TWENTY Herefordshire sportspeople from a wide range of different sports are benefiting in 2011-12 from the Halo Elite scheme.

Under the terms of the scheme, athletes who are competing at a national level are able to use the facilities at all of the eight centres it operates across the county on behalf of Herefordshire Council free of charge.

Triathletes, swimmers, sailors and rowers are among those who benefit from the arrangement which is run in partnership with Herefordshire Sport.

“We see it as an opportunity to put something back into the community that has supported us so well,”

said Penny Southwood, Halo’s community and partnership manager.

“The Halo Elite members come from a range of ages and sports use our gyms, group exercise classes, pools, racket sports courts, indoor and outdoor sports pitches and golf course to keep fit and prepare for their next competitive event.”

One of those to benefit from the scheme is Great Britain age-group triathlon squad member Nicola Goodwin.

She said: “As an age-group athlete I don’t get any sponsorship and have to fund my travel, entry to races and training costs myself, said Goodwin, who represented GB at this year’s European age-group long distance triathlon championships in Finland and at this year’s World age-group long distance triathlon championships in Nevada, USA.

“The Halo Elite scheme helps massively as it means I can access all of the facilities across Herefordshire without having to worry about the costs.

“I use the athletics track and gym throughout the year and in the winter I use the pools in Hereford and Leominster every week and do the Pilates and bodypump classes to boost my strength.”

Some of the Halo Elite members at Hereford Leisure Centre. Pictured (from left to right) triathlete Wayne Poulter, runner Clara Evans, race walker Tasha Webster, Councillor Roger Phillips, triathletes Nicola Goodwin and Kylie Mansfield, Bryan White of Herefordshire Sport, athlete Emma Crook, Councillor Graham Powell, judo player Stan Cantrill, swimmers Nyree Kindred and Sascha Kindred Cathy Fletcher from Halo Leisure