Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport (LRS) is governed by a number of Board members who bring with them a wealth of skills and knowledge. Their aim, to support Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport in achieving its key objectives to increase participation and widen access to sport and active recreation.
LRS Board Members
Chair - Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport
An enthusiastic, passionate and committed individual who operates at a strategic level as Chief Executive of a large District Council in North West Leicestershire where effective partnerships are vital, providing clear visible leadership over a wide range of service areas and specialisms that directly impact the quality of life of its residents. The District is the fastest growing economy outside London, encompassing transport and distribution sectors, the Heart of the National forest and hosting East Midlands airport.
I am experienced in delivering both social and urban regeneration in North Nottinghamshire and have led the development of the Health and Housing work streams in partnership with Health colleagues recognising the role that green spaces, housing and sport have in contributing to people's ability to live healthy independent lives.
'I am passionate about the role sport can play in tackling social isolation, improving mental well being and sustaining long and happy lives. I am privileged to be taking on this new exciting role and will continue to be the champion for the partnership, increasing opportunities for participation in active lifestyles in the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.'
Vice Chair, Director of Public Health, Leicestershire County Council
Physical Activity is one of the 'best buys' organisations can make in helping improve the health of the population. As a Board member, I'm proud of the energy and organisation LRS bring to their work in helping people be more active.
Mike also sits on the Active Partnerships board at a national level.
Head of Sports Services
Leicester City Council
Andrew joined Leicester City Council in November 2015. Previously he has held senior positions leading services such as leisure facilities, parks and open spaces, sport development and physical activity and lifestyle services.Andrew has lead and delivered various large capital leisure developments across parks and open spaces and sport and leisure. His most recent development was the award winning £30 million Derby Sports Arena as Head of Leisure Facilities and Parks at Derby.Andrew has been inspired by working with some fantastic people over his career and is delighted to be part of the LRS Partnership to help support the Board, staff and partners in extending the reach and impact of our programmes and plans.Originally from Teesside and when not supporting Middlesbrough FC he enjoys playing golf and after 10 years coaching both girls and boys has recently returned to playing competitive cricket again for his local club.
I love sport whether competing myself or watching others. I have always been involved in sport from a young age always wanting to make the school and, later on, college and university teams in whatever sport I was into at the time - hockey, swimming, rowing, skiing, athletics. Throughout my career I have seen first-hand the power that participating in sport can bring to tackle diversity, improve mental wellbeing, put lives back on track and not only bond people and communities together but transform lives at any age from any background. I have decades of experience successfully delivering projects and programmes, implementing transformational change and improving performance in public services and am currently CEO of a national social enterprise. I intend to use all of this and my board member experience to help ensure that everyone across Leicestershire and Rutland gets the opportunity to be involved in physical activity and sport.
Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police
Simon Cole took up his position as Chief Constable of Leicestershire in June 2010. He is responsible for leading the Force as it seeks to protect our communities, heading up the Chief Officer Team, and managing relationships with key external partners.
When not at work Simon is a committed family man with a son and daughter. He is a keen sportsman, playing tennis, coaching and refereeing junior rugby and enjoying watching Leicester Tigers when work allows. He Chairs the Police Sport UK National Lawn Tennis Section.
Local Sports Alliance Representative
I retired from work in education in 2014. Throughout my career I was extremely involved in all aspects of Physical Education (secondary, primary, FE, early years, additional needs, competition, outdoor education to name but some) and was passionate that any project or programme I was trying to develop would, if at all possible, be available to ALL young people. I was privileged to lead one of the first School Sport Partnerships in the country, this was located in Leicester City and was established in 2001. Managing the Partnership and being based in a city threw up many challenges but made me aware of the importance of active healthy lifestyles in every community. This knowledge has given me strong foundations on which to develop meaningful relationships with local and regional partners and enabled me to work effectively with the Active Harborough LSA and as a member of Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport Board. My leisure time is spent being active and you will find me on the golf course, walking in the wilds of South Leicestershire or in the swimming pool at the local leisure centre. I also spend many hours volunteering at school sports events and those organised in my local community.
Assistant Chief Constable
Julia Debenham joined Leicestershire Police in 1993 and has remained with the force ever since. Throughout her service, Julia has held a variety of roles throughout both ranks – both uniformed and non uniformed. More recently, Julia worked in collaborative roles within the East Midlands region where she held Chief officer responsibility for East Midlands Criminal Justice Service and East Midlands Specialist Operations Service.
Dr Mary Hardwick
Senior Independent Board Member, Coach & Founding Director for Inspire2tri
Mary enjoyed a broad business career at senior management level before "retiring" to follow her passion to establish a small Community Interest Company in rural Rutland to inspire sporting, fitness and activity achievements at all levels.
Mary brings experience of working within and between public and private sector organisations, leading significant contractual negotiations and delivering projects to tight deadlines with an inherent quality ethos. She also sits on the Board of British Triathlon Federation with a strong understanding of the governance framework required to underpin sporting success.
A lifelong sportswoman, Mary notably captained England Junior Ladies Cricket Team, played hockey for British Universities and was an Age-Group Sprint Triathlon and Aquathlon Worlds gold medallist in 2011. As a Level 3 BTF Coach and Mentor she hugely enjoys developing athletes and coaches, with special interests in para-sport and open water swimming.
Hinckley & Bosworth Local Sport Alliance
I have worked for many years to get more people involved in sport and physical activity. I am passionate about affordable, acessible opportunities for all, across all ages, all abilities and all circumstances. Sport enhances our lives and helps us grow as people. I am delighted to be working with LRS to extend opportunities within our region.
My journey working within my community started in 2004 when I used my childhood sporting experience (in kickboxing) to help motivate girls my age, to take part in more physical activities. The event I volunteered at was called WISPA (now WHISPA). I volunteered for 11 years, whilst being a student, competing in kickboxing internationally and eventually becoming a Lawyer!
Just 2 years into my legal career I handed my notice in and returned to what I knew best, engaging more females into physical activity. In 2015 I became Leicestershire & Rutland's This Girl Can ambassador. I have now done this for the past 6 years, impacting over 50,000 women & girls through the delivery of kickboxing, yoga & motivational speeches.
I now own my own yoga studio (Hotpod Yoga) & endeavour to continue my community impact using both the strong relationships & partnerships that I have established over the years with local and regional partners, as well as my role on the LRS Board.
In my spare time, I like to go on walks in nature to reflect, and I enjoy reading & learning more about how I can be a better person for the world.
Blaby District Council
It is an ongoing pleasure to be involved with a a high performing Board supported by an 'Excellent' team of dedicated and professional officers. The challenge of increasing participation, sustaining clubs and developing coaches across all sports and all forms of physical activity is a challenge I will always be happy to take. I hope in the current climate of austerity I can help challenge and bring creativity to each and every opportunity presented.
Principal, Uppingham Community College
Ben Solly is Principal of Uppingham Community College, an 11-16 secondary school for 900 students in Rutland. Before this Ben was Headteacher of Lutterworth College, an 11-18 for 1500 students in Leicestershire. Ben started his career as a PE teacher in the Black Country where he worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher before moving into senior leadership roles in the East Midlands. Ben is part of the editorial board for the weekly educational publication Sec Ed.
Head of Strategic Partnerships
I am married with two grown up children. All our family are sporty, from distance running, horse riding to Elite Squash. My career has taken many turns. I started out in the polymer industry and finally staled in the sport industry when after having my daughter, starting as a fitness instructor at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, then working for Tumble Tots and finally entered the world of squash, where I encountered and worked with LRS many times.
I now work as Head of Strategic Partnerships for England Squash, which entails building and maintaining relationships with our partners in the counties and beyond. This is a challenging and rewarding role, which has enabled me to bring my varied skills to the fore.
I now hope to bring some of that insight to the role at LRS and am looking forward immensely to becoming part of the team.
Out side of working life I enjoy running, horse riding and baking. I am also looking forward to new adventures when we take delivery of a camper van.
Advisers to the Board
John Sinnott CBE
Chief Executive, Leicestershire County Council (Host Representative)
The link between sporting opportunities and the wider well-being agenda is crucial for our communities. Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport is in absolutely the right place to bring this about.
Andy Reed OBE
Adviser - National Policy
Andy seeks positive impact through social transformation projects using, sport, faith, co-operatives, social enterprises & Foundations. He has a sound grounding in government relations and Sports Policy through his 13 years as the MP for Loughborough and now serves voluntarily on various sport, faith and voluntary organisation boards as well as being a social entrepreneur.
I have a genuine passion for sport at every level and believe that I have the links and contacts to use this passion to increase the profile and development of sport in the County.
Adviser - District Council Network, CEO Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
Bill's day job is Chief Executive at Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council [rated Excellent in a CPA judgement]. Bill is currently responsible for Development Services, Strategic Partnerships, Culture/Regeneration, Sport, Housing and Community Safety. Bill is also a Board Member (Vice-Chair) of Leicestershire & Rutland Sport – the County Sports Partnership. Bill also works as a volunteer Chair of East Midland Crimestoppers and a member of the charity's National Advisory Board.
Bill is a Chartered Town Planner and he has spent much of his career leading major regeneration schemes, having worked in the North East, Hertfordshire, York City and Bedfordshire (where he led on major new settlement proposals). He also chairs Hinckley & Bosworth Health & Wellbeing Partnership and the Regional Growth Fund Partnership for MIRA Enterprise Zone. When he's not playing taxi driver to his three girls, he enjoys surfing, football and tennis.
Specialist Education Adviser
I am deeply committed to the value of PE and School/Community sport and what it can bring to the lives of young people as well as its contribution to neighbourhood renewal. I believe that the strategic approach CSPs bring to sports development will enable real progression for children, young people and adults.
Specialist Finance Adviser
As a Director of a company which has sponsored Leicestershire sports events, I have been convinced this is a great way for businesses to support communities ... and that the diverse range of skills, connections and experience within LRS will ensure very effective results.
For more information on the LRS Board, please contact:
Active Partnership Director
Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport
I am currently remote working, so please contact me via email/mobile phone (where provided).
- Strategic Management & Business Planning
- Key Stakeholder Liaison
- Financial Management & Compliance
- Leicester City Link Officer
- 01509 564852