Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis on Friday welcomed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to the club’s City Ground for the unveiling of a county-wide community health initiative.

Forest, in collaboration with E.ON, announced the pioneering initiative A New Vision For Sport in front of invited guests including Ben Bradley MP, Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, and Victoria Pickering, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire.

Contained within the project is a commitment to ensuring that every adult and every child in Nottinghamshire is afforded the time and the recreational space to exercise for their health and wellbeing.

Prime Minister Sunak addressed guests to share his insights on the importance of physical activity to health and wellbeing, and commended the efforts of Nottingham Forest and the wider business and sporting community for leading the way in helping improve health outcomes in the region.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Nottingham Forest included a separate conversation with Marinakis, in which he thanked the club’s owner for his significant contribution to the county of Nottinghamshire.

The Nottingham FC owner then invited the Prime Minister onto the City Ground pitch to enjoy a kickabout with Forest’s first team players and Year 4 schoolchildren from Carnarvon Primary School in Bingham.

A New Vision For Sport, supported with early seed funding from Club partners, E.ON, is aimed at transforming the health and wellbeing of Nottinghamshire residents and transforming the sporting landscape across the county, uniting the region’s diverse sporting clubs under a singular vision.

The initiative champions the collaboration between the public and private sector across Nottinghamshire, including its professional and semi-professional sports clubs, local councils, higher education institutions, and commercial entities.

It recognises the pivotal role of sports clubs in fostering greater equality, diversity, and inclusion and promoting the benefits of an active lifestyle to improve health outcomes in the region.

Speaking at today’s event, Sunak said: “I think Nottingham Forest and E.ON’s initiative to get everyone in Nottinghamshire, regardless of their age, out playing sport for an hour a week is a fantastic campaign and it’s a real example of the good that a club really grounded in its community can do. Nottinghamshire will be a happier and healthier place because of this initiative.

“Indeed bringing together all the sports clubs in Nottinghamshire to not just promote sport but to provide a pathway into professional sport for children who have got the talent and dedication is also a great idea. And one that may just quicken Nottingham Forest’s return to being a European footballing powerhouse once again. This initiative has my absolute, full support.”

Nottingham Forest owner Marinakis said: “This initiative to ensure every child and adult in the region has access to at least an hour of exercise each week is so important, and we will put all our energy and efforts into making sure this is possible.

“Whatever is needed in order to make this project a success, whatever investment is required, I am personally committed to do so for this region. I am particularly proud that we can contribute to a project which can change the futures of our children and everyone in this region. I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his support and all those who will contribute towards making this project a success.”

On his part, Chairman Tom Cartledge added: “The Prime Minister’s participation underscores the significance of this initiative in promoting physical and mental well-being within our region. We are delighted to have his support as we embark on this journey towards a fitter, healthier and more inclusive community across Nottinghamshire.”

Set to span three years, the initiative will focus on three core pillars:

Sport For All: Encouraging all age groups to engage in physical activity for at least one hour per week, promoting a healthier lifestyle across Nottinghamshire.

Unity in Sports: Bringing together semi-professional and professional clubs, irrespective of sport, to collaborate in promoting sports, fostering aspirations, and creating professional pathways for young talent.

Infrastructure Enhancement: Conducting a comprehensive review of sporting facilities with the goal of hosting a county-wide ‘Nottinghamshire Games’ by the third anniversary of the program in which people across the county can celebrate health, fitness and wellness through sport.