Skip to main content

Advisory Panel

The Intelligent Health Advisory Panel

Intelligent Health has brought together an esteemed group of professionals from across 10 sectors to identify whole-system solutions to tackle health inequalities. Building on our work as a Sport England System Partner and our tried and tested place-based approaches, the Panel will seek to implement best practice through Beat the Street delivery.

The Intelligent Health Advisory Panel

Intelligent Health has brought together an esteemed group of professionals from across 10 sectors to identify whole-system solutions to tackle health inequalities. Building on our work as a Sport England System Partner and our tried and tested place-based approaches, the Panel will seek to implement best practice through Beat the Street delivery.

Dr William Bird Smiling

William Bird

CEO, Founder – Intelligent Health

Dr William Bird MBE is passionate about getting people active. As a family GP in the 1990s, he pioneered the concept of social prescribing by setting up the first Health Walk scheme, closely followed by the first Green Gym. He quickly found that companionship and contact with nature were major driving forces in keeping people active. William is now a global authority on health and activity, and is an advisor to the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and Sport England.

In 2010, he set up Intelligent Health, whose mission is to build active communities. Intelligent Health’s flagship programme is Beat the Street, which sees communities transformed into a giant game where players achieve points and prizes by walking, cycling, and scooting around their local area. Beat the Street has had over 1.6 million participants worldwide to date and is backed by research which demonstrates sustained behaviour change.

Alison Oliver

Alison Oliver MBE

CEO – Youth Sport Trust

Ali is the Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to building a brighter future for young people through the power of sport.

Ali joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 as a member of the senior leadership team and became the CEO in 2015. Prior to this Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath having joined as the course leader for the Physical Education Initial Teacher Training programme. Before this Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as teacher in Essex.

In 2019 Ali received an honorary doctorate of the University of Bath, she was recognized as the Best Leader (not for profit category) in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies in 2020, and in the same year was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor

CEO – Active Partnerships

Andy joined the Active Partnerships national team as Chief Executive Officer in June 2022, having previously worked at The Football Association, Aston Villa Foundation and Burton Albion Community Trust. Andys role as CEO is to to strategically lead the direction and development of the Active Partnership national team in accordance with strategic plans and the ethos and vision of the organisation.

Andy is a firm believer in the positive role that sport, and physical activity can have on all people’s lives, especially where there are inequalities within our communities.

In his spare time, Andy is Independent Chair of Port Vale Foundation, a manager of a grassroots football team and a keen runner (usually with a Springer Spaniel), and took part in the London Marathon in October 2022, raising money for Alzheimers Society.

Jim Burt

Jim Burt

Interim CEO – National Academy for Social Prescribing

Jim started his working life as a Marine Biologist on the west coast of Australia but has spent the last 30 years working on large-scale nature-based delivery, policy, research and public engagement projects in the UK and more distant countries such as Papua New Guinea and Pakistan. The common theme to this work has been system change to enhance people’s value for the natural environment through the delivery of social outcomes.

In 2003, he was the national Manager of English Nature’s External Relations Team in the UK. In 2006, with the formation of Natural England he was appointed Head of Campaigns, advising the BBC with TV productions such as Springwatch, Autumnwatch and the associated Breathing Places campaign. In 2009, he took up the role of Principle Adviser for Public Engagement, and then Principle Adviser for Health and the Environment in 2015 – which included outdoor learning. During these years he was the SRO for a number of large national outdoor learning projects including the One Million Children Outdoors campaign; the 3 year Natural Connections Demonstration Project funded by the Dept for Environment in 2012; the 3 year, £10m Dept for Education funded Children and Nature Programme in 2016, and more recently, the £5.7m Green Social Prescribing Programme 2019-22, funded by the UK Treasury.

Over this period, he also co-authored several publications on peoples motivations for, and use of, the natural environment with a particular interest in nature connection and under-represented social groups. Jim is also a founding Chair of the National Outdoors for All Working Group.

Since 2020, Jim has been on secondment from Natural England to the National Academy for Social Prescribing as Executive Director Programmes and Science and more recently interim CEO.

All these roles reflect on Jim’s lifelong interest in public engagement and passion to help connect people with the natural world, art, culture and heritage for their health and wellbeing.

Julia Thrift

Julia Thrift

Director, Healthier Place-Making – Town and Country Planning Association

Julia Thrift is Director of Healthier Place-making at the TCPA (Town & Country Planning Association) where she works to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration to create well-designed places, spaces and buildings that make it easier for people to live healthier lives. She is a trustee at Trees for Cities, a charity that works with communities to improve lives by planting trees. Earlier in her career she was a Director at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) where she advised the government on improving parks and public spaces. Formerly a journalist, she has a degree in philosophy from UCL.

Matt Leach

Matt Leach

CEO – Local Trust

Matt Leach is Chief Executive of Local Trust, which funds long-term place-based, community-led change across England. Prior to that, Matt led social housing innovation agency HACT, was an associate director at Red Tory think tank ResPublica and held a range of senior leadership roles in the public sector, including civil society funder Capacitybuilders, the Housing Corporation, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and a range of Whitehall departments.

Sir Muir Gray

Prof. Sir Muir Gray CBE

Director – The Optimal Ageing Programme

Muir Gray entered the Public Health Service by joining the City of Oxford Health Department in 1972 after qualifying in medicine in Glasgow, the city of his birth

He is the founding director of the Oxford Value and Stewardship Programme www.ovsp.net   and is now working to bring about a transformation of care with the aim of increasing value for both populations and individuals and published a series of How To Handbooks for example, How `to Get Better Value Healthcare, How To Build Healthcare Systems and How To Create the Right Healthcare Culture.

Muir Gray has done research and introduced services to help people live longer better for fifty years , his mission is ageing and how to cope with it and he has published a number of books for example a book for people aged seventy called Sod 70 ! one for the younger decade called Sod60! This with Dr Claire Parker, and his book for people aged 40-60, titled Midlife,  was published in January 2017. Other books in series on Sod Ageing are Sod it, Eat Well, with Anita Bean and Sod Sitting, Get Moving with Diana Moran, the Green Goddess. For people of all ages Dr Gray’s Walking Cure summarises the evidence on this wonderful means of feeling well, reducing the risk of disease and minimising disability should disease strike. In addition, he has published papers in the Lancet and the BMJ analysing what is happening to us as we live longer and concluding that most of the problems are not due to the ageing process, until the nineties, but are the result of loss of fitness, disease, much of it preventable and all of it complicated by accelerated loss of fitness, and by negative beliefs about the potential for people to increase their physical and mental wellbeing and ability at any age. He has set up the Optimal Ageing Programme at oxford with the website www.livebetterforlonger.weebly.com

Headshot Placeholder Female

Nicola Gitsham

Head of Healthcare Inequalities and Personalisation, Healthcare Inequalities Improvement – NHS England

Dr William Bird MBE is passionate about getting people active. As a family GP in the 1990s, he pioneered the concept of social prescribing by setting up the first Health Walk scheme, closely followed by the first Green Gym. He quickly found that companionship and contact with nature were major driving forces in keeping people active. William is now a global authority on health and activity, and is an advisor to the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and Sport England.

In 2010, he set up Intelligent Health, whose mission is to build active communities. Intelligent Health’s flagship programme is Beat the Street, which sees communities transformed into a giant game where players achieve points and prizes by walking, cycling, and scooting around their local area. Beat the Street has had over 1.6 million participants worldwide to date and is backed by research which demonstrates sustained behaviour change.

Richard Benwell

Richard Benwell

CEO – Wildlife and Countryside Link

Richard Benwell is CEO of Wildlife & Countryside Link, a coalition of 69 environmental charities. He is also Chair of the Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership and a Board member of UK Youth for Nature.

Tim smit

Sir Tim Smit KBE

Co-Founder – Eden Project

Sir Tim Smit read Archaeology and Anthropology at Durham University. This began a lifelong passion for regeneration and working to put things into good heart. Following occupations embracing his many interests from Archaeology through music to wreck diving, Rare Breed animal husbandry and building restoration, in 1990 He ‘discovered’ and then restored ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’ with John Nelson. Of which he remains a Director. This is now one of the UK’s best loved gardens having been named ‘Garden of the Year’ by BBC Countryfile Awards (Mar 2018). Tim’s book ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’ won Book of the Year in 1997.

Tim is today Executive Chair and Co-founder of the multi award-winning Eden Project in Cornwall. Since its opening in 2001, over 23 million people have come to see a once sterile pit, turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour and our dependence and unbreakable part in the systems of the natural world.

Jeanette Bain-Burnett

Jeanette Bain-Burnett

Executive Director Policy and Integrity – Sport England

Jeanette Bain-Burnett is Executive Director for Policy and Integrity at Sport England, where she leads a team focused on thought leadership on key policy issues in sport and physical activity, as well as ensuring integrity and inclusiveness are central to the experiences of people participating in sports and movement across the nation.

Jeanette has held several executive and non-executive leadership roles across the arts and education sector. She is currently chair of ACTA Theatre Company in Bristol. Previous roles include Director of Participation at the Trussell Trust, Assistant Director, Communities and Social Policy at the Greater London Authority and Director of the Association of Dance of the African Diaspora.

Adam Tranter

West Midlands Cycling & Walking Commissioner

Adam Tranter is the West Midlands’ first Cycling & Walking Commissioner, taking up the post in December 2021. Appointed by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, Adam works with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), local council partners, and the Department for Transport to steer the region’s cycling and walking policies and plans.

Adam is also Founder of the communications agency Fusion Media and co-host of the Streets Ahead podcast on active travel.

Ready to talk?

Get in touch and find out how we can help transform your local community or workplace.

Contact