Two talented swimmers, an aspiring film-maker and a budding badminton player are among the latest round of young people to benefit from an Inspire Award.
Awards have also been handed out to a gifted roller hockey player and a budding basketball star, as part of the scheme to help talented young people fulfil their ambitions.
The Inspire Awards scheme is run by local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), and offers small grants of up to £500 to help young people achieve their goals in sports, music, the arts, business or community involvement.
Among the latest beneficiaries are William Bell, 14, from Leicestershire, a talented swimmer who dreams of wearing the Team GB jacket and representing his country at international swimming events.
William, a member of City of Leicester Swimming Club, said: “The Inspire grant of £250 will make a real difference to help fund my entries into swim meets around the country.”
Thirteen-year-old Sameer Chenia, from Scraptoft, Leicester, has been the top-ranked badminton player in his age group for the past four years.
Encouraged by his parents and with coaching and support from Leicestershire Badminton Association and KAS badminton, Sameer says his £250 Inspire Award ‘means the world’ to him.
Finlay Walker, 14, from Wigston, has been selected to play roller hockey for Great Britain in Hawaii this summer. He plays for the Midland Mooseheads inline hockey team, in Lutterworth.
Finlay, who took up the sport three years ago, is a prolific scorer for his team. He said: ”The £250 JHMT Inspire grant is vitally important as every bit helps towards playing kits and travel costs. I’m really excited about going to Hawaii.”
Fourteen-year-old Karam Sandhu, from Leicester, started playing basketball for the Leicester Warriors basketball club from the age of eight.
This year, Karam has been a pivotal member of the U14s team with highest points scored, number of assists and rebounds.
Leicester Warriors coach Arbham Giga said: “Karam is a dedicated and hardworking player. He is very passionate about basketball and focuses on getting better and learning all the time.”
Karam said: ‘My Inspire Award of £300 will mean the world to me. Basketball is very expensive, especially when it comes to court hire. I have a dream to become an England player.”
Jess O’Brien is a 15-year-old budding film-maker from Market Harborough. She has written and directed her first film, organised her own premiere at an independent cinema, and had her work selected to play at international film festivals.
Jess has to rely on borrowing her teacher’s camera to make films, so plans to put her £390 Inspire Award towards buying her own equipment.
Jess said: “This camera will allow me to be more independent and to continue to strive towards my goal of working in the film industry.”
Michaella Glenister, 14, from Loughborough, is one of a growing band of young and talented local swimmers. She trains with City of Leicester swimming club and dreams of competing at the Olympics.
“My £200 Inspire Award means so much to me, as it will help to fund my upcoming meets and hopefully bring me closer to my lifetime goal,” she said.
Simon Taylor, Inspire Awards project lead, said: “These young people truly are inspiring. I’m always struck by the sheer determination and hard work that they put in to achieving their goals.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to help them out – and it’s also the start of a great relationship between the Trust and these young people, because they keep in touch and let us know how our grants have helped them.”
The Inspire Awards are just part of the work carried out by local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), which was set in memory of 14 year old Leicestershire teenager Joe Humphries who collapsed and died whilst out jogging in Rothley. Joe was a victim of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), a group of inherited heart conditions that can cause sudden cardiac death in young people.
The idea is that the awards help young people achieve their ambitions – something which Joe, tragically, was never able to do.
To find out more about the Inspire Awards and the work of the Trust, go to www.jhmt.org.uk