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Four new members appointed to our Board

The appointees bring a wealth of experience and will help set our direction over the next three years.

24th February 2023

Four new members have been appointed to our Board by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mel Bound, Michelle Cracknell, Jason Fergus and Helene Raynsford have been appointed as Board members for terms of three years, running until 31 December 2025.

Sport England's new board members Mel Bound, Michelle Cracknell, Jason Fergus and Helene Raynsford

Their remit as Board members will include:

  • Setting and agreeing strategy and policy
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of major projects
  • Approving all grant awards which exceed £2 million
  • Approving Sport England’s Annual Report and Financial Statements
  • Overseeing performance management.

Chris Boardman, our chair, said he was looking forward to working with the new Board members as we continue to deliver on our Uniting the Movement strategy.

“I’m delighted to welcome Mel, Michelle, Jason and Helene to Sport England,” he said.

“Whilst all different, they are collectively a powerful group of people who will bring an impressive range of skills and experience to the Board. Together with our existing members, they will play a crucial role in helping us to continue to deliver on the ambitious goals set out in our Uniting the Movement strategy.

“They share our ambition to ensure the benefits of being active are available to everyone in England regardless of their background and will greatly help us in our ongoing work to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.”

The appointments, which started on 1 January, replace Andy Long, Karen Pickering, Ian Cumming, Natalie Ceeney and Chris Grant, who stepped down at the end of their terms last year.

“I’d like to thank them all for their hard work and dedication to Sport England throughout their terms,” added Chris. “They’ve all made a huge contribution to the organisation and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

Getting to know our new Board members

  • Mel Bound

    Mel is the founding chief executive of This Mum Runs, the largest digital, mobile and in-person running community for women in the world.

    A digital thought-leader and globally-recognised community builder, Mel leads an ambitious team with a vision to empower all women to enjoy the life-changing benefits of being active, as well as tackling stubborn exercise inequalities through an innovative community playbook and pressure-free ethos based on movement, not performance.

    A graduate in sport and exercise sciences, much of Mel’s career has involved creating experiences that positively impact how people engage with sport and physical activity – starting out on a fast track programme for a global health and fitness group before moving into sports marketing, designing in-stadia experiences for international track and field events, before founding This Mum Runs in 2014.

    Mel is a Fellow of the Facebook Community Leadership Programme, recognised as one of the 16 most impactful community leaders in the world, listed in the Sunday Times’ 100 British Disrupter Brands and a recipient of the Women’s Sport Trust 'Grassroots Gamechanger' award.

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  • Michelle Cracknell

    Michelle was chief executive and accounting officer of The Pensions Advisory Service from October 2013 to December 2018.

    Prior to that, she held director roles in advice firms, providers and insurance companies. She is a qualified actuary. Michelle holds non-executive positions at Fidelity International Holdings, Just Group Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Pension Trustees Ltd and PensionBee Group Plc.

    She is passionate about helping people make more of their money and sees lots of parallels between motivating people to budget and take part in physical activity.

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  • Jason Fergus

    Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in the sport and physical activity sector.

    Currently director of Active Essex, one of the largest Active Partnerships in England, Jason also heads up the delivery of the Essex Local Delivery Pilot, one of 12 LDPs that form part of a ground-breaking £100m programme funded by us to increase population levels of physical inactivity in deprived areas.

    Jason is a high-level strategic thinker and operator, and is competent at building trusted relationships with a wide range of agencies. He has a strong track record in Essex of adopting a whole system and place-based approach to drive up physical activity levels at scale.

    He consistently demonstrates exemplary behaviour and ethics, and ensures Active Essex operates to the highest standards of governance.

    Jason also co-founded the successful charity ‘Active Essex Foundation’, is a serving trustee and has represented Great Britain at national and international level as a sprinter.

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  • Helene Raynsford

    Helene is a retired Paralympian having become the first world champion and Paralympic rowing gold medallist in women’s single sculls.

    She is in her second term as chair the Athletes’ Commission for the British Paralympic Association and is an active member of the international Paralympic movement.

    Having worked in public health for more than 14 years at local, regional and national level she is very interested in the role physical activity can play in the prevention health agenda and how the sport and health sectors can work closely together.

    Helene grew up in a vocational schooling, through both Elmhurst and Royal Ballet School, and sees physical activity in its widest sense.

    She has worked on many local initiatives to increase physical activity in general, and in targeted populations.

    She has been involved in national and international policy/guidance writing on both sport and health agendas, including as both a public health and expert member of NICE committees and as a member of the International Advisory Board of the World Academy of Sport.

    Helene has a portfolio career and is an experienced non-executive director, having worked with organisations covering international and domestic sport.

    She firmly believes in the huge benefit of sport and physical activity at a grassroots level to the wider health outcomes of both individuals and communities.

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