An exciting new initiative is being launched to put Oswestry sporting youngsters onto the national and international circuits.

The ‘Good to Great’ Oswestry Sports Network will support rising stars as they make the transition from local sports clubs by giving them the chance to hear from inspirational experts.

The idea was instigated by Stuart Manford, who has recently returned to the Oswestry area and would like to give back to local sport.

Susie Hancock, secretary of the Oswestry Sports Forum, which is running the project, said: “Stuart started his swimming career as a kid with Oswestry Otters. He excelled in the club and soon had to travel outside the area to compete and train in 50m pools with other youngsters of similar ability.

“Stuart continued swimming at university, training with GB swimmers at Loughborough and was proud to represent Wales in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He remembers the difficulties that he and his family had, as his swimming improved and he needed more than the local club could offer.

“As part of Oswestry Sports Forum’s small grants programme, OSF committee members frequently meet young grant applicants who are at the top of their sport locally. To progress, they need to travel to regular regional training sessions and spend most weekends travelling the country to compete. This puts them and their parents under immense time and financial pressure.

“Oswestry Sports Forum does not provide grants for travel expenses but can usually make a small contribution towards the cost of equipment, training and competition fees. The ‘Good to Great’ network is a way to offer further support to these rising stars.”

The quarterly meetings will include talks on topics such as nutrition, sports psychology, dealing with injury, and working with the media for the first time, while there will also be a meal and time to socialise.

The initiative will launch on Friday February 9 at 7pm at Oswestry Cricket Club, with guest speaker, Nick Beighton, who lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. In his rehabilitation, he took up rowing and competed in the mixed Double Scull at the London 2012 Paralympics where he narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.

To find out more, contact Susie on 01939 260308 or email

Meanwhile, the closing date for the next round of grants from the Oswestry Sports Forum closes on Monday, January 15.

Applications are invited from individuals or clubs who live or train in Oswestry or within 10 miles of Oswestry. The maximum grants are £300 for individuals and £500 for clubs. Applicants will be asked to attend the grants meeting on Thursday, February 1.

Full details of grant conditions and application forms can be downloaded from