Headshot of Dr Justine Reilly

Dr. Justine Reilly

Dr. Justine Reilly has been nominated by Inspiring Women Changemakers member, Victoria Clapham.

Vicky says “Justine is the founding director of Sporting Heritage CIC. She set up the organisation to respond to the lack of awareness and focus placed on the UK’s unique and essential sporting collections.

Justine has a strong belief in the role and value of sporting collections both in and of themselves, but also in terms of supporting wider social, cultural, political, and economic understanding and cohesion.

She has a passion for opening collections to diverse audiences and ensuring heritage and culture doesn’t start and stop with what artefacts we can see in museums.

Our 2020 Igniting Inspiration Campaign is proudly sponsored by

Who has she helped/who will she help?

“Through the social enterprise, Justine has consciously tried to raise awareness of sporting heritage for groups and organisations that are not always represented or engaged when it comes to culture, sport, and heritage.

Specific programs have been developed including the Disability and Women’s Sports Heritage that have raised the profile of the contribution made by people in these groups to our sporting pasts and futures – and what impact this has had on our societies today.”

What’s worked?

  • Moving sporting heritage up the agenda and considered a key part of our culture has been a big change over the last six years.
  • Acknowledging our sporting heritage is more than just football and the legends we’re aware of: instead, sport involves everybody on some level and has a much wider remit than the usual suspects.
  • Encouraging the sector to see sporting heritage as more than exhibitions in a museum but in the stories and memories that are in our communities.
  • Throughout lockdown, the team has been supporting those in the sector look at ways of engaging and promoting their collections digitally and involving a diverse audience.

What has she learned? Any challenges?

“It has taken a number of years for some to see sporting heritage as part of our culture and something to be championed and supported. The passion, determination, and the support of some great people who believed in what we were trying to achieve have certainly played a key part.”

What’s next?

“There are some exciting projects we’re involved with, including looking at Neurodiverse Museums, how illustration and art can engage families with heritage, our digital stories programme supporting local groups create and capture their stories and we’re continuing to develop disabled people and women in sport programmes.

We’re also already planning next year’s National Sporting Heritage Day in September, building on this year – which was to date our biggest one yet.”

What advice, contacts, or resources would help her?

“If there are any individuals or groups who would love to get involved or know more about sporting heritage, please get in touch. It’s about widening the appeal and interest to community groups who may not have felt involved, included, or part of UK Sporting Heritage.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

Each year, an individual or organisation from each of our five categories plus one exceptional judges’ choice individual is recognised at our annual Igniting Inspiration celebration event.

We publish each and every nomination to raise awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North. While, this year, our physical event had to be deferred, our campaign to spread stories of positive social impact continues – good news is needed!