Shining Stars scheme to be extended as part of Notts’ sporting legacy

Notts County Council Chairman Carol Pepper, Medallists Charlotte Henshaw, Ollie Hynd, Sophie Wells, Sam Oldham, Richard Whitehead and Coun John Cottee, Committee Chair for Culture.
Notts County Council Chairman Carol Pepper, Medallists Charlotte Henshaw, Ollie Hynd, Sophie Wells, Sam Oldham, Richard Whitehead and Coun John Cottee, Committee Chair for Culture.
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Nottinghamshire athletes whose achievements at London 2012 were celebrated at Nottinghamshire County Council’s sporting legacy reception received further good news.

The local authority unveiled more details about a planned £1.9m sporting legacy following London 2012 for the county at the reception at Trent Bridge. It includes a £1m sports fund for local sports clubs and associations and £900,000 to help fund a scoreboard and replay scheme at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, which is set to host two Ashes tests in the next four years – Lords is the only other cricket venue set to host two Ashes tests by 2016.

Among the guests of honour at the sporting legacy reception were London 2012 gold medalists Ollie Hynd, Sophie Wells and Richard Whitehead – all of whom have received Shining Stars funding from the county council in the last three years.

Speaking about the new £1m Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Fund, gold medallist and ‘blade-runner’ Richard Whitehead said: “It is fantastic to hear about these investment plans for sport in the ‘sporting county’. I hope it can help generate a lasting legacy to inspire people in their chosen sport and is great news for Nottinghamshire.”

And Coun John Cottee, Culture Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are committed to building on an unforgettable year of sport. This investment announcement is good news for everyone as making funds available to promote sport, health and wellbeing will provide long term benefits for years to come.”

And it has emerged that as well as the legacy announcements made last night, the Shining Stars programme is set to be extended by a further year.

It means there will be £25,000 up for grabs to aspiring sports stars who are from Nottinghamshire and need vital funds to help pay for transport, equipment and other costs.

Evidence from some of Nottinghamshire’ recent Olympic and Paralympic athletes has indicated just how beneficial additional financial support outside of the ‘World Class’ funding streams was, or the difference it could have made if it had been available.

Triple Paralympic medalist Ollie Hynd said: “I am delighted to hear that Shining Stars Funding is to be extended and that the Community Sports Fund is also being extended. I am very grateful to Nottinghamshire County Council as the funding was quite simply vital to help me concentrate on my training so that I could give my all in the run-up to and at London 2012.

“These grants can help others to achieve so I fully endorse what the council is able to provide in terms of funding for sport.”

And dressage star Sophie Wells said: “The Shining Stars grant enabled me to do that little bit more to enhance my performance. In the past I have used it for extra training, an extra international competition, or a piece of equipment that I needed. Rather than spending it on everyday expenses I used to benefit on top of the normal. It definitely helped give me an edge going into the Paralympics in London.”

Applications for the next round of Shining Star applications is now open, and the closing date for applications to this award is 30th November.

More details of the Sporting Legacy proposals were also discussed at last night’s reception. Recent research into the challenges faced by Nottinghamshire sports clubs has highlighted the following key facility and equipment issues:-

• Difficulty in accessing suitable training venues, and the variable quality of sports pitches and playing surfaces

• Increases to facility hire costs impacting on the sustainability of clubs

• Rising equipment costs and not having enough equipment to meet demand holding back clubs ability to take on new members

Dependant on the outcome of the proposals at Policy Committee on 17th October, the scheme will open for applications on November 1 with a closing date of December 31.