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Young Charnwood Athletes GO GOLD!

I don't think anyone would call me a sporty person, or a particularly active one if I'm honest, but there are a number of people in the Charnwood area who certainly are!

There are a number of programmes and organisations with a presence across Leicestershire that are dedicated to insuring that the country's young athletes get the full support they need to reach their true potential. One such programme is the Leicestershire & Rutland Sport's GO GOLD programme;

"The aim of GO GOLD is to support talented young athletes, including those athletes who are being recognised by their National Governing Bodies as being our future Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth athletes and potential medal winners."

Their funding comes in two levels: "Performance" and "Podium". Athletes who fall under the Performance category are referred to their local authority (i.e. the Charnwood Borough Council) who, if the authority is participating in the programme, will provide a grant of £100. However, athletes competing at a Regional, National or International level in their given sport will qualify for the Podium funding category which is spit onto three tiers. Tier three allows athletes a grant of £250, tier two allows athletes a grant of £500 and tier one earns athletes the title of GO GOLD Ambassador and a grant of £1000 (£750 for those in team sports).

Another way young athletes can benefit further from their respective sport is through the Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) sports performance programme which targets athletes between the ages of 16 - 19 who have the potential to compete on the world stage or receive a professional contract in the future. Athletes on the programme can take one of two pathways. In Pathway One, athletes can expect to achieve one of the following: Level 3 (A-level equivalent) Subsidiary Diploma in Sport, Level 3 Diploma in Sport (Performance & Excellence) or Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Performance & Excellence). This is expected to take between 18 - 24 months. Athletes who take Pathway Two can expect to receive a Certificate in Understanding Sports Performance which is expected to take around 12 - 20 months to finish. While on the AASE programme, athletes are required to attend scheduled workshop days where they will be taught vital knowledge about achieving sporting excellence by top coaches in their given sport. Additional work will occasionally be set for the participant to complete at their own discretion as well as maintaining a monthly blog of their progress.

As mentioned, there are a number of local athletes on these or similar programmes including my brother Adam, now 17 years old, who has been involved in both programmes since September 2016. His aim is to eventually qualify to be part of team GB and compete on the world stage. Any good quality sporting equipment is surprisingly expensive so the funding he receives goes towards his sporting expenses; in his case, swimming equipment such as racing trunks, hotel bills for competitions away, petrol money, etc. As someone who has to drive to and from training nine times a week, he definitely appreciates a subsidy.

Elliot Wilkes