EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, has appointed three new non-executive directors to join their board.

Born Barikor, Gill Cummings-Bell, and Sarah Durnford will join the board in September 2022, attending their first board meeting with the other EMD UK directors.

EMD UK recently released it’s 2022-27 strategy in which the organisation has refocussed its mission of supporting group exercise instructors to be the best they can be. To ensure that instructor voices and expertise were heard at board level, EMD UK set out to recruit new non-exec directors whose background was in group exercise.

Each of the new appointments were selected after a vigorous recruitment process for their passion, knowledge, and expert experience in the sector.

Born Barikor is the CEO and founder of Our Parks, an initiative that provides free group exercise classes in local community parks. Born is passionate about converting inactive people to regular class goers and has an aim of getting one million people fit for free by 2025. Born has won a number of awards for his community work, including BT Sport Industry Community Programme of the Year in 2017 and a Black British Business Award in 2019.

On joining the EMD UK board, Born said:

 “Group exercise has been a huge part of my life and allowed me to make new friends and colleagues across the UK. I really feel that group exercise is so important to communities to grow and thrive together and looking forward to contributing to the fantastic work and values that EMD UK push out to the sector through helping to steer their strategy.”

Gill Cummings-Bell is director of training provider, Drummond Education. Gill has been a group exercise teacher for over 40 years and has provided education for hundreds of fitness professionals. Gill has considerable skills in the fitness sector, including class development, strategic management, quality assurance, and planning and development. Gill consults and presents both nationally and internationally, presenting workshops on education and health related topics around the world.

Of her appointment, Gill said

“What I hope to achieve with EMD UK is to help develop an organisation that truly represents group exercise teachers of all disciplines. I want to help EMD UK develop clear professional pathways and a clear sector voice for group exercise teachers of all disciplines where teachers feel supported, enabled, and empowered in their jobs. For me it is time to give back to the profession and people that have supported me throughout my career.”

Sarah Durnford is the Instructor Experience Development Director at Les Mills UK. Sarah is passionate about creating gold standard education for group exercise instructors and ensuring fitness professionals feel supported in their careers. As an ex-trainer and fitness presenter, Sarah knows the challenges, highs and lows that instructors face.

Of her appointment, Sarah said

“My passion continues to stay grounded in group exercise and empowering group fitness professionals to be the very best that they can be in their role – this is the key reason that I applied for the non-executive director role at EMD UK. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with EMD UK in creating positive change and impact for the group fitness sector. I am committed to bringing the voice of the instructor into every industry conversation, to champion their value and potential to grow fitness facilities, businesses and healthier communities.”

CEO of EMD UK, Marcus Kingwell remarked “I am delighted to welcome out new non-executive board directors to EMD UK. To achieve our mission of supporting instructors to be the best they can be, it’s imperative we have the experience and expertise of industry professionals. With decades of experience between them, Born, Gill and Sarah will provide fresh voices and perspectives to EMD UK, ensuring the voices of instructors are heard when making strategic decisions.”

Find more about the EMD UK Board and Governance here.