Lily Abbott

Lily Abbott says the financial support of GVC Holdings and SportsAid was a watershed moment in her rowing career.

The 18-year-old is a recent recipient of a SportsAid grant and is relishing life on the big stage, having competed for Great Britain at the prestigious Coupe de la Jeunesse.

Rowing can be an expensive sport to sustain and Abbott admits the injection of GVC and SportsAid support came at the perfect time.

“SportsAid and GVC’s funding will really help with paying for race entry fees, which are extremely expensive in this sport!” said Abbott, one of 50 beneficiaries of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“Sometimes you have to pay up to £50 just to enter a race, never mind the travel of getting there, food and accommodation.

“Having money that is literally put aside to my sport is so helpful – just having it separate and knowing that it’s there is really reassuring.”

Supported by Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, GVC announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid in 2019 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.

GVC and SportsAid’s financial support is supplemented by the confidence boost it provides athletes – and Abbott says that psychological impact is palpable every day.

“To know that I’ve got people backing me is a really amazing feeling,” added Abbott, who is treading the same pathway as Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dame Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds OBE in receiving SportsAid support.

“I’m very grateful for it and it takes a lot of the stress away, while it feels amazing to follow in the footsteps, be on the same path as and be associated with some top athletes – that’s really cool.”

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.