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Eight local athletes awarded grants towards travel costs

Date: 15 September 2021

Time: 16:00

Weighlifter Kelly Skea is one of eight local athletes who've been awarded an Athlete Travel Award in September 2021.

Eight local athletes have been awarded with a special grant supported by sportscotland to help sportspeople in regional and rural Scotland access competitive and training opportunities.

The Athlete Travel Award Scheme, now in its fourth year after a pause last year due to COVID-19, is a partnership between sportscotland and the participating local authorities in Scotland - Orkney Islands, Western Isles, Shetland Islands and Highlands Councils.

The Scheme helps ‘elite pathway’ athletes – athletes with potential to reach elite levels of competition and performance - from Scotland’s regional areas gain better access to competitive and training opportunities without having to relocate from their communities.

The athletes from Orkney, who will each receive up to £750 towards costs of travel between now and December 2021, are:

  • Finlay Scott, 17 – Squash
  • George Ewing, 13 – Football
  • Kelly Skea, 22 - Weightlifting
  • Louis Hancock, 14 – Football
  • Matthew Byers, 30 – Weightlifting
  • Ross Sinclair, 19 – Weightlifting
  • Rebecca Reid, 28 – Badminton
  • Shannon Leslie, 14 – Badminton

sportscotland has allocated each of the participating local authorities £10k for their Schemes, 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.

Councillor Gwenda Shearer is Chair of Orkney Islands Council's Education, Leisure and Housing Committee.

She said: "I’d congratulate each of our Orkney athletes on their awards and very much hope this practical support will help put them on a level playing field with athletes around Scotland, so they have every chance to develop to their full potential.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive, sportscotland, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging period for Scottish sport but athletes and coaches have shown real resilience and commitment in finding ways to continue their training during the pandemic.

“We recognise the specific challenges faced by island athletes, especially at this time, so it’s important to be flexible in how we provide support for the Athlete Travel Award Scheme. By working in partnership with Orkney Islands Council we can deliver services locally through the sportscotland institute of sport in Orkney while providing additional support to allow talented athletes to travel to competitions and progress in their chosen sport.”

“It’s fantastic that another eight athletes from Orkney will benefit from the scheme and we wish them every success.”

One of the athletes, weightlifter Kelly Skea, says the award is a much valued support as she aims to compete more globally: “The funding for me will aid my frequent travels to the mainland for valuable training with the best coaches and Athletes in the country! As well as getting down to competitions to keep improving my official total to work my way up the rankings and hopefully qualify for more international meets.”

This year’s Athlete Travel Scheme featured a bespoke, more flexible application process to address ongoing uncertainty over the sporting calendar due to the pandemic, with two application rounds – July and October.

Athletes are able to apply to both rounds, however the maximum any individual will receive in total is £1,500. Amounts received are based on a number of criteria including their forecasted Competition and Training schedule, understanding of the Sports Performance Pathway and National Rankings. The application process also requires athletes to evidence how the grant will improve their performance, provide them access to quality training opportunities and improve their sports or club environment.

The next round will open for applications in October, covering the period January – April 2022. More details will be available in coming weeks.

We'll be profiling these successful athletes on our OIC Updates Facebook page over the coming eight days - follow the page to see them!

  • Summary:

    Eight local athletes have been awarded with a special grant supported by sportscotland to help sportspeople in regional and rural Scotland access competitive and training opportunities.

  • Category:
    Leisure and Culture

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