Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Deputy Chief Executive of Everton and Executive Chair of Everton in the Community, has been appointed to the Board of Sport England, the national body for grassroots sport.
The announcement means Denise joins five new Sport England board members who have been tasked to help strengthen community sport in this country while helping Sport England deliver its strategy to get more people playing and enjoying sport and helping those with talent fulfil their sporting potential.
Denise is the only representative from the world of football appointed to the Sport England Board and is regarded as one of the most prominent and respected women in the sport. After joining Everton in 2009, Denise has transformed Everton in the Community into the ‘best-in-class’ organisation it is today, winning multiple national and international awards which culminated in Denise receiving an MBE from the Queen for services to the community. In her Club role, Denise has played an integral part in improving the matchday experience of supporters, in turn helping to increase attendances and enhance Everton’s reputation both nationally and abroad.
Since London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2005 1.4 million more people are participating in sport once a week. Sport England is investing over £1billion of exchequer and lottery funding in grassroots sport in the five years to 2017, with particular focus on the 14-25 year old age group to encourage a sporting habit to life.
On her appointment Denise said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed to the Board of Sport England and I’m really looking forward to starting work with the other members, stakeholders and participants. All the board members have an important role to play and I’m excited to make a contribution to sport in England and building on the successes that have already been achieved.”
Combining her role at Everton and alongside her new appointment, Denise is joined on the board by retired Olympic swimmer Karen Pickering MBE, Wasim Khan former cricketer and CEO of Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Professor Ian Cumming CEO of Health Education England, Andrew Long CEO of Pentland Brands and Chris Grant CEO of sporting development charity Sported. The new board members will serve a three-year term from 9 September 2016.
Chair of Sport England, Nick Bitel said; “Our new board members bring an impressive range of expertise and skills from their experience in not just grassroots and elite sport, but also from business, education and the third sector. They share a passion for promoting the positive impact of sport and activity, and a commitment to overcoming the barriers faced by many people when it comes to being active. As we embark on our new sports strategy, each of our board members will make a vital contribution in helping us deliver on our vision for a more active nation.”