Young athletes out in the cold as Liberal Democrats close Olympic-based grants scheme

A South Cambridgeshire grants scheme for aspiring young athletes has been shut down.

The awards scheme, offering small grants to individuals out of a yearly £10,000 pot, came on the back of an initiative launched nationally by Lord Coe, the gold medal winning runner who steered the 2012 London Olympics to success. 

South Cambridgeshire District Council was one of many areas that heeded the call to build on the sporting legacy of the Olympics, and its Elite Athletes Scheme was launched. 

Now the Liberal Democrat administration in charge at South Cambridgeshire has decided to close the scheme, saying that it needed to make “hard choices”.

Conservative Councillor Mark Howell, who originally launched the scheme said, “It appears from this decision that the Liberal Democrats have turned their backs on any of our young people who aspired to sporting excellence.”

Over the years the scheme has helped young people in sports as varied as diving, power lifting and clay shooting. The small grants were intended to help with items of kit or travel to training venues.

Cllr Peter Topping, Conservative leader and a keen rower and cyclist said “this scheme was intended to help young people with the potential for the highest levels of sporting excellence.  The scheme was aimed at young athletes from the villages that make up South Cambs. We wanted young people to aim high and be their best. It’s a shame that the Liberal Democrats don’t value this local legacy from the pride and achievement that was the 2012 London Olympics.”

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For further information please contact Cllr Peter Topping, 07825 876582 peterwwtopping@gmail.com

In the photo: Daniel Mawby from Swavesey received an elite athlete award from South Cambs in 2017. This enabled him to get the extra training he needed to become the 2018 British Junior Clay Pigeon champion in FITASC (Federation Internationale de Tir Aux Armes Sportives de Chasse).