Businesses rally round to give county's top young sporting stars a helping hand
A HOST of up-and-coming sporting stars from Derbyshire have been given a helping hand from the county's business community.
A group of 145 youngsters have been selected to share a £30,000 bursary fund, which has been raised through Derbyshire Sport's business network ICON.
Each person will get a grant of up to £300 to help them meet the costs of competing in their sport, such as travel, equipment and coaching or tournament fees.
Many of those selected have already represented England or Great Britain, or are part of recognised national development squads or club academy structures.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
This is the sixth year of the ICON awards, which was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games in the county and is backed by former Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport and Rory Slater, who was Derbyshire's 2012 legacy co-ordinator.
Davenport, who retired from after London 2012 – his third Olympics, said: "I'm really excited to be involved with ICON, which is supporting some of Derbyshire's most promising athletes.
"Each of them has the same dreams and goals that I had – to get to the top of their sport and be the best that they can be – and the backing which ICON offers can really make a difference.
"Training and competing as an elite athlete can be really expensive, and also sometimes quite solitary, which is why ICON is a great scheme as it not only offers financial support but also a sense that local people are supporting you, following your progress and willing you to do well."
Slater added: "There was fantastic enthusiasm for the 2012 Games in Derbyshire and it was particularly nice to be able to cheer on local athletes such as Ross Davenport, cyclist Annie Last and wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson.
"With the support of ICON, hopefully, we will see many more local athletes competing on the world stage.
"There is a lot of work happening across the county and city to encourage more people to get active to improve their health, help more young people take up sport and support those with talent to reach their full potential, and ICON is a fantastic first step for businesses to get involved in this and make a real difference locally."
All of the bursary recipients live in Derbyshire or compete for a Derbyshire-based club, ranging from Amber Valley, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derby, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, High Peak, North East Derbyshire and South Derbyshire.
The group of athletes has been drawn from more than 40 different sports.
Chair of Derbyshire Sport, Councillor Carol Hart, said: "We are extremely thankful to all the members of ICON for supporting local talent, as without their help it would not be possible to award these bursaries.
"Derbyshire has a great wealth of sporting talent in a wide range of sports and it is important that this talent is identified and supported.
"Those that have received a bursary have told us that the financial assistance really does help, and that the recognition the scheme gives is also a great confidence boost."
Track cyclist Rosie Blount, who, along with her sister Hannah, has received a bursary, said: "I'm really grateful. I have to do a lot of travelling in order to train and compete and I also need specialist clothing and equipment, so this support is really appreciated.
"It's also nice to know that me and my sister have been recognised locally for our achievements and that people are watching our progress and cheering us on."