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112 Talented Athletes across Cardiff to benefit from £44,800 fund

Elinor Snowsill

Ground-breaking GLL Sport Foundation from Social Enterprise GLL keeps sporting dreams alive as 58 time capped Wales Rugby player Elinor Snowsill heads list of 112 talented Cardiff athletes receiving training awards

112 talented young athletes from Cardiff including Welsh Rugby star Elinor Snowsill will benefit from a cumulative £44,800 worth of free gym and swim memberships – thanks to leisure charitable social enterprise GLL, which manages centres across Cardiff Better Leisure Centres on behalf of Cardiff City Council.

The local athletes will be supported through the GLL Sport Foundation, the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, which this year marks its 13th year of supporting today’s and tomorrow’s athletes. The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines.

With a staggering 97% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 63% of recipients being aged under 21, the GLL Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing and National and international levels.

Chosen athletes will receive free training memberships to use leisure centre facilities across 300 plus GLL and partner-operated sporting venues.

Elinor Snowsill, 31, from Cardiff who hold 58 caps for Wales in Rugby  and receives GSF Support.

She said on receiving her award:

“GLL has really helped me over the last few years of my Rugby career, both in terms of financial support and by providing other support services. I would highly recommend any aspiring elite athletes to apply for their support. Being part of the GLL Sport Foundation makes you feel part of something bigger than your own sport and opens up many other opportunities / pathways.”

Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making. He said: “These last 16 months since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact on our lives and freedoms to protect lives and combat the virus. This time has therefore been hugely challenging for all sport and has affected both established and young talented athletes. Restrictions on training, travel and competitions has impacted every athlete in many ways.

“We have been impressed with all the creative ways that athletes have found to keep their sporting journey moving.  We are therefore proud that; together with our sponsors and partners, we have been able to continue to offer support to talented athletes with access to training facilities as and when possible. Rest assured we are equally committed to continue the support of the GLL Sport Foundation for this and the next generation of athletes.”

Since the Foundation began, we have now given nearly 20,000 athlete awards, totalling over £12million of support. I would like to heartfelt thank all our sponsors, partners and supporters, who remain the lifeblood of this fantastic GLL initiative. I would also like to thank the athletes who have continued to support us during the previous months and look forward to being with you for years to come”.

GSF Patron and former Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell explained the impact of GSF support on the next generation of athletes and the communities they live in: She said: “Sport is such an important part of all our lives and has the power to inspire young people to excel and harness their talent towards their future. From my own experience starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I understand how important the recognition and support from organisations like the GLL Sport Foundation can be to a young athlete. It can make the difference in achieving sporting ambitions.

This is ever-more important today as we recover from a difficult and challenging year, where dreams have been put on hold and sport had to stop. Athletes can now refocus and start competition and working towards those goals with the support of the GLL Sport Foundation.

This support can positively impact communities by promoting the opportunity that sport can bring and promoting the benefits it brings in well-being from someone within that community.”

Since its launch in 2007, the GSF has provided over 18,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £12million across the UK.

The Rio Olympics and Paralympics were historic successes for Team GB, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 20 medals won between them.

Over 40 GSF Sponsored athletes are expected to compete in the deferred Tokyo 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games.