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SPORTS stars of the future are being given a helping hand to achieve their dreams.

A new initiative has been launched to support aspiring athletes in Renfrewshire with free access to the first-class Renfrewshire Leisure sports facilities, discounts for physiotherapy treatment and the chance of grant funding worth up to £1500.

The Renfrewshire Aspiring Athlete Scholarship (RAASP) is a partnership between Renfrewshire Leisure, Renfrewshire Council, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Physiotherapy Centre and West College Scotland.

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Sportsmen and women can apply for an Aspiring Athlete Leisure Card to get the benefits of the initiative and there are two different types of card.

The first is a Tier 1 card for an international athlete who has represented Scotland, or Great Britain in the past year. And a Tier 2 card is for athletes who are part of an international training squad or a recognised high-performance programme.

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Successful applicants for the RAASP Scholarship Programme can receive a grant of up to £1500 for Tier 1 cardholders and £250 for Tier 2 athletes.

Athletes applying to join the programme must live in Renfrewshire and be a member of a Renfrewshire sports club. However, athletes who stay outside of Renfrewshire, but are members of a local sports club, can apply for a Tier 2 card.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We have many talented sports people in Renfrewshire with huge potential to get to the top of their chosen sport.

“Our aim is to give them a helping hand to realise their potential and achieve their individual aims and aspirations.”

Renfrewshire Council is providing the £50,000 funding for the initiative and Councillor Jim Paterson, convener of the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board said:

“Along with our partners in this initiative, we want to encourage our young sportsmen and women to be all they can be.

“We’ve got first-class facilities in Renfrewshire for those participating in sport at all levels to use. And with the free use of these facilities, our aspiring athletes have a great opportunity to develop and improve in their chosen sport.”

Athletes and sportsmen and women should log on to apply for an Aspiring Athlete Card and to join the RAASP Scholarship Programme.