The GLL Sports Foundation (GSF) will award promising young athletes in Northern Ireland bursary packages to help them achieve their sporting dreams.
GLL Sports Foundation ambassadors, boxer James McGivern and taekwondo star Rachel McCune with GLL Community Sports Manager, Ronan McKenna.
The bursary packages, awarded to athletes who successfully apply for them, will include financial grants, access to sports science, medical support and employment opportunities.
Social enterprise GLL runs 14 leisure centres in Belfast in partnership with Belfast City Council. The GLL Sports Foundation is the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK.
In Belfast, the bursary packages will also include training memberships with access to each of the Better Leisure Centres across the city.
The GLL Sport Foundation has already provided support to some of Northern Ireland’s most promising young athletes.
Boxer James McGivern, who won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and who will represent Ireland in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is a GLL Sports Foundation supported athlete.
James McGivern, GLL Sport Foundation ambassador and Commonwealth games bronze medallist said: “GLL is a fantastic organisation paving the way for ordinary young people like me to compete at the highest level.
“I am now focussed on training for Tokyo to improve on my Bronze at the Commonwealth Games. I’ve no intention of coming back with anything less than Gold. The support of GSF has been really important in my development as an athlete and I am proud to be a GLL Sport Foundation ambassador now and into the future”.
In 2018, 70% of the GLL Sport Foundation’s supported athletes were under 21 years old and 93% received no other funding.
Another GLL Sports Foundation supported athlete from Northern Ireland is Rachel McCune.
Aged just 16, Rachel is the only female from Northern Ireland to have ever qualified for the European Taekwondo Championships (Special Techniques category).
Rachel McCune said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for young athletes. The support I received from GSF was just a crucial part of helping me reach the next level in my sport.
“The access to the first-class facilities in each of the Better Leisure Centres right across Belfast has been important in allowing me to train and develop and achieve my sporting goals. The financial support is obviously fantastic but it’s the added bonus of medical support and Better Leisure training facilities that comes from the GSF awards that makes them so valuable.”
GLL Community Sports Manager, Ronan McKenna said: “Since 2015, GLL has invested over £160,000 in the GLL Sports Foundation awards, providing vital support for young, promising athletes, matching their hard work and potential with practical and financial support.
“I’m thrilled that in 2019 we’ll be providing bursaries to even more of our most exciting young athletes in Northern Ireland.”