Record award numbers brings GLL Sport Foundation athlete support to £11m

1 May 2019

GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) has marked 11 years as the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme, by announcing its largest ever annual athlete awards for 2019.

This year, a total of 577 Aquatic Athletes will receive GSF support worth a total of £297,000 – Plus Physiotherapy and Sports Science support. This brings the total GSF athlete funding value to £11 million since the scheme began in 2008.

The GLL Sport Foundation was founded by charitable social enterprise GLL to provide talented athletes with financial support as well as access to training and sport science facilities. The Foundation awards were launched after GLL had identified an increasing number of talented athletes who were receiving no sport funding and had given up on their sporting dreams through lack of support.

GLL is the UK’s largest leisure and culture social enterprise and operates 270 sport and leisure facilities through its customer brand, Better. Athletes supported by the GLL Sport Foundation get training access to all GLL-managed venues.

The GLL Sport Foundation works in partnership with its key partners SportsAid, SportsAid Wales and the Mary Peters Foundation. The announcements come as many athletes are training to be picked for Team GB competitions in 2019 and Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics 2020 squads.

GSF funded athletes won 20 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In 2019 a staggering 90% of GSF Tennis Players receive no other funding and 82% of Players are under 21. These stats highlight the importance of GSF support to aspiring sports people.

GSF Ambassador Hannah Russell highlights how important the support is, “being an Ambassador of GSF, the support I received was huge, and really did help me achieve my goals at the IPC European Championships in Dublin! Becoming Triple European Champion was very special. The award helped me to continue training in one of the best pools in the country at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, and give me the opportunity to train and compete abroad alongside some of my competitors across the World, giving me great racing opportunities!.”

The Foundation’s Patron, Sally Gunnell OBE said: “I am delighted that in 2019 the GLL Sport Foundation is supporting over 3,000 athletes to achieve their potential. With more than 96% of supported athletes not receiving any other additional funding, it is clear that we are reaching those that need support most.”

“I’m sure we will see many successes for young GSF athletes in 2019.”

Peter Bundey, GSF Chair added: “We are delighted with our 2019 awards and proud of the positive contribution we have made to sporting talent across the UK. Funding for athletes has been very much in the spotlight in recent years and we still see big funding gaps across sports and talent pathways”.

“We are determined to continue our funding commitment for the next generation also, by investing in younger, aspiring athletes to help future talent fulfil their potential as elite level sporting stars.”

“I would like to thank all of our partners and sponsors who make an essential contribution to the programme – together we re-affirm our commitment to GLL’s social enterprise principles to reinvest in sport and local communities”

For more information on GLL Sport Foundation, visit: