RBC is proudly backing up-and-coming British sporting talent by supporting 50 of the most promising young athletes through SportsAid for the eighth consecutive year. Each athlete receives financial assistance, recognition and personal development opportunities, helping them realize their full potential.

Team RBC athletes and their families were welcomed to RBC during a virtual reception. This annual ‘Welcome to RBC’ event celebrated our long-standing partnership with the charity and also featured a Q&A with SportsAid alumni and some of our Team RBC athletes.

Meet the class of 2021

Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe, said: “Royal Bank of Canada is delighted to continue our work with SportsAid. During our eight-year partnership we have had the privilege of watching many Team RBC athletes go on to reach great heights in their sport. We look forward to supporting another 50 young athletes this year, giving them a helping-hand as they strive to be their very personal best.

“I am proud of the efforts of so many of my RBC colleagues to raise funds for aspiring athletes and support them through our innovative ‘buddy’ programme. This year, SportsAid and our athletes need our support more than ever as they continue to face additional challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic. The commitment, resilience and adaptability these young athletes have shown during unsettling times is commendable and we’ll continue to be here for them every step of the way.”

Partnership highlight

Since the partnership began in 2014, over 370 athletes have been supported, many of whom have gone on to achieve great sporting success. Most notably, double Paralympic champion Georgie Hermitage was among the earliest recipients of support from RBC. Recent beneficiaries include sprinter Reuben Arthur, who won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Lauren Hemp and Maya Le Tisser who have signed professional football contracts.

One of the most integral aspects of the partnership is the buddy scheme where each athlete is paired with an RBC employee. Buddies become an extra source of support to our athletes, following their progress and imparting important life-skills for the young sports stars to help them in their athletic careers and beyond.

Over the last eight years, employees have fundraised through various activities, such as challenge events and have raised over £350,000 for SportsAid.

Since 2018, SportsAid has been the beneficiary of RBC Ride for the Kids, where RBC employees and clients, as well as SportsAid ambassadors, have cycled over 25,000 miles and raised more than £200,000. The first ride saw a team of 47 complete a two-day cycle of 184 miles from London to Bruges. The following year, a team of 57 riders, including 40 employees new to the event, took on the 205 mile journey to Brussels. The 2020 edition adopted a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 70 cyclists completing one of three distances - 57 miles, 77 miles or 100 miles – in their local area raising over £60,000 in much-needed funds for the charity.

The money raised through RBC Ride for the Kids enables SportsAid to run an annual series of workshops for athletes and parents that includes advice on performance lifestyle management, telling your story through the media and nutrition, in addition to mentoring from leading Olympians and Paralympians. During the pandemic, funds from the Ride enabled SportsAid to develop a special online programme.

In 2020, athletes benefitted greatly from the workshops - with a particular focus on mental health and wellbeing - as they looked to overcome the challenges created by the pandemic. Many had to adjust to home-schooling, GCSEs and A-Levels being cancelled and uncertainty around university degrees - on top of the obvious impact on their training and competition schedules caused by restrictions. The 2021 workshops series is about to get underway.

Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, said: “These are uniquely challenging times for everyone and RBC have been there for SportsAid throughout. From being the first of our partners to confirm awards to athletes during 2020 to fundraising through the one-off 2.6 Challenge, their commitment during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hugely appreciated.

“A stand-out moment is how everyone adapted to ensure the Ride for the Kids happened as a remote, virtual sportive which still managed to feel like a shared experience with an incredible fundraising total. These funds have directly enabled SportsAid to not only move its athlete-parent workshop programme online, being available to more people wherever they were isolating, but also to develop the workshop curriculum to include new provision for mental wellbeing support, restful sleep advice and other topics.

“So, it’s a huge thank you from the SportsAid family to the fundraisers, athlete buddies, riders and wider team of colleagues at RBC for their unfailing loyalty and continued support over the years. We couldn’t be more grateful and proud of our association than we are now. Here’s to the Class of 2021 and their return to play and competition.”

You can find out more about SportsAid by visitingwww.sportsaid.org.uk

RBC is committed to making a positive and measurable impact on the communities in which we live and work. Read about the broad range of community initiatives we support in Europe