Sport England honour as Active Essex strengthens Board with 3 appointments

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The Chair of Active Essex, Azeem Akhtar, has been appointed to the Sport England board of directors and re-elected as Chair of Active Essex.

The Active Essex Board of Directors has been further strengthened meanwhile with three significant new appointments who bring a wealth of experience and expertise on health, education and the third sector.
Caroline Rassell, Chief Officer, Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG); Elizabeth Cornish, Headteacher of Glenwood School, a Community Special School in Benfleet; and David Sollis, Chief Executive, Healthwatch Essex, have been appointed for three years. They will help direct Active Essex’s strategy of changing 1 million lives by getting Essex active.

Azeem Akhtar has been Chair of Active Essex for the past three years, spearheading its strategy to change 1 million lives by getting Essex active. He has led its new direction of working differently and in new ways with local communities and county-wide partners to address some of the root causes of inactivity in the county’s most deprived communities.

Speaking of his appointments, Azeem Akhtar says: “I have always been passionate about the powerful role which physical activity and sport plays in our health and wellbeing and being selected to join the Sport England board is a huge opportunity for me. I am also excited to continue as Chair of Active Essex and to welcome the three new members of the Board to help us deliver our strategy.”

Jason Fergus, Director of Active Essex, said: “Azeem has been instrumental in helping us reshape Active Essex so we can work more effectively in tackling the issues around inactivity. It’s fantastic he will be giving Essex a voice on the Sport England board and will continue to drive our direction for the next three years.”

Elizabeth Cornish is the new Headteacher of Glenwood School, a Community Special School in Benfleet.

Speaking of her appointment as a member of the Active Essex board, she says: "I am really looking forward to working on the Active Essex board where I hope to contribute expertise for learners with special educational needs (SEND) and their families; there is a massive opportunity to broaden both the range and impact of physical activity with inclusion at the heart".

Caroline Rassell is the Chief Officer at Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), where she is responsible for planning health care for Chelmsford, Braintree and Maldon residents.
Speaking of her appointment as a member of the Active Essex board, she says: “There is increasing recognition in the health service that we only deal with the consequences of how society is living, so we are looking more and more at the causes of ill health and therefore supporting anything that supports healthy lives.

“Without the work Active Essex is doing in helping people live active lives the health service is going to struggle. It’s even more important for people who are diagnosed with long term conditions that they keep active for their physical and mental health.”

David Sollis is Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch Essex, an independent charity which captures the experiences of people using health and social care in Essex and uses them to create positive change. He brings his knowledge of the third sector to Active Essex.

Speaking of his appointment as a member of the Active Essex board, he says: “Essex is a very large and diverse county with pockets of high deprivation and it’s important that people from all different communities are part of the discussion about how they can live healthier, happier lives. I’ll be helping Active Essex to deepen its connections with what’s happening locally so that people can be better supported.”