Dorset Community Foundation and Lord Lieutenant boost sports stars with grants

13 promising young sportpeople share £9,400 worth of support

Dorset Community Foundation and Lord Lieutenant boost sports stars with grants

A GROUP of young sporting stars whose prospects are threatened by the cost of living cost have been given a boost to their careers with £9,400 worth of grants from Dorset Community Foundation.

Its Lord Lieutenant’s Fund for Young and Talented has supported 13 exciting talents to help them continue making their mark in their chosen sport. The fund, now in its seventh year, has now awarded a total of almost £50,000 to 59 young people, including Olympic 100m butterfly swimmer Jacob Peters who was a recipient early in his career.

Following in his wake is swimmer Jessica Huggins, 15, who is a member of Poole Swimming Club just like Jacob, and also like him competes in the butterfly – as well as the backstroke and individual medley. The Parkstone Grammar School pupil, who lives in Lytchett Matravers, said her £500 grant will help towards the cost of travelling to competitions.

“I was really happy when I heard I had got the grant,” she said. “It will be really helpful because we will be able to get to the competitions that are further away and not have to worry so much about money and how much it is all going to cost.”

She will also be investing in a new race suit. “These race suits cost around £300 per suit, but my mum only ever gets second hand suits for me from eBay and pays no more than £70. This means they are a bit stretched and have lost their water repellence before I even wear them.

“I still won’t be able to afford a new one but at least I can get a better used one.”

In April Jessica, who gets up at 4am for training four times a week, qualified for the British Senior Championships and was ranked 64th in the whole country. “I want to go as far as I can in the sport and if that’s the Olympics that would be so cool,” she said.

Golfer Ellie Mans, 17, has received a grant for the second year. She used last year’s award to buy new equipment and, as with this year’s £1,000 grant, for entry fees, travel and accommodation. She captains Dorset Girls as well as playing for the ladies team and is a member of the side that qualified for the England County National Finals at King’s Lyn in September.

The Milford on Sea youngster, who has just finished A-levels, also took part in a round of the Rose Series at Wentworth last year. “It’s such an honour to receive the grant for a second year in a row,” she said. “It helped me so much this last year.

“It would be an absolute dream to turn professional. I had a taste of professional competition when I played in the Rose Series. I could feel what it would like to be a professional so that made me want it even more.”

It’s such an honour to receive the grant for a second year in a row

Rower Matas Volungevicius, 16, of Bournemouth, will use his £1,000 grant to buy more equipment, including a rowing machine so he can follow his dream of winning a place in Great Britain Under 19 Squad at trials in September.

The student at Brockenhurst College, where he is studying sport and fitness, said his mum Brigita has borrowed money in the past to cover the costs of competing with Christchurch Rowing Club. “My mum has put in a lot of help, especially with motivation,” he said. “If I say I’m too tired to go to a session she says ‘I’ll drive you there, I’ll pick you up and I’ll make you breakfast. She is a big help to me and so is the grant, I am so happy and grateful to have it.”

Netball star Carina Rowe, 14, of Bournemouth, already competes above her age group for the prestigious Bath University Under 15s and will have trials for the Under 17s in September.

The Glenmore and Winton Academy pupil, who plays at goal keeper or goal defence, said her grant of £600 will help with travel to Bath and Exeter for training. “The grant will really help my mum because she spends a lot of money on petrol,” she said. “All through the years I’ve been playing netball she has been paying a lot of money to support me. She says she can see I have something special and really believes in me, which is nice.”

Dorset Community Foundation Chief Executive Grant Robson said: “We are really excited to be able to support this next generation of sporting talent. I’m very grateful in particular to Jacob’s mum Rachael who was part of our grant panel and also to Superior Seals in Wimborne who gave an extra donation to the fund to ensure we could support everyone.

“I’d be very interested in talking to any other companies or donors who wanted to help make this investment in the future of sport, not just in Dorset but as we have seen in Jacob’s case, in Great Britain.”

Find out more about the programme here.


Pictured: Swimmer Jessica Huggins, left, golfer Ellie Mans, rower Matas Volungevicius and netball player Carina Rowe


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