Hebridean athletes set to benefit from travel scheme


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Elite athletes from the Outer Hebrides are set to benefit from a scheme designed to support travel costs in the islands.

The pilot Islands Athlete Travel Award Scheme from sportscotland will support up to 24 high-performing athletes from across the Islands to attend training and competitions.

The aim of this scheme is to help the elite athletes of the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to gain better access to competitive and developmental opportunities available on the mainland.

Up to eight individuals could benefit in the Western Isles with £1,500 available per person this year.

The introduction of the scheme was recently announced by Scottish Government’s Sports Minister Aileen Campbell. The scheme is now available for applications in the Outer Hebrides.

Awards will be allocated through an application process, with athletes required to evidence how the grant will improve their performance, provide them access to quality training opportunities and improve their sports or club environment.

Each of the three local authorities has been awarded £10,000 by sportscotland, with the councils then required to top this up with £2,000 of their own funding plus the equivalent of £3,000 of management and administrative time.

Councillor Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee, told us: ‘We recognise that our high performing athletes and their families face many challenges due to the high costs of training and competing on the mainland. We do not want our location to hinder their progress.

‘We have worked alongside the other Island local authorities and our colleagues at sportscotland towards setting up the Athlete Travel Award Scheme and are grateful for this additional support, adding to the fantastic support provided by our local Sports Councils.

‘I have admired the achievements of our talented young athletes from a range of sports over many years and this new scheme will provide our current talent with some additional support towards helping them get to the highest level.’

The scheme opens this month and following an application and selection process, athletes will be identified for support by each local authority.  To find out more about the scheme contact Karen Pickard at the Lewis Sports Centre on 01851 822787 or email karen.pickard@cne-siar. gov.uk

The deadline for applications is 5pm on March 26.