Activating the Nation

Wednesday 15th June 10:35 - 11:20

Thought Leaders Conference

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are at an exciting juncture for physical activity in England. Exercise and physical activity was one of the few reasons to leave your home early in the pandemic, and as we recover from the past two years there may a chance to establish sport and physical activity as a key enabler of our recovery.

Following the launch of Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy, and as the Government explore the physical activity agenda across different departments, this panel will discuss the opportunity for the sector to shape the next phase of this national journey, focusing on the least active and the societal benefits physical activity can bring.

Chaired by Tara Dillon.


Tara Dillon

Chief Executive


As CEO of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, Tara Dillon leads the institute's headline work in professionalising UK sport and leisure and transforming the workforce development opportunities of those who work in the sector. Tara was appointed as CEO in January 2015, before which she was interim chief operating officer whilst on secondment from IQL UK. Previously, Tara has held a variety of senior management roles within the leisure sector, combining 12 years working in local authorities and 9 years in the private sector, culminating in a customer-focused commercial role as executive director of IQL UK.

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief Executive

Sport England

Tim Hollingsworth is the Chief Executive of Sport England, the agency responsible for delivering sport and physical activity at community level across England. He has held the role since November 2018.

For seven years prior to this, Tim was Chief Executive at the British Paralympic Association, the National Paralympic Committee for the United Kingdom. He also served as Secretary General for ParalympicsGB at four Paralympic Games, during which time the team recorded its best ever medal performance at both a summer and winter Games.

Prior to that, Tim was first Director of Policy & Communications and then Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport. Previously, Tim worked as Director of a strategic communications consultancy, HBL Media, as Head of Corporate Communications at Granada Media plc, and Head of Media Relations at the CBI.

Tim is a Council Member of the University of Bath, a Trustee of the Football Foundation and a Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Games Committee. In January 2022, Tim was appointed as one of the Government’s Disability Access Ambassadors, advising on opportunities for improvements in sport and activity services and facilities for disabled people. He holds Honorary Degrees from both Bath and Exeter University as well as a master’s degree in Drama from Exeter. Tim received an OBE for services to sport in the 2017 Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Elaine Briggs

Chief Education & Partnerships Officer

Future Fit

Elaine Briggs, Chief Education & Partnerships Officer at Future Fit Group and Managing Director at Future Active Workforce CIC, has over 25 years’ experience in the education sector having begun her career in the fitness industry as a lifeguard, swimming teacher and aerobics instructor before realising that her passion and talent lies in educating and inspiring others. Elaine is recognised as a leading voice within the industry, steering and contributing to the future direction of the fitness sector. Having worked across several sectors, training providers, and awarding organisations, she is incredibly passionate about the value of training and education for our workforce.

Leading the way in calling for a more holistic and community-based approach for our sector, Elaine recognises that workforce development of today will need to ensure individuals can deliver a fully rounded service. Believing resolutely that collaboration and leadership is key for expanding our sectors facilities to provide holistic services for our communities, she drives forward her passion by working with industry leaders and employer partners to identify the essential skills and tools to achieve this. Through meaningful partnerships, Elaine looks to create sustainable training, programmes and solutions that will raise a professional and credible workforce who are highly skilled and equipped to undertake the vital role our sector plays in people's health.

Huw Edwards



Huw is the CEO of ukactive, the not-for-profit health body which represents the physical activity sector and has a mission to get More People, More Active, More Often. He took the role in July 2019 following three years as Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Research. During his ukactive career, Huw has played a key role in shaping ukactive’s strategy and business plan, as well as leading the organisation’s engagement with government and wider stakeholders. In 2017, Huw was named Leisure Sector Champion for the Department of Work & Pensions disability taskforce, aiming to ensure that the work of the sector in the disability space is aligned to the DWP’s objectives. Previously, Huw was the Public Affairs lead at British Tennis, working across both the Lawn Tennis Association and The Tennis Foundation. He has also worked for both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Olympic Delivery Authority during the delivery of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

John Sykes


British Society of Lifestyle Medicine

John is a GP with a keen passion for lifestyle medicine. He completed his medical training at the University of East Anglia, having previously completed a Cell Biology BSc. (Hons) at Durham University. John has always been a keen sportsman which set him up to be interested in sport and exercise medicine. This fuelled a passion for exercise medicine which incorporates using exercise as a method to cure, treat and prevent many non-communicable diseases. He became a director of a group called Move Eat Treat, worked for Public Health Wiltshire and has organised several conferences around physical activity and lifestyle medicine for doctors and medical students including the inaugural RCGP Lifestyle Medicine Conference 2017.

John is a keen sports man having represented both his Universities at 1st team football and completed a sub 3-hour Marathon in Berlin. He still plays football every Saturday and enjoys running with the occasional charity run as well as various aspects of strength and conditioning training.