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10 February 2010, 14:08 | Updated: 10 February 2010, 14:11
The Colchester Partnership for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games launched Colchester Sporting Champions, at Colchester Leisure World today.
Members of the partnership include Colchester Borough Council, University of Essex, Colchester Garrison, the Colchester Blackwater Schools Sports Partnership and NHS North East Essex. The launch was also attended by the scheme’s ambassador - Olympian Sarah Claxton - who you can hear from on Heart this afternoon.
Colchester Sporting Champions has been established to support local athletes, with potential to represent Team GB in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, by offering grants of £500. The grants will help local athletes with expenses such as training, travel to competitions and the purchase of essential equipment.
Local businesses are being invited to take part by contributing grants of £500 to sponsor individual athletes. Businesses that take part in the scheme will benefit from a personal appearance from their sponsored athlete, promotion of their business and progress reports among other incentives.
Colchester 2020 Local Strategic Partnership and NHS North East Essex have already made contributions to kickstart the launch of the scheme.
Athletes who receive sponsorship will be linked as a “Sporting Champion” with one of the family of schools from the Colchester Blackwater-Schools Sports Partnership, as a role model and inspiration to local schoolchildren.