LDC has been successfully investing in businesses, helping them to grow and develop for over 40 years. In addition to their business partnerships LDC is celebrating a 10-year relationship with the UK’s leading athletics club, Birchfield Harriers.
In 2011 LDC and Birchfield launched the LDC Junior Development programme, to support six athletes between the ages of 15 and 19 who were on track to become international athletes. Such has been the success of this initiative that it has now grown to support 30 athletes. Over the years many of the athletes on the scheme have gone on to international success and a number are currently working towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham on Birchfield’s home track.
One of the first athletes on the programme was Jake Porter,100m hurdler. He has since won medals at the British Indoor and Outdoor Championships and is working hard to gain selection for the Commonwealth Games. More recently Cassie-Ann Pemberton was part of the 4x100m gold medal winning team at the European Junior Championships. Other successes include Katie Stainton, one of the first athletes on the programme, who competed for England at the last Commonwealth Games and is the number two heptathlete in the UK and Kaie Chambers-Brown who was selected to represent Great Britain at the World Junior Championships. These are just a few of the achievements of the athletes who have been through the LDC programme which also supports the coaches of these talented youngsters.
This partnership is one which shows the benefit of business and sport joining together providing young people with the support they need to move to the next level. Jake Porter explains how it helps young athletes:
“The additional funding is vital for young athletes as they start to realise their potential and move forward in the sport. It can help with medical costs, travel to competition and equipment, all things which very often parents have had to provide. Access to physios and sports masseurs can be a luxury to young athletes but can make a great difference when aiming to be the best you can be. I know all the athletes who have been part of the LDC programme are grateful for the support they have received”
As a sport which, despite being the number one Olympic Sport, has little funding, partnerships such as this one is vital in helping young athletes achieve success. Birchfield Harriers relies on membership fees and training fees to finance the running of the club and depends on supporters like LDC to help them assist athletes across the board. Cath Muth, an officer of the Club who manages the relationship with LDC and Birchfield, commented:
“I would like to thank LDC for their continued support of Birchfield and the young athletes that we produce. We are the most successful club in the UK with 101 Olympians, but this does not mean we have potential sponsors knocking on our door. The success of this partnership is a result of the two organisations working together to enable young athletes to succeed and I hope we have many more years celebrating the achievements of the youngsters who have benefitted from this programme.”
LDC are pleased with the way the programme is run and each year a new crop of athletes is selected by the Club to join the programme. Athletes as young as 15 can be offered a place if the Club and its coaches feel they have both the ability and determination to rise to the top. These athletes have attended LDC functions and some of those at the top age group have spoken at LDC events. Richard Whitwell, Head of the Midlands at LDC, explained why this relationship has lasted for so long:
“We are immensely proud of our partnership with Birchfield Harriers and what many of the programme’s alumni have gone on to achieve since it launched 10 years ago. It’s vital that the necessary funding is in place to support raw talent, ambition, and intensive training. We’re so excited for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next summer, and to seeing the next generation of Birchfield stars thrive for years to come.”
As a home Commonwealth Games approaches both organisations look forward to seeing athletes from the Junior Development Programme on show, a true testament to the success of this initiative.