Queen’s Birthday Honours: Northamptonshire woman awarded MBE for revolutionary work around child safety in sport

Lisa has worked in sport for 35 years and created a safeguarding policy that is used as standard at sports clubs across the country

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 9:31 am
Lisa Wainwright developed a policy, which evolved into ClubMark - a standard club accreditation.

A woman from Northamptonshire who has completed revolutionary work around child safety in sport has been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Lisa Wainwright, from Brixworth, who is currently the CEO for Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) and has worked in sport for 35 years, has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

The 50-year-old was first inspired to work within the sector by a PE teacher in Yorkshire where she grew up.

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Lisa was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Bedford in 2019.

After becoming a PE teacher herself, Lisa moved away from education and started working elsewhere within sport as she was keen to have a bigger impact.

During her career, Lisa has worked for England Netball, Sport England, British Basketball and Volleyball England, as well as other sporting organisations from community to international level.

Despite being involved in many aspects of sport, it is specifically Lisa’s work around child protection that has led to her MBE.

Lisa started working on the safety of children in sport during her first stint at England Netball in 1998, where she developed two new policies around duty of care and action planning, which were taken on nationally and delivered as standard across 70 sports in the UK.

Lisa (right) and her family love to spend time at Pitsford Reservoir since moving to the area eight years ago.

The research and advice from Lisa around safeguarding has been described as ‘world-leading’ and can still be seen across the country today as it has developed into ClubMark, which is a household name for anyone who has anything to do with grassroots sport.

Lisa said: “I was inspired by a PE teacher who told me if I didn’t finish my homework I wouldn’t be allowed to play netball.

“She really helped me to get through school as I was not the most academic but through sport an opportunity was created.

“I wanted to give back and I became a teacher but I wanted to make a bigger difference at community level.

“Then 20 years ago when I was working at England Netball I was trying to create a safe environment so people could enjoy sport and that developed into ClubMark.

“Now if you want to take your children to a sports club, you want it to be ClubMarked.

“At the time I just knew I had to find a way to get clubs to understand why it was so important to develop.”

Lisa’s days of playing sport might be over, but she is still a keen cyclist and swimmer and she and her family love to to ride around Pitsford Reservoir.

Although her playing days are behind her, Lisa is still very much heavily involved with sport through her work, which makes the MBE even more fitting as she continues to help shape and develop the sector.

Lisa added: “It’s a huge honour and privilege.

“When I opened the email I thought it was asking me to nominate someone, but then I realised it was about me.

“I was shocked that someone had nominated me.

“I am delighted though that the work, which not just I have done but my team too, will be recognised.”

At her current job with the SRA, Lisa works with 320 membership organisations supporting sustainability and diversity.

SRA is also the sector’s independent voice to help with policy and matters with the Government.