Next generation of talented athletes to be supported by scheme

Up-and-coming athletes in Havering are set to gain much-needed support as part of a sports talent development programme.

Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, now in its eighth year, has helped more than 5,000 athletes to achieve their sporting potential by providing free access to Everyone Active’s 230-plus leisure facilities, including Central Park Leisure Centre, Harrow Lodge Leisure Centre, Noak Hill Sports Complex, Rainham Leisure Centre, Sapphire Ice and Leisure and Abbs Cross Health and Fitness.

Among the athletes accepted on the scheme in Havering this year are:

  • Grace John, who was recently selected for the GB Women’s American Football squad.
  • Edward Appleby, who became the Senior Men’s Singles British Figure Skating Champion at the end of 2023.
  • Rebecca Coogan, who achieved bronze at Swim England National Open Water Championships in 2023, alongside achieving a podium place at the London Youth Games.

Alongside free access to Everyone Active centres, Sporting Champions will also receive valuable mentoring and guidance from an impressive panel of Elite athletes, some of whom look set to compete at Paris 2024.

The scheme’s all-star line-up of decorated Olympians and Paralympians includes Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Lutalo Muhammad, Richard Kilty, Lauren Steadman and Maisie Summers-Newton, while new to the panel for 2024 is GB sprint star Harry Aikines-Aryeetey*.

These elite athletes will share their experience and expertise through group mentoring sessions, covering topics including mental wellbeing, nutrition, managing finances, social media and media training.

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson will also continue to support the scheme through his role as an Ambassador, working alongside the elite athletes to make sport more accessible within local communities.

Councillor Gillian Ford, deputy leader of Havering Council and cabinet member for Adults and Wellbeing, said: “Congratulations to Grace, Edward and Rebecca on being accepted onto Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme and gaining much-deserved support for their already successful individual sporting journeys.

“I look forward to following their progress and I’m sure they will continue to serve as a great inspiration to the next generation of aspiring athletes in Havering.”

To find out more about the Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, visit or follow @easportingchamps on Instagram.

For further information on Everyone Active, visit