Bursaries available for young stars

Promising sports performers in Derbyshire are once again being encouraged to apply for a bursary from Podium – a scheme to help local athletes meet training-related costs as they bid to reach the top.

Applications for cash help of up to £500 from Podium – formerly known as the Derbyshire Talented Athlete Fund – are now being accepted.

Athletes who compete in any sport recognised by Sport England and live in Derbyshire or compete for a Derbyshire-based club can apply, with successful athletes likely to be already competing for England or Great Britain, be part of a recognised national development squad or be part of a development squad aligned to a professional sports club.

To apply, athletes should complete an online application form which is available on the Derbyshire Sport website www.derbyshiresport.co.uk.

For athletes aged under 18, application details will need to be confirmed by a parent or guardian.

Applications must be received by Friday, October 21.

Podium is the new name for the Derbyshire Talented Athlete Fund, which last year awarded bursaries of up to £300 each to 159 athletes to help them meet training-related costs such as travel, coaching or equipment.

Athletes who have previously received a bursary from the scheme are eligible to receive a further bursary for 2012, but must apply again as they will not be put forward automatically.

Podium is backed by Derbyshire business scheme ICON, with money raised from the scheme’s £300 annual membership fee used to support local athletes through Podium.

Cllr Carol Hart, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “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.

“Podium aims to help athletes reach their full potential, and those that have previously 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.

“We want to see more people from Derbyshire competing on the international stage, and we hope that Podium will help in achieving this and that when athletes do reach their goals they will be able to reflect positively on their journey and remember that the Derbyshire community recognised their talent and supported them.”

More information and an online application form can be found at www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/talented_athlete_support