Athlete Travel Scheme Launched
Orkney's top athletes are set to benefit from a scheme designed to support travel costs in the Islands.
The pilot Islands Athlete Travel Award Scheme from sportscotland will support up to 24 high-performing athletes from across the Islands to attend training and competitions.
Up to eight individuals could benefit in Orkney with £1.5k available per person this year.
The announcement was made this afternoon at the Clickimin Centre in Shetland by the Scottish Government’s Sports Minister Aileen Campbell.
Awards will be allocated through an application process, with athletes required to evidence how the grant will improve their performance, provide them access to quality training opportunities and improve their sports or club environment.
sportscotland has allocated each of the three local authorities £10k, with the Councils then required to top this up with £2k of their own funding plus the equivalent of £3k of management and administrative time.
Speaking from the Clickimin Centre in Lerwick, Sports Minister, Aileen Campbell, said: “I am delighted to be here today to announce funding of £45,000 for the Island Athlete Travel Award Scheme to support talented athletes from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles with their additional costs of travel.
“I’ve met some of those young athletes today and it’s been great to hear how they’ll benefit from the scheme – which will complement the extensive services already available locally to performance development athletes through the sportscotland Institute of Sport, as well as demonstrating the Scottish Government’s commitment to help meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive, sportscotland, said: ”At sportscotland we are building a world-class sporting system to give everyone in Scotland the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity at every level. But that is not something we can achieve alone and this new scheme is a terrific example of where partnership working can deliver real results.
“Our partners in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland Councils have shown great commitment to the athletes from their island communities, and, by combining our resources, we have been able to give those athletes the support they need to deliver on the world stage.”
Councillor Rob Crichton is Chair of Orkney Islands Council's Education, Leisure and Housing Committee. He said: "Our high performing athletes in Orkney face specific challenges because of the potentially prohibitive additional travel costs for training and competition - no athlete should be disadvantaged because of where they live. I'm delighted that SportScotland are stepping up to the plate to support these athletes and allowing them to compete on a level playing field.
"As we look to potentially hosting the Island Games in 2023 it's more important now than ever to support our best athletes to be at the top of their game so they can excel in a sporting rivalry and occasion that is in the best tradition of personal and team commitment, dedication and belief."
The scheme opens this month and following an application and selection process, athletes will be identified for support by each local authority. To find out more about the scheme contact Education, Leisure and Housing Services on 01856873535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org