Arts and sports groups, charities and members of the Isle of Wight Council Talented Athlete scheme will have their Wightlink sponsorship extended until the end of 2021 because of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite restrictions easing, not all events and sporting fixtures have returned to normal. That means some groups and individuals have not had the opportunity to use Wightlink’s travel sponsorship scheme.
“We are very proud of our Wightlink in the Community initiative which supports more than 50 charities, arts and sporting groups and around 80 talented and gifted individuals,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “We recognise 2021 has been another challenging year and want to extend our sponsorship until the end of the year when, hopefully, there will be more opportunities for people to travel.”
One of the many sporting groups to benefit from the sponsorship scheme is Ryde Rowing Club. Chairman Steve Bull says: “We are very grateful to have our sponsorship extended, it is of great benefit to the club in these difficult times. With a minibus and 30-foot boat trailer to take to the mainland for competitions, Wightlink’s support is invaluable.”
Applications for future sponsorship will now open at the beginning of October each year, with successful applications confirmed in December and sponsorship beginning on 1 January. Wightlink has worked closely with the Isle of Wight Council to align the Talented Application process with the new dates.
Alec Broome, sports development manager at the Council, says: “Wightlink has been a long-standing supporter of our Talented Athlete scheme. It is designed to assist the Island’s most gifted sportspeople to progress in their chosen sports. We are very grateful for the discounted ferry travel Wightlink provides as many of them need to travel regularly off the Island for training and events. We are pleased that this year’s sponsorship has been extended and look forward to re-opening our Talented Athlete scheme for applications in October.”