Sports organisations and sports leaders from around the country met in Bristol last week to discuss how sport and physical activity could be better used to benefit modern society.

The conference took place at the Brightside Cricket Ground and was held as part of the city’s year as a European City of Sport.

This one off event involved organisations from a range of different sectors which met to get guidance on how to improve access to sport within their organisation whilst also looking at how sport could be used on a national level to drive productivity, encourage aspiration and help people to overcome inequalities in society.

The day featured talks from international sport stars including James Cracknell OBE, double Olympic Gold Medallist, Pat Lam, Bristol Rugby’s head coach, and Chrissie Wellington, three time ironman world champion and Global Head of Health and Wellbeing for parkrun.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I wanted to use our year as a City of Sport to start work to boost our city’s sporting profile and start conversations about how we can better promote sport and physical activity.  I have three key aims for sport; to ensure that we are encouraging more elite talent from our city, to make sport more accessible and to help attract more world-class events to Bristol.  The council cannot achieve all these goals alone and we have already begun conversations with organisations’ across the city to help us work together to achieve these goals.

“Sport and physical activity is not only about health.  Taking part in sport can improve the aspirations and outlook of young people and employees helping to boost productivity for organisations and ultimately helping people overcome inequalities within society.

“This event places us at the centre of a discussion around how cities and organisations can use sport and physical activity to improve the welfare and opportunities of people across the country. It was a great achievement to have so many people gathered together to discuss this key issue and I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this event a reality.  I hope that it has given everyone who attended plenty of new ideas for how we can better use sport to help our communities across the country and here in Bristol.”

There were also a range of talks and interactive workshops from local and national organisations discussing the importance of investing in physical activity, sport’s benefits for public health, how cities can attract larger sporting events and how national sporting bodies are changing the way they work.

Will Brown, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Cricket Ground, recently hosted games from the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in the city and held a talk about attracting world class events.

He said: “As host venue of part of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup it’s been a pleasure to share our expertise on attracting world class events. It’s been an honour to host this conference on behalf of the city and get involved in discussions about how we can use sport to improve our society. I hope everyone who came here today enjoyed the day and were open to engage with the debates and sessions that took place.”

The event was organised by Wesport, Bristol City Council and BusinessWest.

Steve Nelson, Chief Executive Officer at Wesport, said: “This conference was a first for Bristol. The organising group worked hard to ensure the structure and content of the day was engaging the audience and enabled delegates to take something with them of value in their sport / physical activity or business roles.”

Representatives from Sport England, English Federation for Disability Sport and Badminton England were also there on the day to deliver industry focused talks.

The sponsor for this event was SDS limited.