Teesside will become a beacon for national sport. That’s the aim of new £100,000 fund designed to boost the area’s most talented sportsmen and women.
Charitable movement, Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, has set up Financial Assistance for Sportspeople on Teesside (FAST), thanks to the generous support of a growing group of local companies and individuals.
Backed by Teesside’s own Chris Tomlinson, a three times Olympian, the FAST fund to provide cash to boost opportunities for the region’s talented sports people as the strive to reach the top of their game.
The foundation’s trustees and patrons are keen to help young talents with aims of following in the footsteps of Tees sports stars such as World and European 60m gold medal sprinter Richard Kilty, Olympian swimmer Aimee Willmott and Paralympian Jade Jones.
Talented sports people can apply to the FAST fund for vital funds to enhance their sporting opportunities and develop their talent.
Foundation chairman Andy Preston, the Middlesbrough-born businessman who founded the Philanthropic Foundation in 2011, hopes the FAST fund will give sports people opportunities they may otherwise have missed out on.
He said: “Teesside is renowned for its sporting talent but many young talents don’t fulfil their early promise because they are held back due to a lack of finances.
“That’s why we’ve created an initial £100,000 fund to help those capable of reaching the pinnacle of their sport.
“Whether they need money for an overseas tournament or coaching opportunity, for vital equipment or some other crucial element to their development, they can apply to the FAST fund.
“We won’t always be able to say ‘yes’, of course, but the fund will provide a cash pot that hasn’t previously been available to our young sports talents.
“Sport is such an important facet of life on Teesside – and this fund can provide a helping hand that could make all the difference. ”
Former British long jump record holder Tomlinson and leading Teesside athletics coach Rick Betts will join foundation trustees on the FAST fund’s selection panel.
The £10,000 fund celebrates the foundation’s achievement in raising £1 million for Teesside good causes since its launch just four-and-a-half years ago – a milestone that was further boosted by a £700,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor.
The foundation is dedicated to making Teesside a better place to live, work and do business, with businesses and wealthy individuals giving money to local people and organisations who need it the most.
It’s 40 generous patrons, who all donate several thousand pounds each year, include Middlesbrough FC and chairman Steve Gibson’s Bulkhaul, Redcar Bears sponsors Ecco Finishing Supplies, Cleveland Cable Company, Castlegate Shopping Centre, Henderson Insurance Brokers, RMB Automotive, Devereux Transport, Nortech, The Mandale Group, Erimus Insurance Brokers and The Keys Yarm.
The charity is also currently setting up Middlesbrough and Teesside Sports Academy, providing sporting opportunities to help those who have suffered from homelessness or addiction to get their lives back on track.
To apply to the FAST Fund, visit www.fastfund.org.uk