Last week, Millie along with thousands of gymnasts across England returned to gymnastics after months away in lockdown.
Millie, who is 16 years-old, has been with Hertfordshire Gymnastics Club (HGC) for over 8 years, and to her, this is her happy place.
During her time with HGC she has competed at national level in both Acrobatic Gymnastics and Tumbling. In 2015, she won silver with her Grade 2 trio in Acro.
Millie lives at home with her sister Rhiannon and her mum, Emma and her partner.
Millie’s father passed away when she and her sister were both very young but Emma has always worked to do everything she can to allow them to fulfil their dreams.
Emma works in a primary school and has recently been promoted but last year, she like many other parents across the UK felt the impact of the pandemic.
“Supporting two teenagers is hard and my wage does not go very far but I try my best to allow the girls to take part in as much as possible.
“Covid-19 had an impact on our household income, as I wasn’t able work the extra hours I would normally work and whilst my partner is a great support, the girls have always been my responsibility financially. I have never expected him to support them.”
As gymnastics clubs were allowed to reopen later in the year, Emma looked for ways to how she could keep Millie in the sport and discovered the British Gymnastics Foundation’s Hardship Grants Programme.
“I found out about the grant from the manager, Nic Munns at HGC and did some research online.
“With Nic’s support, I applied for the grant. The process was easy and everyone along the way has been so lovely and so helpful.
Following a successful application, Millie was to continue training with HGC in the gym and remotely during lockdown through Zoom.
“Millie has been able to continue to train with the help of the Hardship Grant. The grant has helped with fees, travelling to training and kit for training. Without the grant, I would have really struggled to meet the costs. It has enabled her to continue to do what she loves.”
The effects of the pandemic continued into the start of the New Year but now, with the hope of no further lockdowns, Millie, along with many others, will be hoping to make the most of returning.
“Millie is so excited to return and to be back with her friends and coaches at HGC, who are amazing!”
Applications for our next round of Hardship Grants open on Tuesday 4th May and close on Monday 17th May. For applications that are successful, we will be looking to get everyone’s grants paid by the end of June.