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Apply for a British Canoeing competition hardship fund

British Canoeing's hardship grant for eligible English athletes has reopened for a second round.

The grant is for those who are having financial difficulties, or whose family circumstances mean they are at a disadvantage relative to their pathway peers.

The purpose is to provide access to a little more financial assistance to support athletes to participate in events that may otherwise have been unaffordable to them.

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(Before applying please read the policy and ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria).


To compete in sport incurs a financial cost. British Canoeing recognises that individuals and their families, at all levels, make significant sacrifices and financial contributions to enable participation and pursue sporting ambitions. 

It is important that as a paddlesports community, we are there to support those who are most in need.


To be eligible to apply for a hardship grant the athlete must be a current English member of British Canoeing. 

They must have been selected for a representative British or English team through a British Canoeing approved selection process at junior, U23 or senior level (grants can be made “in principle” subject to the applicant being selected). 

We are keen to make the process as simple as possible and would welcome applications from English athletes struggling to afford to compete as part of an English or British team in any Olympic or Non-Olympic discipline. 

If one or more of the statements below apply to you we will look at your application more favourably:  

  • Your family is undergoing significant financial hardship 

  • You are a university student who qualifies for maximum maintenance loan or grant support

  • You are a pupil who qualifies for free school meals

  • You are living in local authority care

  • You are currently caring, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, or a mental health problem could not cope without the athlete’s support.

Those who are not eligible include those:

  • In direct receipt of UK Sport Lottery funding

  • Who have received funding via the England Talent Programme Hardship Grant in this current financial year

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Application Process

Senior or U23 athletes or parents/guardians of junior athletes are invited to complete the application form here

Each application will be considered by the Independent Awarding Panel, made up of British Canoeing staff members, discipline committee representatives, and chaired by the director of paddlesport. The Independent Awarding Panel will consider applicants two times per year.

2023 key dates:

Round 1: Closing date has passed on 20 March.

Round 2: Closing date for application 9am, Monday 5 June 

The information within the application will be treated as sensitive and confidential and will not be shared beyond the members of the panel, except in exceptional circumstances. For example, the panel may on occasion seek input from team managers and coaches in the interest of providing further context to support the application. The panel chair may also seek additional information regarding an application directly from the applicant (or parent/guardian if under 18).

The funds available are limited and grants are absolutely discretionary, so there is no guarantee that an application will be successful. When considering each application, the Independent Awarding Panel will take a majority view as to which application/s will provide the greatest impact for an athlete at that given point. Applications will be decided on a case by case basis and no decision of the Independent Awarding Panel will create a precedent for future cases.

The following non-exhaustive list of factors will be considered by the Independent Awarding Panel in order to assess which grant will have the greatest impact:

  • Degree of financial hardship

  • Location of the athlete

  • The potential impact of the grant

  • The alternative options (or lack thereof) available to the athlete

  • The applicant’s personal circumstances

  • The purpose of the application

  • The current performance level of the athlete

  • Any other bursaries or grant funding the athlete is currently in receipt of

Should the fund be oversubscribed the panel may also prioritise grants to athletes competing at the highest level within their discipline.

It is important that we are there to support those who are most in need and are at risk of being unable to compete. We treat fraudulent claims very seriously and we strongly urge you to consider your own personal circumstances prior to applying to help ensure funds are allocated fairly to those most in need of support.

The total hardship fund available is limited and it is not anticipated that an individual application will be awarded in excess of £500. Each application will be acknowledged and all applicants will be notified within 10 working days of the panel meeting as to whether their application has been successful. 

Eligible expenditure

Applications can be made to cover necessary expenditure associated with the cost of international competition attendance. Grants can only be used to cover the costs of:

  • Athlete contributions to international competition

  • Travel and accommodation for competition

  • Entry and accreditation fees

British Canoeing might request evidence that grant expenditure has been made in line with the athletes’ original grant at any point within a 12 month period of the grant being awarded. 

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Terms and Conditions

  • Grants are awarded at the absolute discretion of British Canoeing

  • Applicants may be asked to provide evidence of hardship based on specified criteria

  • Grants cannot be applied for retrospective funding

  • Except in exceptional circumstances, only one grant per athlete will be awarded within a 12 month period

  • The hardship grant fund will be subject to regular review

  • The hardship grant fund should not be viewed as a regular source of income. There is no guarantee that this fund will continue on an annual basis and so it must not be relied upon to support continued involvement in the sport

  • Athletes should inform the Independent Awarding Panel immediately in writing of any changes in their personal circumstances, during the term of the funding, which may directly or indirectly affect the application for the funding (e.g. withdrawal from the team or squad due to sickness, injury, other incapacity, any other change in your personal circumstances).

  • Hardship grants can be awarded “in principle” subject to the applicant being selected for a particular event or competition

Details of the full policy can be found here.


For further information please contact: [email protected]