Back L-R: Louise Lea, (Wightlink), Councillor John Hobart and Allan Bridges (1Leisure). Front: Poppy Bennett and Martha Eggleton


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The Talented Athlete Programme sponsored discount scheme is now open for budding Island sporting stars.

The Isle of Wight Council’s sports unit is now accepting applications for the 2020 scheme, aimed at helping gifted sportspeople reach their full potential and achieve further success by providing discounted access to a whole host of services.

Talented athletes who meet the scheme’s criteria will also be able to use the council’s leisure centres free of charge and receive discounts in selected local retailers, physio and chiropractic services, as well as discounted travel on Wightlink.

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Last year’s programme helped more than 70 athletes, aged from 8 to 80 representing 21 sports.

Lee Matthews, the council’s recreation and open spaces manager, said:

“The scheme seeks to give support and encouragement to our home-grown sportsmen and sportswomen of all ages so they can achieve the very best they can without having to worry about the costs of using leisure facilities or travelling around the Island and to the mainland.

“I would urge our home-grown stars to take advantage of the scheme and I would also like to thank our sponsorship partners for coming on board again and helping us to continue to support Island future athletic stars.”

The council is able to offer:

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• discounted Wightlink travel;
• free access to the council’s 1Leisure facilities at Medina, the Heights and Westridge; and
• up to 20% off sports equipment (through our sponsors).

Wightlink marketing and innovation director, Stuart James added:

“We know that in order to pursue training or competition it is often necessary for Island sportspeople to travel to the mainland — we are doing our bit to ensure that the need to cross the Solent is not a barrier to progress. We are delighted to continue our support for the Talented Athlete Programme.”

For young people currently competing at a Hampshire county level or above, the scheme provides support to access and train for top level competition within their chosen sport. The scheme offers the same support for adults who are representing England or Great Britain, and those who are recognised by their sport governing body as a potential talent.

To check your eligibility against the current criteria and to obtain an application pack, visit

The application process closes on 2 February 2020 and the successful applicants will be notified in February. The scheme is applicable to Isle of Wight residents only.

The scheme has benefitted a number of sporting stars have benefited including athletics 10,000 metres star, Jessica Andrews (now Martin), who competed at the Rio Olympics; hammer athlete Andrew Frost, who competed in both 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and Nicholas Percy, discus athlete who is currently Britain’s number two.

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