Call for Northern Ireland athletes to apply for funding

Charitable Social Enterprise GLL, operator of the Better leisure brand in Belfast, has announced it will back the next generation of athletic talent through its athlete support programme, the GLL Sport Foundation.

£5million will be invested into athletes within the Tokyo Olympics cycle across the UK and Northern Ireland and applications from local athletes in need of support are being invited now.

Last year, the GLL Sport Foundation, in partnership with Belfast City Council and Mary Peters Trust, supported 57 athletes from across Northern Ireland in 23 different sports. Financial, training and sports science support worth over £42,000 was provided to the athletes by GLL.

Applications will be accepted until 20 February 2017 and Paralympian champion Michael McKillop is encouraging athletes from Northern Ireland to apply.

He said; “With the help of GLL, athletes will have the opportunity to gain vital resources to be able to train and compete at a competitive level, like I did. Young athletes will have access to funding, training and sports science support and more – all of which are vital to succeed in sport. GLL has afforded me the opportunity to inspire others and most importantly link with the next generation of athletes to help them understand the importance of having a network of support staff around them when it comes to competing at the highest level.”

GLL Sport Foundation Patron Sally Gunnell understands the role the programme has to play.

She said; “Support from the GLL Sport Foundation is essential for young athletes. It can sometimes be the difference between being talented and competing on an elite level. I have experienced first hand the financial struggle of being on the fringes of elite sport and support programmes such as the GLL Sport Foundation relieves some of the burden so that more time can be spent on performing at the highest level possible.”

GLL is the UK’s largest leisure operator and leading Social Enterprise. Athletes across GLL’s network of 61 areas of the UK, including Northern Ireland will be able to benefit from this  support. Supported athletes access financial support, training, membership support to Better leisure centres across the UK and access to sports science and physiotherapy programmes.

Athletes from across Northern Ireland can apply for support through the GLL Sport Foundation via the online portal –

Applications will close 20 February 2017.

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