Island athletes are being given the opportunity to benefit from a scheme to support them with travel costs thanks to a partnership between sportscotland and the local authorities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
The aim is to help athletes from the three island communities gain better access to competitive and training opportunities without having to relocate from the islands.
Eight people will receive £1,500 per person and the scheme will be available for applications for the 2020-2021 financial year from Monday 16 December.
Athletes are required to evidence how the grant will improve their performance, provide them access to quality training opportunities and improve their sports or club environment.
Councillor Gwenda Shearer is Chair of Orkney Islands Council's Education, Leisure and Housing Committee.
She said: "Our high performing athletes in Orkney face a real challenge when it comes to the potentially prohibitive cost of travel to training events and competitions.
“It’s important that are athletes are not disadvantaged in this way and I'm delighted that we are working with sportscotland once again to offer this invaluable support - enabling our athletes to compete on a level playing field.
“With Orkney set to host the Island Games in 2023, this is a particularly important time to be helping our best athletes prepare for competition at the highest level.”
For a second year, sportscotland has allocated each of the three local authorities £10,000 with the councils then required to top this up with £2,000 of their own funding – plus the equivalent of £3,000 of management and administrative time.
Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “We recognise the specific challenges faced by island athletes.
“That’s why we are delighted to continue support for the Island Athlete Travel Scheme, in partnership with the island councils.
“By working together, 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.”
The scheme opens for applications via the council website https://www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/Sports_Development/athlete-travel-award-scheme.htm from Monday 16 December. The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Friday, 14 February 2020.