Recognition for Renfrewshire’s sporting elite.

Renfrewshire’s elite athletes, and its clubs, have benefited from a new Commonwealth Games Fund set up by Renfrewshire Council.

56 elite athletes and 33 clubs in Renfrewshire have received a share of £100,000 made available by Renfrewshire Council to help its athletes and sport clubs fulfil their Commonwealth Games ambitions.

Grants of up to £5,000 were available through the fund to help with personal development, training, equipment, transport or efforts to increase participation in sport across Renfrewshire.

Applications were reviewed by the council and its Active Renfrewshire partners against set criteria with the grants being awarded at a presentation event in Paisley Town Hall.

Councillor Jim Harte, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, who presented the cheques on the night said: “This fund is part of our ongoing commitment to sport in Renfrewshire and we are proud to support our clubs and athletes in this way.

“Our clubs play a vital role in nurturing and developing Renfrewshire’s future talent, individuals who no doubt will have been inspired by the achievements of our current 2014 Commonwealth Games hopefuls.”

Derek Hawkins and Cara Kennedy, both currently training with the national squad for their respective disciplines, received grants and were present at the town hall event to answer questions about their achievements to date.

Derek, who in his 14 year athletic career has been Scottish champion 16 times and currently holds the 11th best time in the marathon ever by a Scottish athlete, commented: “The funding will go towards helping me to travel to races around Europe and it has also allowed me to train in high altitude venues in Kenya and France which I have found very beneficial.”

While gymnast Cara Kennedy explained: “The grant will allow me to attend training camps out with Scotland; specifically in Russia.  It will help me try to make the 2014 team and then continue on to make the 2018 team as well.”

The Commonwealth Games Fund is part of Renfrewshire Council’s strategy for creating a lasting legacy from the Games with the potential of Renfrewshire athletes competing, while further promoting sport in Renfrewshire and the clubs within.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.