After a fantastic summer for the British women’s netball, football and athletics teams amongst others, Women in Sport is stepping up its efforts to ensure this translates into more girls and women being active and participating in sports in their day-to-day lives. Currently the inactivity crisis faced by the UK disproportionately affects girls and women, with just 14% of girls achieving the recommended 60mins of exercise per dayi.
To aid its mission, the board of the leading gender equality charity Women in Sport is getting a boost from two new trustees. Rupen Shah and Nick Rusling will start work as trustees with immediate effect and join the charity’s next full board meeting in January 2020.
Rupen Shah is a powerful advocate for women’s football and believes in the transformational effect of sport on people’s lives. He is currently Director of Finance and Company Secretary at the Football Foundation, having previously worked at KPMG. The Football Foundation aims to transform lives and communities through investing in high quality accessible playing facilities particularly in areas of high deprivation.
Rupen Shah said: “It is amazing to see the transformational effect that sport can have when girls are engaged and inspired by their experience of sport. To be able to bring this and my professional experience to supporting a cause that wants to bring a fairer and more equal playing field for all women and girls, is a fantastic opportunity.”
Shah has been a football coach with Arsenal FC for 10 years, delivering coaching clinics in over 14 countries and working closely with the under-10s and 12s teams in Arsenal Women’s Academy. He combines substantial expertise in charity finance with a real grasp of the barriers faced to engagement in sport by young people of different backgrounds, and particularly girls and young women.
Nick Rusling is a passionate believer in getting more people involved in sport and has 20 years’ experience of overseeing sporting events. Rusling is currently CEO of mass participation events company Human Race, with a current portfolio that spans running, cycling and triathlon including the Royal Windsor Triathlon, Tour de Yorkshire Ride and the Manchester Marathon.
Nick Rusling commented: “Working in the world of mass participation, I’ve seen first-hand the empowering benefits of sport, and the positive impact it can have on our lives. I firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in sport, from competitive activity to everyday habits and I look forward to working with Women in Sport to help achieve this for more women and girls.”
Rusling was previously a Trustee of the Herne Hill Velodrome Trust as well as Chair of the Triathlon Industry Association and brings a wealth of commercial experience and creativity to the Women in Sport board.
Shah and Rusling join the Women in Sport board following the stepping down of former international hockey player Elie Barnes. They bring a diversity of perspective and experience to the existing board as the charity gears up its work to transform the understanding of sports organisations and other key audiences by sharing its insights into the needs of women and girls.
Jayne Haines, Chair of Women in Sport, added: “We are delighted to welcome Rupen and Nick to the board, and I am looking forward to working with them both and to utilise their strong commercial and financial skills to further our cause. It comes at an exciting time for Women in Sport, building the momentum for ensuring all women and girls can access the lifelong benefits of sport. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Elie for her time and commitment as a Trustee.”
iSport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2017/2018 (published December 2018)