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GLL marks a new partnership with Switch The Play Foundation

Posted on: 28 April 2023 by Switch the Play Foundation

GLL marks 15 years of its Sport Foundation with a new cohort of 2,000 supported athletes and a new partnership with Switch The Play Foundation. 

Charitable Social Enterprise GLL have announced 2,000 athletes will benefit from the 2023 intake of its GLL Sport Foundation – the largest independent athlete award programme in the UK.
A £1.2m fund comprised of financial bursaries, training and access memberships, physiotherapy and more will support talented athletes with the cost of preparing and competing for national and international competition.
Over 15 years, the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) has continued to be at the forefront of developing local young athletic talent with an impressive 25,000 awards totalling £14m having been made since 2008.
Always striving to expand the range of support for athletes, the next development of the programme is to offer mental wellbeing support through a new partnership with Switch The Play Foundation (STPF). This initiative will help a diverse range of athletes receive a full balance of support in an often challenging environment.
Aspiring and established athletes with GSF awards can access STPF services. This will cover athletes while they are training, competing at the highest level and helping them to prepare for when their Athlete careers have finished.
STPF’s holistic, wrap around mental wellbeing support services include TEAMmate, a confidential emotional support helpline, as well as masterclasses on topics relating to self-care and resilience, and access to video resources, guides and podcasts providing top tips.
Speaking at the London Aquatics Centre on 27 April, GSF Patron Sally Gunnell OBE said: “Today, the importance of understanding and managing the mental health of athletes is well understood. We can see across sport that this agenda is increasing its profile and we are delighted that GSF are able to accommodate this into our athletes’ progression.”

STPF CEO Rob Young said: “Like STPF, GLL are an organisation that cares passionately about supporting athletes at every stage of their lives and understand the importance of protecting and enhancing the wellbeing of sportspeople.
“High level sport is all about achieving your full potential but it should not be at any cost. As we have seen, many athletes sacrifice much and struggle to address their mental health at times.
“But we are here for them and look forward to complementing other support that may be available to them by offering that helping hand when it’s most needed.”
“Many athletes can struggle to maintain positive wellbeing through their sporting careers and in their transition to normal life following elite competition. STPF’s support is considered ‘life changing’ in some cases - helping individuals overcome personal obstacles and find their purpose in life after sport.”

Since its inception, the GSF has place significant importance on its thriving partnership with SportsAid and other national sports bodies to ensure the programme works alongside existing national sporting pathways.

Tim Lawler CEO of SportsAid said: “To mark 15 years of the GLL Sport Foundation is such a positive, uplifting moment to be part of. What a wonderful, feel good milestone.
“We are very proud that SportsAid has shared the majority of those years working in partnership with the Foundation and together we’ve been able to help hundreds of young sports people to develop their potential.
“GLL’s reputation as a force for good in communities is well documented – to commit even further to create the Sport Foundation reflects so strongly on the values and principles of everyone involved. Here’s to the next chapter of the Foundation’s work and to our enduring, impactful partnership together.”
GSF Chair Peter Bundey said: “As we celebrate our first 15 years, we are delighted to add this new level of athlete support to our athlete development programme. The impact of this new partnership cannot be overestimated – it’s going to be a potential major help for thousands more athletes who can now access bespoke mental health support as part of their GSF Award.”

“Together with our partners, we are making a real difference to help enrich lives through sport and
at the same time supporting many of the UK’s next generation of sporting talent.”

About GLL/Better:
Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services.
Operating under the Better brand, GLL manage 258 public sport and leisure centres, 113 libraries and 10 children’s centres in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. It has 850,000 members and welcomes 46 million customer visits per year.
GLL launched its GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) in 2008 and has since has supported over 25,000 athletes on their sporting journeys – many to club, national and international competition success.
Charles Dean - 07813 458 258

About Switch The Play Foundation:
Switch The Play Foundation is the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting all sportspeople to successfully achieve their potential at every stage of their life. Set up as a social enterprise in 2014 with athletes’ voices at its heart, Switch The Play Foundation counts sports stars such as Olympic diver Tonia Couch, International Badminton player Emma Zwiebler and England Netball International, Stacey Francis-Bayman on its Board.
In 2020, Switch The Play gained charity status and became Switch The Play Foundation (STPF), a move allowing them to support more people than ever before. In 2022 the charity directly supported over 1,100 sportspeople from 22 different sports. 

STPF’s mission is to empower sportspeople to be their best through and beyond sport by providing person-centred training, wellbeing and transition support.

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