BF is a small National Governing Body without the funding or resources to be able to meet the financial needs of all the athletes representing GBR. Instead we work to identify sources of funding and support and where we can, helping athletes to access them.
There are a number of different avenues of funding that talented athletes can access to support their ambitions to compete at the highest level. Awards typically come in the form of discounted access to facilities, specialist coaching, monetary grants or a combination of the two. This page will detail some of them, but it is by no means an exhaustive list and there are a number of private charities that offer support to athletes across the country, so athletes are encouraged to do their own research.
Funding and support for fencing and fencers is a privilege not a right. Whilst athletes cannot always control results, they are expected to uphold the values of the ADP in the way that they behave towards organisations that provide funding and support. This includes demonstrating gratitude (saying thank you to those organisations and individuals that fund you!) and taking responsibility for delivering on any conditions of support. This might include personal appearances or social media activity. By treating those that support us with respect and upholding our commitments to them, we increase the likelihood that support will continue, for current and future generations of athletes. We also enhance the reputation of our sport which increases the chances that we can attract further sources of funding and support for athletes.
In light of the current situation with COVID-19, some of these funders may be operating adjusted programmes and timeframes to normal. BF recommends athletes looking to apply for specific programmes regularly check for updates on the webpages of the specific funders.
A good first port of call is your relevant local authority, many of them offer discounted leisure and fitness centre membership or monetary grants for talented athletes.
The GLL Sport Foundation
The GLL Sport Foundation is a charity that supports talented athletes across the UK. Support ranges from leisure and fitness centre membership to monetary awards. Full details can be found on their website
Applications are submitted directly to GLL, and the application window runs from 20th December to 20th February annually, with awards running for a year from 30th April.
Everyone Active Sporting Champions
Everyone Active Sporting Champions is a programme that offers support to talented athletes across the UK through its network of fitness and leisure facilities and close ties to local authorities. They have Gold, Silver and Bronze awards ranging from discounted use of facilities to monetary awards. Full details can be found on their website
Applications are submitted directly to Everyone Active Sporting Champions, and the application window typically runs from the end of January to the end of February, with awards being confirmed shortly after and running for a year.
Many universities offer support for talented athletes through scholarships and bursaries offered to athletes. There may be several tiers of support offered, with the specific criteria for scholarships and different levels of support being specific to the university.
When considering applying to different universities, athletes should take the time to research the different support packages that universities offer, this could be done by checking published content on websites, speaking with other athletes that are already enrolled at the universities or contacting the university directly.
SportsAid – England, Scotland, Wales only
SportsAid helps the most promising young British athletes by providing them with financial support, recognition and personal development opportunities during the critical early stages of their careers.
Typically, SportsAid aims to support athletes between the ages of 12 and 18. With a Core Award being upto £1,000 per athlete.
SportsAid Awards are decided via a nomination process that typically runs through October and November, with awards starting in April. With each sport having a fixed number of awards it can allocate per year. The nomination process is slightly different depending on which Home Nation an athlete is based in or represents
For athletes based in England, nominations are completed by the Athlete Development Programme. Eligible athletes on the ADP will be invited to apply.
Athletes in Scotland should visit the SportsAid Scotland website for more details.
Athletes in Wales should visit the SportsAid Wales website for more details.
It is important to note that SportsAid raises funding for athletes through donations and charitable events, and as such SportsAid advises that its awards are always “up to” an amount, rather than a guaranteed amount, and while SportsAid will endeavour to provide support to all athletes nominated for an award, this will not always be possible.
Note – An athlete with a SportsAid Core Award is not eligible for Backing the Best or TASS.
The Mary Peters Trust – Northern Ireland only
The Mary Peters Trust is a financial award for athletes based in Northern Ireland. It provides financial support to talented athletes who need support for specific events in the year.
More information can be found at the Mary Peters Trust website.
Applications are made directly to the Mary Peters Trust, with a deadline of the start of March each year. Support lasts for one year.
Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) – England only
TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) is a Sport England funded programme embedded within Universities across England. It provides a package of support to a limited number of athletes similar to many university scholarship programmes (S&C, physio etc). TASS spots are allocated annually to athletes on British Fencing’s Athlete Development Programme, and the process is administered by the Athlete Development Programme staff and coaches.
More information can be found at the TASS website.
The Athlete Development Programme nominates athletes for TASS awards, with the nomination process running from early July to mid-August each year, with awards beginning in September and running for a year.
Note – An athlete with a TASS award is not eligible for a SportsAid Core Award, but may be eligible for Backing the Best.
Backing the Best – England only
Backing the Best is an award funded by Sport England and managed by SportsAid. Its aim is to help athletes compete and train to their full potential who might otherwise be unable to due to financial circumstances. Backing the Best awards can be up to £5,000 per athlete. As with SportsAid core awards, British Fencing has a limited number of Backing the Best awards available.
In order to eligible for a Backing the Best award, an athlete must meet all of the eligibility criteria for a SportsAid award (see above) and in addition, must not have a household income above £50,000 per year.
As with a SportsAid Core Award, British Fencing’s Athlete Development Programme nominates athletes for Backing the Best awards. This process typically runs through October and November, with awards starting in April.
More information about Backing the Best can be found in the Backing the Best section of the SportsAid website.
It is important to note that SportsAid raises funding for athletes through donations and charitable events, and as such SportsAid advises that its awards are always “up to” £5,000, rather than a guaranteed amount.
Note – Athletes in receipt of Backing the Best are ineligible for SportsAid core awards, but may be eligible for TASS.
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