17,000 days to inspiring a generation on Road to Rio

24th May 2016

The UK’s National Lottery funded athletes have delivered more than 17,000 volunteering appearances in schools and communities since 2012 alongside training for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond, UK Sport has revealed.

In return for the continued Government and National Lottery investment in preparation for Rio, announced by David Cameron following the incredible successes at London 2012, British athletes made a commitment to give back up to five days per year to inspire children and young people through sport.

Over the past four years, the 1,300 summer and winter sport athletes supported by UK Sport have delivered coaching and mentoring and shared their inspirational stories with schools and communities, and it is estimated they have reached over 730,000 young people through these activities.

Speaking at Camelot’s announcement today (24 May 2016) that National Lottery players have now raised over £35 billion for Good Causes since the lottery’s launch in 1994, Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “National Lottery players have helped transform the prospects of talented athletes in this country, which has taken our Olympic and Paralympic teams from strength to strength, seen them soar up the medal table and made the nation proud.

“It’s brilliant to see that our athletes have given back over 17,000 days on the road to Rio through volunteering in schools and communities, harnessing the power of sport to inspire the nation.”

Hockey player and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Alex Danson has completed 209 appearances, the greatest number of volunteering days of all National Lottery funded athletes over the past four years. She said: “Without volunteers and people that inspired me, there is no way I would ever have played hockey, let alone had the honour of playing for my country.

“My first coach was a volunteer, he inspired me to improve. I remember a GB player Mandy Nicholson coming to train my team for an afternoon and I literally didn't stop practicing what she taught me for months.

“Throughout my career I have been motivated, encouraged, supported and coached by so many incredible people. These experiences have led me to believe it is a privilege as athletes to give back whenever we can."

The Paralympian who has completed the most volunteering days since London is Boccia player and multiple Paralympic medallist, David Smith, with 125. He said: “I felt it was very important to give something back.With Boccia being not so well known and searching for the next generation, this is doubly important. I'd like to thank the National Lottery, whose funding has enabled me to do this both in my local community and around the country.”