18 June 2013

The scheme – first launched in 2009 – offers financial support to individuals from 12–18 years of age. Recipients have risen from just five athletes in 2009 to more than 30 this year and in total more than £50,000 has been invested over the last five years.

Young sportsmen and women gathered at Burges Salmon this month to celebrate the largest ever intake for the Springboard support scheme which in partnership with SportsAid offers grants and support to exceptional young athletes.

Of the 32 young athletes selected for support during 2013, 29 met representatives from SportsAid, the national charity for emerging sports talent, and fellow Springboard partners Burges Salmon, Bristol City Council, University of Bath, Bath & North East Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, North Somerset Council and the West of England Sport Trust ('Wesport').

Delegates heard from a number of athletes, including Bath-based Paralympic sprinter Kelly Hutchins, aged 16. Kelly told attendees how she has been juggling her rigorous training schedule with revision for her GCSE exams. Her target is to be selected for the World Championships and ultimately the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Meanwhile artistic gymnast Imogen Chan, aged 12, spoke about fitting in 35 hours a week of training around her school schedule – finishing gym at 9pm most evenings. Imogen, from Portishead, said her dream is to make the Olympics in 2016.

Burges Salmon lawyers, including Natalie Jeffries, Dan Summers, and Jonathan White, are involved in Springboard through providing mentoring to the athletes – offering practical help such as reviewing CVs or applications, as well as acting as a point of contact outside the normal sphere of their school and training regimes.

The 32 athletes being supported this year have either been nominated or endorsed by their national governing body based on their performance and future potential. Their sports are all recognised by Sport England and the athletes are not already in receipt of any other funding, including from the government's Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) or the National Lottery. In addition athletes must have an England or Great Britain top 10 ranking in their age group or be a member of an England or Great Britain squad.

A gymnastics demonstration was also held on the night, showcasing the talents of the Academy of Gymnastics in Portishead.

John Houlden, partner at Burges Salmon, says: “This is the fifth year we have supported the Springboard programme, since its launch in 2009 and we are delighted to see even more athletes benefitting from the support of the scheme this year. It is testament not just to the wealth of exceptional young sporting talent here in the West of England, but also to the continued collaboration of organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors.”

SportsAid’s chief executive, Tim Lawler, said: “SportsAid is proud to be working with Springboard again this year and I would like to thank all the scheme’s partners for making it such a success. Young athletes make huge sacrifices to train and compete and it’s vital we continue to recognise and support their achievements.”

Elly Nashat from Bristol City Council adds: “Bristol City Council are very proud to be helping the future stars of tomorrow by providing a stepping stone in the form of funding and free facility access. The scheme is growing more successful every year and we hope to continue supporting local young athletes to achieve their full potential.”

Rob Stirzaker, Healthy Lifestyles Manager at South Gloucestershire Council said: “We are very pleased to help young athletes by supporting the Springboard programme. The growth in uptake this year shows that this region is increasingly becoming a hotbed of sporting talent, and we look forward to hearing how these athletes rise to new sporting challenges in the coming months”.

Councillor David Dixon, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to supporting activities and opportunities which help young people to make a positive difference to their lives and communities. So it’s an honour to help these inspirational young athletes in their goals to be the best they can be as part of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.”

Cllr Felicity Baker, North Somerset Council's Executive Member for Leisure, said: 'The council is committed to supporting athletes through the local Springboard scheme, providing free access to the leisure centres here in North Somerset. It is very pleasing that so many athletes have taken advantage of the scheme, some even competing in the London 2012 games.'

Key contact

John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and Subsidy Control
  • Projects

Subscribe to news and insight

Burges Salmon careers

We work hard to make sure Burges Salmon is a great place to work.
Find out more