UKSA Board appoints 2 new Trustees

New UKSA Trustees (Left to right): Pete Ackred & Andy Heffer

The UK Sports Association (UKSA) is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Trustees, Peter Ackred and Andy Heffer.

Both will join the UKSA Board from 20th August 2020 boosting UKSA’s collective experience of industry leaders working together to achieve UKSA’s vision of a society that enables people with intellectual impairment, Down syndrome and autism to excel.

Pete Ackred (CEO, Disability Sports Coach) and Andy Heffer (former Director of Sport & Development, Special Olympics GB), join the Board as independent appointments, bringing a wealth of experience of business, sport, development and working with disabled people to complement the legal, governance, UK and international sport, education and commercial expertise already present through current Board members.

Commenting on the appointments, newly elected Chair, Genevieve Gordon-Thomson said “It is with pleasure we welcome Pete and Andy to the UKSA Board, during such an important time for athletes with intellectual impairment in sport.”  

“Andy and Pete bring a depth of expertise and cross sector knowledge from their respective UK wide networks. These networks will be of enormous value to UKSA as we continue to support athletes with intellectual impairment, Down syndrome and autism to excel in national and international sport”.

UKSA Chief Executive Tracey McCillen said “These latest appointments to our Board are hugely exciting.  I look forward to working with Pete, Andy and the whole Board in the weeks and months to come.  Athletes with intellectual impairment, Down syndrome and autism deserve recognition in performance sport, whether through Paralympics or Virtus Global Games – they work hard to achieve GB representation. “

“We are committed to seeing athletes achieve their ambitions.  With UKSA’s strong Board, our collective voices will ensure that the change needed in the sports sector to enable them in performance sport is realised.”

Pete Ackred said “ I am delighted to be joining the UKSA board on its journey to make competitive sport inclusive for all.  It is key that we open the door for more opportunities for people with a learning disability to excel in national and international competitive sport. I believe that working with UKSA to develop existing and new partnerships is the key to driving this.”

Andy Heffer said “I’m honoured to have been asked to join the Board of UKSA.  Much of my career has been spent trying to improve provision for people with a learning disability within the sports sector and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue this important work with UKSA”.

The UKSA Board includes

  • Genevieve Gordon Thomson (Chair), CEO Tactic Connect
  • Gavin MacLeod, CEO Scottish Disability Sport
  • Fiona Reid, CEO Disability Sport Wales
  • Jane Coia, Performance Coach & Former Chair, Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disability
  • Gary Fraser, Performance Manager, Scottish Disability Sport
  • Pete Ackred, CEO, Disability Sports Coach
  • Andy Heffer, Former Director of Sports & Development, Special Olympics GB

The UK Sports Association is the only national disability sports and umbrella body in the UK for sport and people with learning disability, Down syndrome and autism focusing on elite and high- performance sport.

UKSA promotes, supports and facilitates talented sports people in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport. UKSA is the only official Great Britain member of Virtus (formerly Inas), is responsible for and manages eligibility and classification across the UK and manages GB Teams to Virtus events.


For further information, images and interviews contact Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive, UKSA on 0207 490 3057 or email

Brief biography of Peter Ackred:  Follow on Twitter @packred_CEO_DSC

Pete Ackred is the founder and CEO of Disability Sports Coach, a registered charity which is an award-winning provider of sport and physical activity for disabled people.  He has worked in the development of sport for disabled people for over 20 years.

Pete has 15 years senior management experience within the charity sector. He has been on the UKactive Kids board and is currently a member of the House of Sport CEO Forum. In 2019, he was named as a finalist in the Entrepreneur for Good Award category at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Since Peter founded Disability Sports Coach, the organisation has coached over 60,000 disabled people, trained 6,000 sports coaches across 300 courses, and established a network of 14 Community Clubs in 13 London Boroughs. The charity has delivered 5,000 hours of physical activity in the last 3 years. Disability Sports Coach has raised more than £2.5 million towards its work supporting disabled people.

Brief biography of Andy Heffer: Follow on Twitter @Andyheffa

Andy Heffer has been involved in sport and physical activity for people with a learning disability for more than 35 years.

He started out as a volunteer and then became a staff member at Special Olympics GB, and eventually Director of Sports & Development, a position he held for eight years. Andy managed the SOGB competition, club development and volunteer programmes.

On the international scene, Andy has been Assistant Head of Delegation at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai and a Subject Matter Expert supporting the Local Organising Committee at the last three SO World Games. In addition to his work with people with a learning disability, Andy is also involved with charities supporting people experiencing homelessness. Andy also has a keen interest in the arts.


NOTES: UKSA and Virtus (Formerly Inas) are different to Special Olympics.

UKSA promotes high performance led, elite competitive sport and is focused on the performance and winning gold.  UKSA and Virtus are part of the pathway to Global Games and Paralympic Games. Special Olympics are a year-round sports training and competition program for adults and children with learning disability.

Special Olympics competition is set in divisions so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar sports ability in each sport. Special Olympics competitions, domestic and international are non-elite and at a participation level catering to all-ability levels.

Special Olympics focus is on participation and improving an athlete’s quality of life.  Higher sports ability athletes may progress to Paralympic level through UKSA and Virtus, where those opportunities exist or through NGB World Class programmes.

Others progress in a wider range of sports through UKSA, either directly or through UKSA/NGB collaborations to Virtus Championship programmes including the Virtus Global Games,  Cricket Tri-Nations Series or in some cases, International Federation Championships.