SportsAid is very proud to have Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge as the charity’s Patron – a champion of future champions.
Her support for young and aspiring athletes through SportsAid stems from her own love of sport and a desire to help young people realise their full potential. It follows her role as official ambassador for Team GB and Paralympics GB during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will help to give young sports people throughout the UK a brighter future.
Proudly supporting the next generation
SportsAid helps the next generation of British sports stars by giving them financial support and recognition during the critical early years of their careers.
These athletes are typically aged 12 to 18 and are among our brightest hopes for future Olympic and Paralympic success.
The SportsAid Awards they receive are funded by the charity's partners, donors and fundraisers - recognising their achievements and potential before anyone else. These awards help aspiring athletes to train harder and compete more effectively so they can progress up to the senior and/or international level of their sport. At this point many go on to become Olympians and Paralympians.
The right athletes at the right time
SportsAid ensures the right people get the right help at the right time by working with the governing bodies of 75 sporting disciplines – including winter, summer, Olympic, Paralympic and other sports.
“At a young age, committing to sport at a high level can be a real challenge,” said Olympic bronze and silver medal winning gymnast Louis Smith, who was supported by SportsAid in 2007 and 2008. “SportsAid helped me to make this commitment by being an extra vote of confidence outside my support group.”
Sports' governing bodies nominate athletes like Louis to SportsAid for support. The charity then looks for suitable donors who would like to fund their awards. Typically, 2,000 athletes receive this support every year.
At the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, almost two-thirds of the British team were former (and in a few cases current) recipients of SportsAid's support. These athletes won 20 Olympic and 27 Paralympic gold medals between them.
Before the Games Team GB gymnast Lynne Hutchison wrote to SportsAid to say, "Thank you so much for supporting me, it really is motivating to know that you've got support behind you and I'm really excited for the Games this summer.
"I've really enjoyed these five years with Arup and SportsAid. It helps to know that you've been noticed as an athlete with potential as well as knowing you're part of a team that has supported so many young athletes that go on to become Olympians and sporting heroes! I guess that Arup and SportsAid believed that I could reach London 2012 before I did!
"I remember when I first visited the London offices just after Beijing, I was inspired by the displays showing the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, but the Olympics was just a dream for me back then. Now I'm just a couple of weeks away from joining Team GB!"
Supporting athletes in education
On behalf of UK Sport, SportsAid also manages the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (known as TASS).
TASS supports aspiring sportsmen and women in higher or further education by giving them £3,500 of specialist services a year. These services help the athletes to pursue a dual career involving high-performance sport and their education. Since TASS was established in 2004, SportsAid has distributed more than £27 million of funding for aspiring athletes through TASS - boosting academic performance as well as the performance of top British athletes in winter and summer sports.