The rising cost of becoming a sports star has led to some of England’s best up-and-coming talent dropping out, with new research showing parents have to fork out as much as £27,000 a year to help their child pursue their sporting ambition.
The study comes as Sport England launches Backing The Best, a ground-breaking new scheme to support talented young athletes.
Sport England’s Backing The Best scheme will commit £5.5 million of National Lottery funding over four years for talented youngsters who, because of their family’s financial situation, might not get the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
The scheme isn’t open to everyone – only young exceptionally talented athletes in the early stages of their careers and who face the greatest financial challenges will qualify.
Managed and delivered by SportsAid, the programme will work with coaches and governing bodies to identify athletes who show real talent for their sport, but are not able to pursue it due to the costs.
Annual awards of up to £5,000 will be made on a case-by-case basis, specifically contributing to essential costs such as travel, accommodation, kit and support by coaches and physios. The first awards will be made in February 2016 with up to 100 young athletes expected to benefit in the first year, rising to around 200 in subsequent years.