YORKSHIRE sporting legends Alistair and Jonny Brownlee have given their backing to a new programme aimed at giving away thousands of pounds to sports groups and sporty individuals in the region.

The Olympic champions who won gold and silver at Rio in 2016 said they were “proud” to be supporting Persimmon Homes’ new Healthy Communities initiative.

Persimmon, the UK’s leading housebuilder, is giving away more than £600,000 to sporting causes across the UK over the next 10 months.

Persimmon Healthy Communities is aimed at amateur sports teams and individuals aged 21 years and under in England, Wales and Scotland.

Every month each of Persimmon’s 30 regional businesses – including Persimmon Homes Yorkshire headquartered in Fulford, York and Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, headquartered in Leeds – will hand out £750 to either an individual or sportsperson in the area.

The money is to be spent on sports kit, equipment, coaching or facilities.

Then in January 2018 Persimmon’s 30 businesses will choose a team or individual to represent them in the grand final.

An online public vote will decide the overall winner, with one individual or group scooping the £200,000 top prize to create a lasting legacy and two runners-up winning £50,000 each. The other 27 finalists will win £5,000 each.

The new fund is in addition to the £720,000 the company already donates each year through its hugely successful Community Champions programme.

Alistair said: “I am proud to be involved in the launch of Persimmon’s Healthy Communities programme.

“It’s great that local sports clubs can now apply for additional funding. Initiatives such as this one play an important role in strengthening sport at a grassroots level.”

Jonny said: “Persimmon Homes’ generous scheme will not only help more youngsters get into sport but will also improve the facilities and equipment for those already involved.

“Who knows, maybe the overall winner will come from Yorkshire.”

Simon Usher, managing director for Persimmon Homes Yorkshire said the new campaign was aimed at giving back to the communities in which the company operates.

He said: “We’ve already seen first-hand what our Community Champions programme delivers to groups and charities. This new programme is aimed at creating a lasting legacy for young people who love sport and the volunteers who help to deliver it.

“Everyone who enters from May to December, regardless of whether they win a monthly prize, will be considered as a finalist.”

Wayne Gradwell, managing director for Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, said: “We are looking for sports teams and individuals who have amazing ideas on how to spend £200,000 to come forward.

"We will consider anything from new clubhouses, to training centres, facilities or gyms or it may be people want to spend the cash on the development of future Olympians. We’re very excited to see the projects that are put forward.”

To find out more to enter the competition visit www.persimmonhomes.com/charity.