For many young high performing emerging athletes, there can be one big challenge to playing and competing that is hard to overcome. Passion, talent and commitment are within the athlete but often having access to the essential financial resources are not. For emerging and elite athletes, the costs include memberships, insurances, transport, equipment and competitions. The Sports Excellence Scholarship Fund steps up to fill this need.
Program: Education and Sport
Project: The Sports Excellence Scholarship Fund
Location: National, Australia
The Sports Excellence Scholarship Fund (SESF) provides financial help to high performing school-age athletes from 10 – 18 years old. The focus is on athletes whose financial situation means that their ability to remain training and competing is at risk. The reasons for this are many.
Participation in sport, whether at a community club level, in school or as a high performing athlete, results in much more than physical and mental wellbeing. Through their sport, players and athletes learn teamwork, leadership, self-discipline, gain confidence and improve their problem solving and critical thinking. They develop independence, resilience, organisation and a sense of responsibility and belonging.
The SESF understands and respects that for young athletes, their participation in their chosen sport is often what motivates and maintains them in all areas of their lives, despite their adversity or difficulties. Ensuring that all young athletes, irrespective of their personal situation, have equity and the opportunity for inclusion are the goals of the program.
For 2023 scholarship recipient Reese, her mother and sisters are grateful for the support as it will help her “achieve her potential without the financial stress on everyone”.
As well as the financial scholarship of $1,000 for athletes representing their state or country at a sporting championship event, they also become involved in the SESF’s education and ambassadors’ programs. The SESF education program provides additional support to athletes. The ambassadors’ program, initiated by a former scholarship recipient and now Olympic gold medallist, Mack Horton, partners more experienced athletes to mentors up and coming athletes.
The Phillips Foundation (TPF) partners with SESF in helping young people achieve their sporting goals. Through the assistance provided by TPF, 230 students have been supported with scholarships and a further 700 have been involved in the education and ambassadors program. For the families, the recognition and support for their athletes is changing lives.