TIM LAWLER APPOINTED MBE IN NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST

Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s (2022) Honours List. Tim, who joined SportsAid in 2004 after a seven-year spell as Managing Director at Saracens Rugby Club, is receiving the Honour for services to Sport for Young People. “I can’t describe the feelings I have in being awarded this Honour, other than an overwhelming sense of pride, especially as it’s arisen during my time working for SportsAid,” said Tim.
01 January, 2022

Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s (2022) Honours List. Tim, who joined SportsAid in 2004 after a seven-year spell as Managing Director at Saracens Rugby Club, is receiving the Honour for services to Sport for Young People.

“I can’t describe the feelings I have in being awarded this Honour, other than an overwhelming sense of pride, especially as it’s arisen during my time working for SportsAid,” said Tim. “I’m sure many others have said this before me - but it really was a complete surprise. I felt quite emotional when I heard the news. Perhaps it’s my own personal equivalent to when an athlete receives a letter confirming selection to their first major Games? You don’t quite believe it's real. 

“I find myself thinking of all the incredible individuals I’ve worked with and had help from over the years. I’ve worked in sport for nearly three decades now and there must be hundreds of people who’ve helped to steer my path, knowingly or otherwise. I suppose it might feel quite vicarious, but there are many people who will share part of the recognition this wonderful Honour brings – including my family and friends too. Thank you. At SportsAid we often refer to ‘the Team Behind the Team’ and today this feels very appropriate.”

Prior to arriving at SportsAid, Tim was the youngest Managing Director in Premiership Rugby through his role with Saracens. He created the award-winning Saracens Community Programme and was a founding Trustee of the innovative Saracens Foundation - now entering its 22nd year and the core of the club’s global sport for development work. Since Tim’s appointment, SportsAid has undergone major changes including the modernisation of its governance and structure, significant growth in commercial partnerships and a rebranding to support its position as the leading body for emerging talent in British sport.

Over this period, the charity has been given responsibility to manage and deliver several Sport England-backed programmes including the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), the Backing The Best programme and, more recently, Team England Futures, an exciting and inspiring Games-time project linked to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Helping young people to believe in themselves and develop their potential has always been a passion and ambition for me,” said Tim. “I’ve never met a young person that hasn’t inspired me, surprised me or changed my perspective in some way. It’s why we’ve grown the SportsAid offer over time to help in a more rounded way, recognising the young person and their family, not just the young athlete, and giving them additional skills and experiences to support their development.

“It is our corporate partnerships, the trust and foundation relationships we have, and our broader fundraising activities, that make this possible. We understand that the financial element of a SportsAid award will always be crucial to athletes and their families, but now being able to offer mental health and wellbeing support, mentoring, advice on the use of social media, as well as tips on nutrition, restful sleep - and other areas surrounding performance - is very important. The next generation has so much to offer - we need to make sure the support we provide is useful and relevant.”

Back in 2011, Tim was the first person to be publicly named as a London 2012 Olympic torchbearer in recognition of his work with SportsAid. He carried the flame through Dorking in Surrey on 20 July 2012. In 2013, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was announced as Patron of SportsAid, and in 2014, a charity concert was performed by Sir Elton John, in aid of SportsAid, which raised over £300,000. These are landmark moments Tim was ‘proud’ to have been part of.

“I am delighted that Tim has been honoured with an MBE in recognition of his work with SportsAid and supporting young people,” said Mike Westcott - Chair of SportsAid. “He has been an inspirational leader of the charity for almost two decades and this Honour is thoroughly deserved. He is a passionate believer in creating a truly inclusive talent system which centres around the needs of the athletes - and champions the role of their families. And he places huge value on the power of collaboration - striving to ensure that SportsAid remains adaptable, dynamic and responsive in how it operates.

“This couldn’t have been better demonstrated than the way SportsAid has reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic - including launching an Athlete Support Fund and undertaking ground-breaking research which has led to more targeted support for athletes whose family circumstances have been impacted. Tim continues to work with boundless energy and commitment to engage, enable and empower the next generation of athletes to achieve their potential in sport and in life. His enthusiasm and commitment to the cause is infectious and I know how excited he is to lead the team forward in the years ahead.”

Tim also has more than a decade’s experience as a charity Trustee, previously with the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust and as Chair of Pro-Active Camden, the Borough’s health and physical activity network, before taking up his current position as Chair of the Tennis Foundation. He is also a member of Sport England’s Talent Inclusion Advisory Group. Each role has been directly linked to championing community sport and providing opportunities for young people, especially those facing barriers and disadvantage, to enable them the best possible platform in which to fulfil their potential.

“I am thrilled to see Tim receiving this richly deserved Honour,” said Leon Taylor - Olympic silver medallist and a long-standing SportsAid ambassador and mentor. “He is so devoted to SportsAid and works tirelessly to provide the best possible support and opportunities for talented young athletes. I have worked closely with Tim throughout his tenure, and his enthusiasm and appetite to constantly improve and evolve grows year-on-year. He always speaks with great passion about SportsAid and has been at the very heart of the charity’s success.”

SportsAid is set to embark on an exciting year ahead with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham - particularly as the charity will be actively involved through managing and delivering the aforementioned Team England Futures. The programme will provide a unique, immersive experience to the next generation of athletes and support staff, helping them to be ready to perform at a future major Games when their breakthrough moment comes, and Tim can’t wait to get underway.

“This year feels like one of renewal, potential and excitement,” said Tim. “After a prolonged period of uncertainty and anxiety, there are better times coming and the Commonwealth Games are certainly part of that optimism. I feel very proud that SportsAid will be so closely involved, delivering our mission to help the next generation through Team England Futures, and I feel as energised and excited as I ever have as we work towards SportsAid’s 50th anniversary in 2026. What a time to be involved.”