It has been another hard day for the Alpine Athletes of Britain to swallow with the news that the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme will only be available this season to Park and Pipe programme due to the fact that Alpine is not part of the Sport England Talent Funding programme. Â TASS provides … valuable support to talented athletes who are in education, and although at present is run by UK Sport, from 1 October this year the scheme will be run by Sport England meaning the management of TASS funding changes from British Ski and Snowboard to Snowsport England.
Tim Fawke, Chief Executive of Snowsport England said of the announcement: â€œTASS has for many years brought in valuable money to snowsports and we are glad that they will continue to support snowsports athletes. The money will be invaluable for the Park & Pipe athletes that get selected for the funding, but for our athletes in other disciplines, we are going to continue to work closely with TASS to identify other areas of support and to build towards the future, working hard to establish a platform where all snowsports athletes can be eligible for TASS.â€
With the TASS Funding now run by Snowsport England and the investment decisions of Sport England mirroring those of UK Sport, it is not a huge surprise that this announcement has been made. Disappointing yes but it further emphasises the importance of getting results on the world stage means to the athletes of today in helping the athletes of tomorrow. What it also raises is the importance of funding being sought by the BSS for development programmes. At the recent Alpine Gathering in London, the subject of raising new sponsors for specific projects was highlighted and this is an area that urgently needs help.
Regarding the TASS Funding and how it does indirectly assist Alpine, Fawke explained to Racer Ready that “The Talent funding that is mentioned is the Sport England Talent funding we received. This is 202K (2013-17) over 4 years. So approximately 50K a year. This funding is very much aligned to UK sport and is ring fenced for Park and Pipe. This mainly funds Ian Findlayâ€™s post with a small amount to support some direct coaching of Park & Pipe athletes. Ian does spend considerable time working with all disciplines especially. This is because we have put the case forward that Alpine is a feeder into the freestyle disciplines and it therefore cannot be neglected.”
While the loss of TASS support for Alpine is another door closing on funding, the news that Snowsport England has announced a Talented Athlete Bursary Scheme means that there will be some funds coming into the discipline of Alpine. The programme is focussed on athletes who are and have been in the England Alpine Squad following the athlete pathway. Priority is given to senior athletes.The bursary is jointly funded by Endsleigh Insurance Brokers and the Alpine Ski Team fund. Athletes who are chosen to receive a Talented Athlete Alpine Bursary will be notified by Friday 15th August.
CEO Tim Fawke commented: â€œWe are delighted to grant these bursaries to our up and coming Alpine athletes with the support of Endsleigh Insurance. The decision to commit this for a minimum of two years for each bursary demonstrates an understanding of the commitment the athletes are making to their sport.â€