Sophie's first Elevate experience

Posted 23.05.2019

We’ve been fortunate to have had Sophie Reynolds, first year undergraduate at Solent University studying Sports Journalism, interning with Promote throughout May.

As part of her internship, we invited Sophie along to Elevate – the UK’s leading trade event for physical activity, health and performance.

Read on to discover Sophie’s experience at Elevate!


Elevate was the first ever trade show I attended, and it certainly proved to be an invaluable introduction to key events based within the sector.

Seeing a large proportion of the 350+ exhibitors and 350+ thought-leading speakers reiterated why this is now an event firmly established in each and everyone’s diaries.

I had the opportunity to listen to inspirational keynote speakers during various thought-provoking seminars across the two days, including Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society and Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer at Department for Health.

The talks gave me a true insight into the industry’s current affairs and how those individuals, groups and organisations behind the scenes are working hard to combat societal issues such as physical inactivity to create a happier, healthier and more active nation.

One of my key responsibilities included gathering soundbites from seminars while visiting the show’s various stages such as the Thought Leaders Conference, Active Nation and Active Kids.

It was fantastic to see the technological developments which are set to appear in our industry, such as the new Matrix and FunXtion inventions.


One quote that has stuck with me since the show was from Tim Hollingsworth, the newly appointed Sport England CEO, as he remarked: “I’m banning the term ‘hard to reach communities’ at Sport England, because they aren’t hard to reach; we just simply haven’t tried hard enough.”

Hollingsworth’s talk highlighted to me that although our industry, is developing at a fast pace and although the technology on show at Elevate was astonishing, there is still so much more that needs to be done to ensure physical activity engages with everyone.


Kert Haslam, Chief Executive, SportsAble, spoke about the need for sport to be accessed by all, explaining that “83% of all disabled people weren’t born with a disability”, and “sport is just as important to them now as it was before their disability”.

Trying to change the mindset of those working in the industry, Haslam added: “The most important thing about the disability isn’t the disability, it’s the ability”.

As an industry we should be providing sport that is suited to the abilities of a disabled person, instead of concerning everything around their disability.


Ali Oliver, Chief Executive, Youth Sport Trust, explained the importance of not removing all elements of fun from children’s sporting development because of safety procedures.

Ali suggested: “instead of letting health and safety procedures overpower everything, we should look at the emotional and physical benefits of the activity, compared to the risk”. It was advised we only eliminate specific elements to make activities safe when needed.

Currently, only 9% of children are reaching the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines on physical activity and changes in mindset such as these could positively increase this worrying statistic.


On the first day of Elevate, a panel of specialists including, Nigel Walker, National Director at English Institute of Sport, discussed the question: ‘What is the future of sport and mass participation?’.

It was refreshing to hear Nigel confirm that 52% of the English Institute of Sport staff members are women.

Walker summarised by highlighting some of their most senior roles are now job shares and that developing a flexible working environment is key.

To keep up to date with all the latest Elevate news, please visit:

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