March 2015 Quarterly Dinner

Venue: Holiday Inn, CMK
Date: 31 Mar 2015

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Sport England Chief Executive talks about the business of getting people active 

‘Most of us are rubbish at sport’ was the surprising admission of Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, the public body tasked with getting the population up and running, jumping, kicking and throwing things.

But, she told an audience at the latest Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership Quarterly Dinner that does not matter, as long as people get out there and take part in some sporting activity on their own or part of a team or group.

She said sport can play a huge part in reducing the impact of today’s health challenges including mental health, with exercise acting as a powerful ‘miracle’ drug.  Encouraging girls and women to take up sport is the aim of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ advertising campaign.  Jennie said using ‘real’ women rather than sporting heroines, particularly in the video which has now been watched by more than 13 million people online, was deliberate to overcome the fear of some about playing sport or exercising in public.  That has created a gender gap, with two million more men than women taking part in sport.

Jennie said: “Some women have told us that they were afraid someone would see them fall off a treadmill, or that someone would shout at them in the street if they went out jogging.

“Many people are put off sport in public because they are not good at it.  Most of us are rubbish at sport.  Some people are not good at maths but there is no stigma attached to not being good at maths in public.”

Earlier Jennie praised how Milton Keynes had embraced sport and she congratulated Pete Winkelman, who was in attendance, in bringing football to the city and it playing host to the Rugby World Cup 2015.  She told the audience of almost 100, drawn from the business, sporting and leisure communities that, “There is a strong cohort of people here tonight who get it - that sport is woven into the fabric of the place and that you are genuinely putting together sport and business.”

Afterwards Dr Philip Smith, chair of MK Business Leaders and also chair of Milton Keynes Sports Board, said Jennie’s visit to the city and her comments encouraged all those in Milton Keynes who saw sport as a driver for better health, recreation and economic success.

Jennie Price was speaking at the MK Business Leaders Partnership Quarterly Dinner held at the Holiday Inn, CMK on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.