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Elite athletes

‌Rushcliffe FANS (Free Access to National Sportspeople) Scheme

The FANS scheme provides sports people who compete at a national level or equivalent with free access to the fitness, swimming and aerobics for 12 months* at the following sports facilities in Rushcliffe:

*Normal terms and conditions apply as with the standard Rushcliffe Borough Council health and fitness membership package.

The scheme aims to help elite athletes achieve their full potential by reducing the financial burden of training costs. Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the scheme:

  • A current national sportsperson (national is deemed as someone who represents their country/a member of the national team in their chosen sport OR listed in the top ten of the national age group in their chosen sport).
  • A resident in Rushcliffe Borough for the majority of the year
  • Competing in a Sport England recognised sport -

On application, athletes must provide: 

  • Supporting evidence from the National Governing Body or National Squad Coach confirming involvement at national level
  • Photograph – emailed to

If you would like to apply for the scheme please complete the ‌FANS Application Form 2018  and return it to the address given with all the required evidence requested. Individuals must reapply for the FANS scheme every 12 months.

Rushcliffe Elite Sports Grant

As part of the Junior Sportsperson of the Year category at the Rushcliffe Sports Awards, shortlisted athletes are awarded funding from the Rushcliffe Elite Sports Grant. The aspiration of the grant is to alleviate some of the financial burden that competing at an elite level places upon individuals and families as this is often the barrier to achievement.

Awards are made to athletes who are currently performing at international level within their sport to help with costs such as travel, training, accommodation, competition fees and equipment, specialist coaching and other specialist support deemed appropriate by the National Governing Body over the next year.

Nominations for the 2017 Rushcliffe Elite Sports Grant have now been assessed and the following athletes have been successful.

Kate Davis-Bavin – Touch Rugby (England U18)

Representing Nottingham, the Midlands and England, Kate has had an exciting 12 months. From her performance at the Junior Touch Championships in 2016, Kate was selected to compete at the European Federation Permit Competition playing against some of the best players in Europe. Subsequently, she was selected to captain the England U18 Girls team at the Junior Touch Championships in 2017, where her team took Gold.  This summer has seen her progress from the U18’s to the Women’s open division and representing the Midlands side at the National Championships. Here, she was part of the team that won Gold.

Matthew Bondswell – Football (England U16)

Already a member of the Nottingham Forest Academy U16 team, last season saw Matthew make the step up in age groups and make his debut for the Academy U18 team. Since this debut, he has been a regular member of that team. In December, Matthew made his England U15 debut against Turkey having impressed at the trials. He followed this up by playing once again for his country in the Scotland tournament. As if football didn’t keep him busy enough, Matthew gained a silver medal at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in the summer and in the process gained the opportunity to represent England Schools in the Home International.

Rachel Heap – Rowing (GB)

Rachel dominated the Junior Women’s pair division throughout the 2016-2017 season. Starting with victory at the first pairs assessment in February, she continued by dominating the GB Rowing Team regatta winning the time trial, semi-final and A final. This resulted in selection to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Championships in Lithuania in the Summer. Here, Rachel and her partner reached and won the B final, finishing them in 7th place. Rachel has also been accepted into the Leander Rowing Club – the UK high performance centre for aspiring athletes trying to gain a permanent contract with GB Rowing.

Alex Mighten – Football (England U16)

A fantastic 12 months for Alex as he continues to go from strength to strength representing Nottingham Forest at U18 level. During the season, Alex scored 3 goals and was credited with 3 assists for the U18’s. At the beginning of the season, Alex was invited to attend trials for England U15’s and after impressing, gained a place in the squad. He made his debut a few weeks later against Turkey, claiming an assist and left a positive impression with the coaches - being selected for England once again in the Italy tournament. Here, Alex was part of the team that finished 2nd. At the end of the season, Alex made the step up with a debut for the England U16 team at the Scotland Tournament.

Zach Pearson – Canoe Slalom (GB)

A member of the England Talent Squad, Zach continues to train and race across the UK and Europe and has had a wonderful 12 months. At the end of October, Zach was ranked no. 1 in the country in his U15 Canoe Slalom section. In April he was winner of the U16 Canoe Slalom Premier Race 2 and on the back of this performance gained a wildcard entry to the Senior and U23 British selection race. In June, he represented GB in Austria winning Gold in the U16 section before being the highest ranked U16 GB paddler at the European Canoe Association Slalom Cup.

Ewan Vernon – Canoe Slalom (GB)

A member of Holme Pierrepont Canoe Club and England Talent Squad, 2016/2017 has been an exciting season for Ewan. After a summer of training in the Czech Republic, he was crowned British Open Junior Champion and finished the season ranked number 1 in the UK J18 league and 9th in the premier division for K1 men. Looking to break onto the international circuit, he earned his place as first reserve in the GB Junior team.

Olivia Whitelaw – Equestrian (Team GB)

Olivia has made huge strides in the last 12 months. After an invitation to attend Team GB Pony Prime Squad training in the Autumn and Winter, her hard work and dedication paid off as she was crowned British Dressage Premier League Pony FEI Class winner in May 2017. The summer just got better for Olivia as on the day of her 14th birthday in June, she was selected to represent and ride for Team GB at the CDIP (International Dressage Competition) in Diepenbeck Belgium. After a successful appearance, she was once again selected for her country, this time at the CDIP in Hickstead.

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