Set up in memory of Coach Mike, the Mike Barlow Memorial Fund will help people who need a little extra financial support to be active or volunteer with Fitmums & Friends. If you need help or want to help, read on.

What is the Mike Barlow Memorial Fund?

The Mike Barlow Memorial Fund is a discretionary fund made available by Fitmums and Friends to provide financial help to those who would otherwise miss out on the benefits of being a Fitmums and Friends member.

At Fitmums and Friends, we aim to support people to become more active and feel the benefits that this can have on both their physical and mental health. We also understand that when people experience financial hardship or crisis, it can result in them missing out on such opportunities. And so we have set up the Mike Barlow Memorial Fund to offer help to anyone who may be struggling to ordinarily access support to be active. This will include help to buy a Fitmums and Friends membership for example, a piece of kit, or to fund a training course such as Leader in Running Fitness (LIRF). The aim is to ensure that financial hardship is not a barrier to people exercising or volunteering with Fitmums and Friends.

Where did the idea for the fund come from?

Mike Barlow, much loved Fitmums and Friends athletics coach, father, and husband of Fitmums and Friends founder Sam, sadly passed away on 6 October 2020, following a 13-year battle with cancer.

From the first meeting in 2009, Mike was an essential part of Fitmums and Friends. He became our first ever trained Leader in 2009 and Athletics Coach in 2011. Mike was an accomplished athlete himself, and supported many people to achieve their own goals.

Mike’s family wanted to set up the fund in his memory. Mike’s son, Ollie, explains: “This fund will aim to offer help to anyone who may struggle to ordinarily access support to be active. The fund will help someone buy a junior or adult membership, a piece of kit, or an entry into a race/event. It will be a way of continuing my dad’s support of people to use activity to help them in life. It is the perfect personification of his legacy and the impact he had on the world.”

How will the fund help people to be more active?

The fund will help people by providing financial assistance to those who might otherwise struggle to access support to be active. For example, it could fund a Fitmums and Friends membership or Fitmums and Friends kit; or it could cover the cost of taking part in an event or in a training course (including but not limited to AL, LIRF, CIRF, CA, AC) to enable a volunteer to support Fitmums and Friends activities. All applications will be considered on their own merit as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Who will the fund help? Am I eligible?

We are proud to be able to offer support to access Fitmums and Friends activities. As such, we welcome applications from anyone who feels they would not otherwise be able to fund the item for which they are requesting support.

Some examples of individuals or families who would be eligible are those:

  • in receipt of benefits, for example, income support or universal credit
  • in receipt of free school meals
  • accessing Food Bank support

We will ask you to explain why you need support from the fund. We appreciate that everyone’s financial position is different and that’s why your application will be considered on its own merits.

We will also ask you to agree to provide anonymous feedback six months after receiving support.

We will not provide support for:

  • Those who are deemed to be financially capable of funding or have the means to fund their involvement in Fitmums and Friends activities.
  • Any person who has made a false claim in the past.
  • Training, membership or kit outside of Fitmums and Friends, unless there is an indirect benefit to other members and the charity.
  • We will not normally fund individuals/families who have received funding in the previous 12-month period.

I’m eligible, how do I apply?

Please apply to the fund using our application form. You can complete the form electronically and email it to fund@fitmums.org.uk. If you have difficulty with this and wish to complete a paper form please contact us to discuss.

Before applying, please make sure you read and meet the eligibility criteria for support (above). You may apply directly or via referral from a trusted source, for example, your GP or social prescriber. Please complete all sections of the application form. We cannot consider incomplete applications.

Your application will be treated in the strictest confidence. It will be considered by a dedicated Mike Barlow Memorial Fund panel, usually within two weeks of receiving the form. And you will be notified of the outcome of your application shortly after the panel has made its decision.

If you have any questions or need help completing the application form, please let us know and we will be happy to help.

How can I donate to the fund?

If you would like to donate to the fund, you can do so via our online shop. Thank you for your support!

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