AN OLYMPIC bronze medalist from Chelmsford has launched a scheme providing £30,000 funding to young athletes in Essex.

Hockey team member Chloe Rogers unveiled the Inspired Athletes project being run by Essex County Council, Southend Council, Active Essex and the Essex Athelte Foundation.

The scheme will provide funding on three different levels, Gold, Silver and Bronze, depending on what the athlete’s level of achievement is.

Six £3,000 grants will be given to those who are already part of their sport’s national team set-up, with another six grants of £1,000 in the silver category and 12 worth £500 in Bronze.

Miss Rogers said: “Funding is vital to enable any athlete to continue their training and in some cases is the only thing that allows them to pursue their sporting career.

“I could not have trained as hard, got through qualifying and competed at London 2012 if it wasn’t for the support of people and schemes like Active Essex’s Inspired Athletes.

“The money they supported me with over the past few years was so important and there are so many talented athletes across Essex who will really benefit from this and use it so they can make their way to Rio in 2016.”

Gary Sullivan, chairman of Active Essex, said officials from all the authorities involved are “delighted” to be able to offer the funding to talented sports stars from the county.

He added: “This funding will enable athletes of different levels to gain support for their training and development and with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and the Rio Olympics 2016 in their sights, this scheme will enable them to achieve their ambitions and strive for Olympic Gold.”

Anyone who wants to apply for one of the grants can do so by visiting before the deadline of September 8.

The names of athletes who have been awarded a grant will be announced on September 30.