Support for talented athletes

From equipment and nutrition, to competition fees and bus fares, the list of costs talented young sportspeople face is seemingly endless.

Many athletes depend on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to fund their progression through their sport, but there is a limit to how far even their biggest supporter’s budget can stretch, and could result in facing a tough decision on whether to continue training and competing.

The prospect of competing at the highest level internationally is what motivates young players as they aim to represent their country. They show huge levels of dedication, commitment and sacrifice in pursuing their sporting ambitions.

Young, dedicated basketball players know that there are costs involved when aspiring to train and play at a higher level. Sports equipment and clothing, training fees, training camps, competition and a healthy diet represent considerable expenses each month for many athletes and their families - a challenge that athletes and their families may face.

Basketball England recognises that the cost of competing can be very demanding, therefore the below lists organisations that offer various forms of support to young athletes for their training and playing activities to make the most out of opportunities that are available.

Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) +

TASS is a government backed partnership between talented athletes, educational institutes and National Governing bodies of sport that work together to bring the best out of our country's most exciting young talents. The TASS scheme helps athletes in education – aged 16-plus – to get the very best from their sporting and academic careers without having to choose between the two. They support more than 600 athletes in 32 Sport England sports.

TASS provides vital support services via a national network of experienced practitioners based at TASS Delivery Sites throughout England. The support consists of six core services: lifestyle, strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, psychology, nutrition and a private medical scheme. TASS athletes also receive a financial contribution dependent on engagement with the support services.

Find out more about TASS support.

SportsAid +

SportsAid aims to support the right athletes, at the right time, with the right support. The financial challenge of trying to reach the top of their sport is one of their greatest barriers to success.

SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes each year – the vast majority aged 12 to 18 – by providing them with a financial award to help towards training and competition costs. This acts as a real motivational boost as it is often the first recognition they receive outside of their support network. Most of them rely heavily on their parents as they have no other funding. 

These athletes are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities. 

The charity delivers personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions. This sees them offered mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians while gaining advice from industry experts on performance lifestyle management, sports psychology, nutrition, telling your story through the media and how best to seek further sponsorship.  

Find out more about SportsAid support.

Backing the Best +

Backing The Best, managed by SportsAid for Sport England, aims to support families of aspiring athletes in the early stages of their career, who might feel competitive sport is out of their financial reach.

All Backing The Best athletes must demonstrate outstanding ability to be eligible for the funding. They also have to show that, because of their family's financial situation, they might not get the opportunity to fulfil their potential without it. The awards are worth up to £5,000 per year to help cover expensive costs such as travel, accommodation and medical bills.

Find out more about Backing The Best support.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) Sport Foundation +

The GLL Sport Foundation aims to support talented athletes to develop sport performance and achieve sporting success. Applications are open annually from December until February and athletes' support begins in April each year.

Athletes receive:

1) Financial support through awards ranging from £200-£1250 and/or

2) Training membership support providing free access to sport and leisure venues currently managed by GLL and our partners.

3) Sport science support through access to physiotherapy, injury rehabilitation and other sport science programmes.

4) Athletes can also gain employment for GLL and also access learning, qualifications and development opportunities through the GLL Sport Foundation and GLL.

To qualify for an award athletes must 1) have a direct link to where GLL operate sport and leisure venues and 2) compete within performance sport from a regional – international level.

Find out more about GLL Sport Foundation support.

University Scholarships +

Many universities across England offer scholarships to student athletes who have displayed potential for success both academically and athletically. Benefits of a scholarship might include a significant amount of funding, as well free access to high class facilities and experienced practitioners. Athletes on university scholarships will usually be expected to contribute to the university’s BUCS points. The amount and quality of support provided vary from institution to institution so it is advisable to research what’s available at a number of different universities. To find out more UK Universities that offer performance basketball programmes, including details of scholarships that are available, click here

Everyone Active Sporting Champions +

Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme was launched in 2016, with the aim of providing ongoing support for talented athletes across the UK. The scheme offers both monetary funding and access to Everyone Active’s 150 leisure centres across the country.

Find out more about Everyone Active support.

Active Partnerships (formerly known as County Sports Partnerships) +

An easy way to find out about funding opportunities available to you both regionally and nationally, is to contact your local County Sports Partnership. The Active Partnerships website has a handy tool to search for contacts in your region.

 

Charitable Organisations +

In addition to SportsAid and GLL Sport Foundation, there are a number of other charities that offer support or grants for essential sports equipment such as The Joanna Brown Trust, the Dickie Bird Foundation and the Rob George Foundation. There may also be local charities that fund talented athletes in your area. For example, Sport Newcastle is a charity offering individual grants and scholarships to sportspeople living in Tyneside.

Local Authority Grants +

It may be possible to access some support or financial assistance from your local authority as a resident athlete. It’s definitely advisable to check your local council website or contact them directly to explore what funding may be available.

Crowdfunding +

In the ages of social media, crowdfunding can be a powerful tool for generating financial support for your sport. It can be especially effective if you’re looking for help to fund for a particular purpose like an important competition. Many successful fundraisers offer their supporters a ‘reward’ such as a special thank you message or a one-to-one coaching session to encourage larger donations and build a relationship with their followers. There are now a number of few sports-focussed websites such as Pledge Sports and Make A Champ that are free to use in return for a small fee per donation.

Sport England provides some general advice, as well as the pros and cons of crowdfunding for sports.

Student Bursary +

Students in higher education can apply for money directly from their university or college on top of any other student finance – you don’t have to pay this money back. Each university or college has their own rules about bursaries, scholarships and awards, for example who qualifies, how much you can get and how to apply.

Find out more about bursaries.

 

Clubs/Schools +

Clubs and schools play a vital role in getting people into the game, supporting and underpinning the delivery of the whole talent pathway. They support athletes by providing equipment or covering training and competition fees. Contact your club and/or school directly to explore what may be available to you.

Disclaimer:

Please note that every effort has been made to ensure this information is reliable and correct at the time of publishing, April 2021.

Basketball England is not responsible for any changes to the information. For more details, please visit the individual organisation's website or contact them directly.