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Getting to the core of activity and sport for females

A one-day conference focusing on creating a culture where girls’ active participation in PE and sport is the norm


29th June 2022

University of Hertfordshire



Strategies, policies, experiences, real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared

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Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director Sports Marketing Network

Chair and It’s all about change in community sport and physical activity

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Svend Elkjaer founded the Sports Marketing Network in 2005 for people involved with the commercial, community and marketing issues across all sports and physical activity; be it club, governing body, local authority or private sports deliverer.  He has been described as a ‘positive disruptor in community sport.’

Over the last eight years, more than 4,000 sports providers have benefitted from SMN’s services attending our workshops and presentations, being mentored or receiving consultancy. SMN has also advised, consulted and trained several organisations and public bodies including the Rugby Football Union, Football Association, Cricket Scotland, British Gymnastics, Sport Hub Denmark, Copenhagen City Council, Sport Wales, England Golf, England Athletics, sportscotland, etc


Rosie Benson, Head of Clubs, Sport England

Exploring a model for resilience and sustainability at our community sports clubs

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Rosie Benson has worked in a variety of roles at Sport England over the last 15 years, and since 2017 has led the organisation’s work on community club development and support. Prior to this Rosie worked in consultancy, supporting local authorities and NGBs on their strategic planning, particularly on facilities, places and spaces which followed her early career in community facilities management. Rosie has been a volunteer in sport from an early age and is passionate about supporting community groups to deliver the best experiences in sport and physical activity.

Kirsty Cumming, CEO, Community Leisure

Leisure Trust of the Future

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Kirsty Cumming has been with Community Leisure UK for over 7 years, primarily leading on the engagement and policy work in Scotland, and was appointed as Chief Executive in November 2020.

She has extensive experience in working with leisure trusts, local authorities, local and national governments, and the NHS to advocate the role of public leisure services. She is passionate about the role of public leisure and culture for communities and believes that the charitable trust model delivers effective community focused services based on local needs. 

Dave Marshall, Participation Director, British Gymnastics

The National Governing Body of the future

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Melissa Anderson, Managing Director, Valleys Gymnastics Academy

How a hybrid approach can help engage with local communities for our clubst

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Melissa Anderson established the multi award winning Valleys Gymnastics Academy and is a former lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

The club is the largest in Wales by some way and is a social enterprise, delivering gymnastics at all levels (participation and performance) – with and for the benefit of the communities of SE Wales. Melissa is also a Welsh Gymnastics Non Executive Director, a Wellbeing @Merthyr Trustee and a member of the Welsh Athletics Development and Participation sub-committee

Michelle Carney, CEO, Purpose Driven Impact

How inclusive and diverse community sport could look in the future

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Inclusion, diversity and equity are terms which we hear a lot, and it can feel very overwhelming to know where to start. Inclusion is more than just saying you are inclusive – and is more than just offering a girls’ session or having a ramp into your club bar.  True inclusion is a culture and a commitment to being inclusive at every level – from how we communicate, to how we engender a sense of belonging and make necessary adjustments to ensure everyone is included.  It is also about a commitment to diversity of thought and voices at decision making levels.  Being truly inclusive and diverse in our own thinking and how we operate at every level is good for business and is great for society.

We will explore how inclusive and diverse sport could look in the future.  Just small changes can make a huge difference.  

Francisco Baptista, CEO and Founder, TeamSportz

How technology is impacting community sport and what does it look like for the future?

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Francisco Baptista is the Founder and CEO of AI multi-sport app, TeamSportz. Constantly curious, Francisco is always applying his technical and leadership skills to find more efficient solutions to complex problems.

He is a self-taught software developer with 20+ years, working and leading projects at a number of top companies, namely, Hearst Magazines, Bauer Media and Arrow Electronics. As a lifelong avid basketball player and experienced developer, Francisco combined his passion for sport and relentless drive for technology to create a sport and fitness solution that would be accessible for everyone, and that’s how the idea of TeamSportz was born in 2017. Since then, he has been relentlessly developing and improving the product, building a strong team, and securing investment enabling him to officially launch TeamSportz to market in November 2021. 

Ollie Dudfield, CEO, Sport for Development Coalition

Sport for Development in the future

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Ollie Dudfield leads the backend team of the Coalition in supporting collective action to create an enabling policy environment, measure impact at scale and unlock new investment in using sport as a tool for positive social change.

The Sport for Development Coalition movement is a network of over 200 organisations working to maximise the positive social impact of sport and physical activity who collectively support thousands of projects and programmes across the UK.

Charlie Hyman, Founder/CEO, Bloomsbury Football

The role of community sports enterprises 

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Bloomsbury Football Foundation is a charity that uses the power of football to improve the lives of young people. Founded in 2018, Bloomsbury Football now supports 5000 children in London every week.

It’s more important than ever for charities to be financially robust and not rely on grants for their survival. From a footballing perspective, we are a hybrid model, between a grassroots football club and a community foundation. We are also a hybrid in a financial sense; half of our income is generated from the services we provide, and we take on additional grants to enhance our programmes and pursue new projects. We think this self-sustained core is important. Too often, youth services stop when funding runs out. We cannot allow our commitments to young people to rely only on the future generosity of others.

Charlie Hyman founded Bloomsbury Football Foundation in 2018, where he currently serves as CEO. Charlie also sits on the board of Made by Sport, a charity and national campaign that both advocates for the use of sport for development and aims to bring new funds into the sector. He is proud to have been recognised as a 30u30 Sport Industry NextGen Leader and named London Sport’s Inspirational Young Person of the year for 2021.