Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is today launching an innovative new project to deliver transformational mentoring to young people facing disadvantage in rural areas of England, Scotland and Wales.

Alongside delivering its school-based On Track to Achieve programme – led by world class athletes – the project will also support vital research to truly understand the barriers that young people face to access support in these hard to reach areas.

This will help inform future programme delivery and support the charity’s ambition to reach every area of the UK by 2020. The project was made possible following a significant Extra Award of £200,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Founder and President of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Dame Kelly Holmes, said: “We believe that a young person’s life chances should not be determined by their postcode and are committed to finding new ways to engage with young people in isolated areas.

“Over 240 students will benefit directly from our athlete mentors as part of this project. However, perhaps most importantly the research will help transform the lives of thousands more in the future, who would otherwise experience difficulty with receiving support.”

On Track to Achieve uses world class athletes to empower young people in full time education to fulfil their potential. The programme is targeted at students facing challenging personal circumstances or suffering from low levels of self-esteem and confidence.

Working in small groups of 5-8 students, athlete mentors provide tailored support to enhance participants’ personal and social development, through the setting of individual goals and targets. Young people also develop vital skills, such as teamwork.

Head of Young Peoples Programmes at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Ben Hilton, said: “This is a really big step forward for us as a charity and will demonstrate our commitment to listen to the voices of young people. We’re looking forward to using this information to tailor our delivery in rural areas going forward.”

Head of Charities for People’s Postcode Lottery, Clara Govier, added: “Players of People’s Postcode Lottery will be glad to know this programme is only possible thanks to the money they have raised. It will be exciting to see this develop and the journey of the young people involved.”

To date, players’ have awarded Dame Kelly Holmes Trust over £800,000.