Recently, I had the honour of hosting a reception in the House of Commons to celebrate the success of the B Active programmes delivered through a partnership between Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) and Active Community Network (ACN).
The event hailed the achievements of the five existing programmes running across the UK (Belfast, London, Greater Manchester, Newport and Hull) and announced the launch of the new B Active programme in Birmingham, which is focussed on young women.
I was very happy to welcome some words from Mims Davies MP, the Minister for Sport, who thanked the programme leaders and volunteers for their dedication. I was also happy to invite speeches from LRS Marketing Director Hannah Norbury, and ACN CEO Gary Stannett (who I am pictured with above), and hear more about how B Active improves the lifestyles and prospects of young people living in disadvantaged areas.
The B Active programme aims to give people aged 16-24 better access to sports and physical activities through a five day a week programme, running 50 weeks of the year. The community-led programmes also offer volunteers the ability to gain qualifications to do with enterprise, coaching and working with youth at risk. Over the course of 2018, over 4,000 young people have participated in new sport and physical activities.
A highlight of the evening was listening to England Lioness Nikita Parris talk about the importance of getting women into sport and touch on her own experience with football, playing for our national team.
However, the best part of the evening was meeting some of the inspirational young volunteers, many of whom had given more than 50 hours of their time on a B Active programme and congratulating them on their hard work and achievements.
As a Member of Parliament, I will always champion businesses based in the Forest of Dean, and I was proud to offer my support to LRS at the reception. From its recent £13m investment to expand production in Coleford, to supporting this fantastic programme- LRS is creating opportunities for people, both within and beyond the constituency, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with their leadership team.