the seventh consecutive year. RBC, one of the largest banks in the world and a partner of the charity since 2014, provides the next generation of sports stars with financial assistance, recognition and personal development opportunities.
The partnership sees the athletes receive an annual award of £1,000 to contribute towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment. The athletes being supported by RBC in 2020 stretch across 31 sporting disciplines. They are among the country’s brightest prospects having been nominated to SportsAid by their sport’s national governing bodies.
One of the most integral aspects of the partnership is the buddy scheme where award recipients are paired with RBC employees. They become an impartial point of contact who follow the progress of the athletes - supporting them and passing on news of their achievements - while imparting important life-skills for the young sports stars to help them in their athletic careers and beyond.
Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe, said: “We are proud to be entering the seventh year of our partnership with SportsAid and over this time we have had the privilege of seeing many of our former Team RBC athletes go on to achieve great things in their sport. We look forward to supporting another 50 young athletes this year, giving them a helping-hand as they strive to be the very best in their sport.
“We are very conscious of the many challenges young athletes face and even more-so during this unsettling time as they adapt their training regimes and competition timelines. Not only will the athletes receive a financial award, but they will also benefit from the one-to-one support of a Royal Bank of Canada employee through our buddy scheme. Although we can’t compete with them in sporting talent, we are able to act as a sounding board!”
RBC staff are excellent fundraisers and have generated over £280,000 through the activities they’ve undertaken for SportsAid. Since the partnership began, they have regularly participated in challenge events and represented the charity in large numbers at the Virgin Money London Marathon, Prudential RideLondon, Tough Mudder and the Royal Parks Half, presented by RBC.
SportsAid was also the chosen charity for RBC Ride for the Kids in 2018 and 2019. The first ride saw a team of 47, all of mixed abilities, complete a two-day cycle of 184 miles from London to Bruges. The following year saw a team of 57, including 40 employees new to the event, take on the 205 mile journey to Brussels. Over 20,000 miles have been covered collectively.
RBC Ride for the Kids has raised more than £120,000 to help SportsAid run workshops for athletes and parents, in areas of the country the charity would normally be unable to reach, as they receive expert advice on performance lifestyle management, telling your story through the media and nutrition, in addition to mentoring from leading Olympians and Paralympians.
Over the last two years, RBC has also sponsored SportsAid’s annual Celebrate the Next event in London, where the winner of the charity’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award is revealed. Boxing star Caroline Dubois claimed the accolade in 2018 followed by para swimming sensation Ellie Challis in 2019. The award has previously been won by the likes of Tom Daley and Hollie Arnold.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, said: “The team at RBC are committed, loyal, curious and creative; they recognise the impact the partnership is having on the athletes involved - and don’t underestimate how much this inspires and motivates staff in the process. SportsAid is very proud to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with RBC to help young athletes and their families navigate their next steps through sport and life.”
RBC has enjoyed a number of success stories since the partnership began in 2014. Most notably, double Paralympic champion Georgie Hermitage was among the earliest recipients of support from the bank. Recent beneficiaries include sprinter Reuben Arthur, who won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and England international footballer Lauren Hemp.
Sultan Adewale, 16, Barking (Basketball)
Kemi Afolayan, 18, Petts Wood (Netball)
Fabienne Andre, 23, Brighton (Para Athletics)
Asha Andrews, 17, Lancing (Basketball)
Joseph Armstrong, 13, Reigate (Short-Track Speed Skating)
Tom Atkinson, 16, Jersey (Triathlon)
Will Atkinson, 17, Jersey (Triathlon)
Adam Azim, 17, Slough (Boxing)
Joshua Bain, 23, Colchester (Para Athletics)
Coco Barrett, 17, West Molesey (Sailing)
Roan Brennan, 13, Hornchurch (Para Swimming)
Tilly Brown, 14, Cranleigh (Diving)
Jaiden Caldeira, 15, New Southgate (Para Table Tennis)
Lisa Canevari, 15, Chiswick (Volleyball)
Alastair Chalmers, 20, Guernsey (Athletics)
Allana Clutterbuck, 18, Upminster (Equestrian)
Hayden Corby, 17, Basingstoke (Taekwondo)
Euan Cox, 19, Ashford - Kent (Gymnastics)
Luke Davies, 15, Northolt (Judo)
Jacob Finnigan, 17, Colchester (Weightlifting)
Charlie-Joe Hallett, 18, Guernsey (Swimming)
Maddie Harris, 16, Kingston-upon-Thames (Para Swimming)
Louise Harrison, 25, St Austell (Para Skiing)
Alex Hennessy, 15, Hornchurch (Football)
Sacha Hickey, 16, Eltham (Boxing)
Noah Hobbs, 15, Woodford Green (Cycling)
Gabrielle Holland, 13, East Grinstead (Modern Pentathlon)
Max Hopkins, 17, Bishop’s Stortford (Golf)
Joseph Hunter, 13, Wood Green (Table Tennis)
Emily Hutt, 15, Ashford - Surrey (Cycling)
Jack Jefford, 15, Bromley (Diving)
Robbie Jones, 18, Jersey (Swimming)
Amber Junker, 16, Epsom (Cycling)
Oliver Lam-Watson, 27, Swiss Cottage (Wheelchair Fencing)
Max Law, 17, Upminster (Athletics)
Joseph Middleton, 17, Twickenham (Rowing)
Emma Nunn, 15, Harlow (Judo)
Mia Pachansky, 15, Bromley (Taekwondo)
Maia Pannell, 17, New Milton (Squash)
Laura Sheffield, 20, Tooting (Fencing)
Sophie Smith, 15, Northall (Snowboarding)
Bartosz Soczewka, 17, Barnet (Volleyball)
Kuba Staite, 14, Hayling Island (Sailing)
Mika Stojsavljevic, 11, Acton (Tennis)
Sameenah Toussaint, 17, Harrow (Boxing)
Dylan Van Rensburg, 12, Weybridge (Tennis)
Serena Vincent, 18, Southampton (Athletics)
Charlotte Wardlaw, 17, Carshalton (Football)
Matthew Weston, 23, Crowborough (Skeleton)
Charlotte Woad, 16, Farnham (Golf)
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