Personal Best Foundation – changing young lives through the power of athletics

Foundation to launch this November at fundraising gala dinner in London

The Personal Best Foundation is a new charity committed to changing young people’s lives through the power of athletics.

Established by England Athletics, the Foundation recognises that everyone has a personal best. But inequality and poverty put the chance to achieve it out of reach for around 4 million children and young people across the UK, due to cultural, socioeconomic, and other factors, such as lack of confidence or poor mental health.

Young people living with inequality are missing out on the rewards of being active and are at greater risk of experiencing a mental health problem, developing a long-term illness such as obesity, heart problems and Type 2 diabetes or underachieving at school and not being ready for work, being involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist for Team England and Personal Best Foundation Ambassador Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker advocates the positive impact that athletics has on young people.

The 20-year-old was first introduced to athletics five years ago and he credits the sport for the confidence and resilience he has gained in this short time as well as the friendships he has made in helping him to be successful both on and off the track.

“Athletics, for me, is so much more than the physical activity. Since becoming involved in the sport, I have gained confidence, resilience and perseverance which no doubt has contributed to my success on the track but also helped me develop the skills that support my wider commitments such as public speaking and advocacy within schools.

"Many young people facing inequalities including those with disabilities are still not able to access the same opportunities and so the work of the Personal Best Foundation is critical in providing additional support to reach those children and young people that need it the most.”

From playground to podium, irrespective of ability, aspiration, cultural or social background, there’s a place for everyone in athletics. And no matter whether track, field, road or sports hall, the power and positive effects are proven.

The Personal Best Foundation’s focus is to provide children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities with the opportunity to reach their full potential in athletics, breaking down social inequalities and improving health and wellbeing.

The Foundation is launching with a fundraising gala dinner at Drapers’ Hall, London, on November 18.  Guests will enjoy a special evening and be joined by compere for the evening sports reporter, presenter, author, and endurance runner Vassos Alexander along with some of the country’s greatest athletes past and present.

It will be an opportunity to share the stories of people whose lives have been changed for the better by the power of athletics including one of our greats, 2012 England Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Fatima Whitbread MBE.

The double-Olympic medallist, world and European champion grew up with a turbulent childhood, but the power of our athletics community was able to change her life, and the lives of so many for the better.

“I’m delighted to be an official ambassador for the Personal Best Foundation. Through a traumatic childhood sport was my saviour, throwing the javelin gave me the ability to compete on level terms, to earn respect at school from my peers, and also feel good and have self-confidence.'

Our launch event will include an auction with signed memorabilia from stars of our sport, and pioneers in the athletics world. All money raised on the night will help us get out of the starting blocks and start shaping life-changing programmes.

For more information about booking a table please e-mail