Supporting Britain’s most promising sports stars for the seventh consecutive year

Published July 23, 2020 | 4 min read

For the seventh consecutive year, RBC is supporting 50 of the most talented British athletes through SportsAid, providing Britain’s brightest prospects with financial assistance, recognition and personal development opportunities.

The long-standing partnership has grown year-on-year, with the development of greater athlete support and engagement opportunities for employees.

Meet the class of 2020


This year, RBC welcomed 50 of Britain’s most exciting young sports stars and their families to Team RBC. Due to the global pandemic, the annual in-person event was moved to an online event to launch this year’s partnership. Over 120 RBC employees and SportsAid athletes and families attended the event and listened to an inspiring Q&A with Jessica Eddie, who won a silver medal at Rio 2016 in rowing, and GB hockey star and Team RBC alumna, Emily Defroand.

One of the most integral aspects of the partnership is the buddy scheme where award recipients are paired with RBC employees. They become an impartial point of contact who follow the progress of the athletes - supporting them and passing on news of their achievements - while imparting important life-skills for the young sports stars to help them in their athletic careers and beyond. Last month, the buddy programme kicked-off with an online event, hosted by SportsAid. Buddies received tips and advice on how to support their athlete from Leon Taylor, Olympic diver, BBC commentator and mentor to top athletes, as well as Mark Hunter MBE, Olympic and world rowing champion.

Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe, said: “We are proud to be entering the seventh year of our partnership with SportsAid and over this time we have had the privilege of seeing many of our former Team RBC athletes go on to achieve great things in their sport. We look forward to supporting another 50 young athletes this year, giving them a helping-hand as they strive to be the very best in their sport.

“We are very conscious of the many challenges young athletes face and even more-so during this unsettling time as they adapt their training regimes and competition timelines. Not only will the athletes receive a financial award, but they will also benefit from the one-to-one support of a Royal Bank of Canada employee through our buddy scheme. Although we can’t compete with them in sporting talent, we are able to act as a sounding board!”

The impact


Since 2014, RBC has supported over 320 future sporting stars. Many of these athletes have gone on to achieve great things in their sport. 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, Lauren Hemp and Maya Le Tisser who have signed professional football contracts, 2019 World champion silver medallist Imani Lara Lansiquot and Jack Draper who received a wildcard for the 2019 Wimbledon Championships having come runner-up in the boy’s singles the previous year.

Former and current Team RBC athletes will be working towards selections for the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“The most important aspect of the support I received from SportsAid and RBC was how they see you as a person who has talent, rather than just being an athlete who competes well,” said Reuben. “Yes, you do receive financial support and yes, you are recognized for your athletic prowess, but once you get involved in this set-up, you meet people who are passionate about helping you as a young person.” Reuben Arthur

Team RBC SportsAid Partnership Highlights


Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, commented: “In any walk of life, one would like to think you have the opportunity to do something really special, at least once, with great people alongside you. In our partnership with the team at RBC, we feel like that is happening right now. They are committed, loyal, curious and creative; they recognise the importance of the impact the partnership is having on the athletes involved and don’t underestimate how much this inspires and motivates staff in the process. SportsAid is very proud to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with RBC to help young athletes and their families navigate their next steps through sport and life.”

Employees are excellent fundraisers and have generated over £280,000 through the activities they’ve undertaken for SportsAid. Since the partnership began, they have regularly participated in challenge events and represented the charity in large numbers at the Virgin Money London Marathon, Prudential RideLondon, Tough Mudder and the Royal Parks Half, presented by RBC. In April employees took part in the 2.6 Challenge, a new virtual event created to ‘Save the UK’s Charities’ in response to the cancellation of thousands of fundraising events. Employees ran, cycled, star-jumped and lunged to raise over £8,000 for SportsAid.

SportsAid was also the chosen charity for RBC Ride for the Kids in 2018 and 2019. The first ride saw a team of 47, all of mixed abilities, complete a two-day cycle of 184 miles from London to Bruges. The following year saw a team of 57, including 40 employees new to the event, take on the 205 mile journey to Brussels. Over 20,000 miles have been covered collectively.

RBC Ride for the Kids has raised more than £120,000 to help SportsAid run workshops for athletes and parents, in areas of the country the charity would normally be unable to reach, as they receive expert advice on performance lifestyle management, telling your story through the media and nutrition, in addition to mentoring from leading Olympians and Paralympians.

Over the last two years, RBC has also sponsored SportsAid’s annual Celebrate the Next event in London, where the winner of the charity’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award is revealed. Boxing star Caroline Dubois claimed the accolade in 2018 followed by para swimming sensation Ellie Challis in 2019. The award has previously been won by the likes of Tom Daley and Hollie Arnold.

You can find out more about SportsAid by visiting

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities, with multi-year European partnerships initiatives including RBC Race for the Kids supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Royal Parks Half, Masterpiece and The Old Vic.