George Barber

George Barber says GVC Holdings and SportsAid’s support helped him navigate his way through lockdown.

The swimming star currently competes for the City of Sheffield Swim Squad while studying at Sheffield Hallam University and has experience in both open water and in the pool.

Barber is a recent recipient of a SportsAid award and reckons the opportunities the charity have provided can take him all the way to the top.

“I’ve been on different Zoom call meetings with professional athletes and professionals in their field like psychologists – and that’s really helped,” said the 19-year-old, a beneficiary of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“It keeps you interested in sport and keeps you motivated to want to get better during a tough time – it lifts your spirits up so I’ve been really appreciative of everything they’ve given me.

“You wouldn’t believe how much it helps – to get tips from the best athletes is amazing, and people have obviously gone through the pathway before.

“It shows it works and you can come out in the future and progress to a really good standard.”

Supported by Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, GVC announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid last year to help young athletes realise their potential and promote grassroots sport.

The investment will provide funding for training, travel and equipment and allow athletes access to mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.

And in receiving SportsAid support Barber is following in the footsteps of fellow swimmers Adam Peaty MBE and Ellie Simmonds OBE, who both treaded the same pathway with the charity.

So, how will Barber spend some of GVC and SportsAid’s money? On a top of the range new race suit, of course.

“The money is an unreal help, especially with all the extra costs that come with swimming,” he added.

“Race suits cost a ridiculous amount of money and can be £200 each, so the funding really, really helps!”

GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, GVC are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.