The English and Welsh schools' athletic associations have been starved of funds since they lost their last sponsor, TSB, at the end of 1997, yet they attract thousands of pupils to events and have the support of hundreds of volunteers.
David Littewood, honorary secretary of the English Schools' Athletics Association, said counties used to be awarded pound;1,500 a year from the ESAA, but now they only get pound;500 and income had dried up from local authorities.
"We get no money from the Government, Sport England or the National Lottery. Our income remains static. We need at least pound;300,000 a year."
Mr Littlewood's plight is echoed by Graham Coldwell, his counterpart in Wales.