30th October 2020
Charities, sports teams, arts and music groups and other good causes helped by Wightlink through its community sponsorship scheme are to have their support extended until the end of August 2021, due to the impact of Covid-19.
The community sponsorship scheme is normally reviewed annually, with groups invited to reapply each November with support to successful applicants starting the following January.
However, with Covid-19 restricting opportunities to travel this year and events and competitions cancelled or postponed, many of them didn’t get the opportunity to fully benefit from the sponsorship scheme.
“It has been a hugely challenging year for everyone, and life has been far from normal,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield.
“Many of this year’s sponsored groups have not had the chance to perform or compete off the Island so we are extending our support into 2021, when hopefully there will be more opportunities for travel.
“We have been hugely impressed with the resilience and determination that our supported teams and individuals have shown throughout the pandemic and many have shared their stories through our Wightlink in the Community Facebook page. We are very proud to support them and are delighted to extend our sponsorship into 2021.”
More than 50 sports teams, arts groups and charities are currently supported through the sponsorship scheme, meaning hundreds of individuals receive help crossing the Solent to take part in their chosen activity. This is in addition to the 79 individuals supported with discounted travel through the Isle of Wight Council-run Talented Athlete Scheme. Ad-hoc support for charities is also provided throughout the year.
The Talented Athlete support calendar has also been adjusted meaning all Wightlink travel support will now start from the beginning of September each year, with applications being accepted in June.