Schools in Derbyshire shale gas area cut link with INEOS charity running scheme

Chesterfield SSP fun run

Schools fun run, 6 June 2017. Photo: Chesterfield Schools Sports Partnership

Schools in an area of Derbyshire where INEOS wants to explore for shale gas severed their link with a sports campaign formed by the company’s owner after complaints from parents.

A children’s run held in Chesterfield earlier this week went ahead without the involvement of the INEOS Go Run For Fun charity.

The event, at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, was organised instead by the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Schools Sport Partnerships.

A spokesperson for the college said the connection with the INEOS Go Run For Fun organisation was ended because of concerns about the company’s plans in the area.

An INEOS subsidiary, INEOS Shale, has submitted a planning application for gas exploration in north east Derbyshire at a site near the village of Marsh Lane. Details. Another application for the village of Harthill in Rotherham borough is expected soon. Details

One parent whose child was running in the event on 6 June said she wasn’t happy about the connection with INEOS and wrote to the head teacher.

A school in Dronfield emailed parents before the event:

“You may or may not be aware that the Great Run company who organise the events are sponsored by INEOS (the fracking company). Concerns over this link, from parents and schools, were raised with the NED [North East Derbyshire] School Sport Partnership team who have, in turn, raised concerns with National School Sport Partnerships. As a result NEDSSP have now severed all ties with the Go Run for Fun Event and therefore INEOS”.

Children taking part in Go Run For Fun events receive a branded t-shirt which includes the INEOS logo.

Go Run For Fun says it was formed to inspire children to be more active. According to Go Run For Fun, the programme began in 2013 and since then more than 190,000 children have taken part in events in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA.

INEOS’s website says:

“The Go Run For Fun Foundation has been supported by INEOS and its founder, Jim Ratcliffe, driven by a personal belief that promoting the health and well-being of young people is a critical responsibility for INEOS and our wider society”.


DrillOrDrop asked the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire School Sports Partnerships to give more details on the decision to break the link with INEOS Go Run For Fun. We will update this post if they respond. We also asked Go Run For Fun and a local parent for their reactions. Go Run For Fun referred us to INEOS. We have included their comments in full, received before the event happened.

The INEOS view

A spokesperson for INEOS said:

“INEOS is extremely disappointed by the actions of a handful of individuals in association with anti-fracking groups that have threatened disruption at the GO Run For Fun run to be held at Mount St Marys College, Chesterfield on the 6th June.  These people are misguided. Their ‘bully boy’ tactics have put inappropriate pressure onto primary schools with the sole aim of preventing 1500 young children from taking part in an event that can only improve their health and wellbeing.

“This fun run is the culmination of a six week GO Run For Fun programme that teaches children between the age of 5 and 10 years old to have fun being active. 17 schools, 40 ambassadors and 1500 children are currently three weeks into learning about healthy eating, team-work and the benefits of being active. To threaten to disrupt the run that so many children are looking forwards to, is deplorable.

“It is disgraceful that a number of small anti fracking groups to have threatened disruption at these fun runs and put undue pressure on schools, which have little option but to make alternative arrangements to protect their children if they are to continue to stage the event.

“Go Run For Fun is not linked to INEOS Shale or any particular INEOS businesses and has no purpose other than raising awareness in children of the benefits of an active lifestyle. It was established four years ago and is today the world’s biggest children’s running charity. Its sole aim is to help improve the wellbeing of young children, to encourage them to start running and live fitter, healthier lives. It is supported by Government, sportsmen, health experts, teachers and hundreds of thousands of normal people who want to help their kids to become more active.

“Jim Ratcliffe [the owner of all the INEOS companies] is passionate about getting children to be more active from an early age and he contributes to the programme because he wants to actively address the issue of childhood obesity that is affecting children from an increasingly early age. INEOS is very proud to have enabled over 180,000 children to take part in the event, which is why we have put our name to it.

“GO Run For Fun makes no reference to INEOS products or services that make a significant contribution to saving life, improving health and enhancing standards of living for people around the world.

“These pressure groups should bring their grievance directly to us if they have an issue, not bully teachers, governors and young children. INEOS Shale hold many public meetings to discuss the benefit that shale gas will bring to the prospects of communities across the UK. Those that object to this aspect of our business should share their views at these meetings and not threaten primary schools and young children as they are here.”

A parent’s view

Local parent, Sarah Kaybee, told DrillOrDrop:

“I’m not at all surprised to see INEOS describe people who object to their PR stunts in this way, after all, the best form of defence is often thought to be attack.

“INEOS’s PR spokesperson is trying to make us out to be strident activists, and that we are supposedly up for threatening people and spoiling children’s fun if we don’t get our own way. This is totally untrue.

“The people I have spoken to on this subject are teachers, cleaners, stay-at-home parents, doctors, solicitors, chefs, IT engineers, retail workers, small business owners, nurses, and so on, but most of all, we are parents.

“We do not want our environment to be re-industrialised, and we want our environment as a whole to be suitable for our children to enjoy when they grow up.  High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas will destroy parts of NE Derbyshire and its surroundings, and we just don’t want that. We don’t want it anywhere.

“My sole aim (and many other people’s who objected to this) was to stop my child from being used as a tool for INEOS’s brand acceptance strategy. Last year, my eldest daughter ran in a local Go Run for Fun, before I was aware of its links to INEOS. I was extremely annoyed when she returned wearing the bright pink t-shirt with INEOS clearly printed above the GRFF logo, so to say that is not linked to an INEOS label is disingenuous.

“I am not aware of anyone threatening to disrupt the run, and know that when I asked local groups what I should do, there was general agreement that disruption was not the way forward, but that raising awareness of the INEOS link by contacting teachers, head-teachers and governors of schools was a good strategy for action.

“I therefore wrote a short letter to the head-teacher, pointing out the event’s link to INEOS who were planning to frack in the area. I enclosed a leaflet about the 10 myths of the fracking industry, from Frack Free South Yorkshire, and asked her to look at INEOS’s safety record of late. I also explained that I wasn’t happy about my daughter taking part in this event. No threats, no promises, just statements of fact.

“Considering the strength of local feeling about the planning applications for exploratory drilling recently submitted at Bramleymoor Lane and Harthill, the timing of this race was very badly judged by INEOS. To use children as a marketing ploy in any way but particularly as part of their brand acceptance strategy, to reflect INEOS’s own words back at them, is disgraceful and deplorable.

“For me, the outcome of this is perfect. Parents have been told that the fun run will go ahead, but not under the Go Run For Fun label. Our children still get to enjoy participating in a fun and healthy even, but without being used by INEOS in their ever elusive chase for the social licence to frack.”

17 replies »

  1. Using children as pawns now! You can see from the extent of this programme it is not linked to fracking in any way. Desperate, sad stuff. What a great example to children to open their eyes and explore the world around them.

    Perhaps the teachers and parents should remove all Ineos product from the schools and the children’s homes as well? Computer studies would have a problem! A school referring to Ineos (the fracking company) should do some homework themselves, but would find it difficult as their morals would not allow them to touch a keyboard and Giggle..

    I am sure that Ineos will have no problem finding new, appreciative recipients for their sponsorship. (Didn’t we just have 5 weeks of teachers complaining they were short of funds to supply kids with extra activities??)

  2. Clearly INEOS have found that they cant sneak into communities by trying to cynically influence children into promoting INEOS when it is INEOS who threatens the health of the very same parents and children. The parents quite rightly object to their children being cynically abused in this way.
    People are waking up to the real threat to parents children and everyone posed by this government promoted pernicious invading industry.
    Well done the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire School Sports Partnerships for standing up and being counted.

  3. A piece of psychological maneuvering there by INEOS to try and show themselves in a good light. It’s a pity that the democratic process the country is practicing today isn’t practiced by the May government when it comes to the wishes of various communities in this country.

  4. Not really surprised by this tbh. There is no point in trying to be nice or reasonable with these people as they will never change. Not long till we learn if we have a fracking mandate from the nation!

  5. How silly.
    My children were able to participate in sporting activities, football, rugby, cricket and athletics-not only in this country, but also abroad. They gained health and met hundreds of people they would not have done. These activities were sponsored by all sorts of companies. The children had no clue to whom the sponsors were, and the parents were content an opportunity was being given to their children to open their minds. If the parents,the schools, or the sports clubs felt the sponsor was a little contentious, they dealt with the issue through conversation and discussion, not censorship. No children I knew were promoting the company because their logo was on the shirt. Once they were active, that was their interest and that of the spectators.

    Ineos could easily spend the same amount of money in the neighbourhood on advertising and not contribute a positive opportunity for local children.

    Shame none of these children will be allowed to go on school coach trips, in case the fuel might have come from an Ineos refinery. And the school run will take on a completely new definition. And the summer holiday to Cornwall will need to be cancelled. Have the schools and parents explained that?

    Sponsors use no one as pawns, certainly not children. You will find children are not interested in what logo is on the shirt, or the medal, or the trophy, they just enjoy the opportunity to do things. If parents and schools can not manage this without censorship, how does that open children’s minds? Is that education? (Only in a totalitarian state.)

    As a parent, I would withdraw my children from a school that was dictating how my children should think about subjects. Call me old fashioned, but I do not see that as education. I have never applied that restrictive model myself, and would not accept a school doing so.

    Closing children’s minds because of adults dogma!!

    I will not add further comments because they will be edited. But shame on you for defending it.

    • Once again we are reminded that this cynical move to get fracking propaganda into children’s as yet unformed minds, was initiated by INEOS, not by the parents and not by the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire School Sports Partnerships. its the same story isn’t it? Its the industry that insinuates itself into our midst and seeks to blame those who object as if they are the problem, not the invading industry without whom there would be no problem. Its like a mathematical equation,

      +INEOS x F x M x G = P x C x !, 0 X -INEOS x 0 x 0 = 0, I’ll let you figure out what the letters mean…..if you can, simple isn’t it?

      Once again we must remind ourselves that the cynical use of children to promote commercial brands and corporate logos is a pernicious intrusive exercise in manipulation of young minds before they have a chance to decide for themselves.

      This corporate insinuation of programming is rife in children’s media now as the corporations are desperate to implant their corrupting imagery into young minds before they can see how manipulated they are by the profiteering media.

      This is the image that is being promoted by INEOS behaviour first and foremost, that is not freedom of choice, but cynical pre programming of children to the point where they are not even aware of how their choices are being manipulated into narrow points of view that can be profited from, when they dont even know that pre programming was the intention all along. What a shameful industry that would do that.

      The parents see that a corporation that threatens and endangers the entire country with their activities is trying to insert their subconscious acceptance of a corporation as “friends and promoters” of healthy exercise and sport without being given the full facts and before they have the capacity to decide for themselves.

      Now the children are being informed that a corporation that pretends to be promoting health and exercise is really a corporation that threatens that very aspect of their lives by their operations in industrialising and poisoning those very same children, and everyone elses children. No amount of of John Gummer-ish misuse of his own children type examples will justify INEOS cynical little exercise..

      The parents themselves have corrected that dangerous illusion that and told their children the truth, that is parental care and consideration, not the narrow minded cynical programming insinuation into children’s minds that INEOS represents. As for money, i am sure they will find that amongst themselves without selling their children to a corporation for thirty pieces of silver. i pity anyone’s children who are not similarly protected.

      As parents ourselves, we and many others fought tooth and nail to stop a well known fast food corporation setting up shop in the school instead of proper school meals and later got rid of high sugar content drinks machines too. we never once had a complaint that it was a curtailment of choice, and our children were glad of proper meals served freshly cooked in the parent raised and funded refurbished school kitchen facilities.

  6. [Edited by moderator] The name is linked to fracking!!!! Funny, you seem to have closed your mind to the alternatives!!

  7. [Edited by moderator]
    What name is linked to fracking? (Co-op is linked to cremations, so we shouldn’t buy food from them?)

    I presume you mean Ineos who are a multi £BILLION company who have yet to frack absolutely NOTHING. They are also linked to ecology projects in Iceland, car manufacture, oil processing, chemical manufacture including the plastic you just contaminated your fingers with on your keyboard, shipping, hotel ownership etc. etc. And their founder, Jim Ratcliffe, just happens to be a fitness fanatic who frequently challenges himself to extreme endurance races across the harshest parts of the African continent. You would like all those subjects removed from children’s education, a big chunk of which is paid for by taxes from Ineos and their employees, including the teachers salaries, and maybe some of the parents benefits?

    Because I support the testing of fracking in the UK why should that close my mind to alternatives? Why should it be either, or? You seem to have a very narrow perspective that you think should apply to me and children. My parents both fought for 6 years to allow me to have freedom of thought and to have a wide perspective. I have passed that freedom to my children, and I see that as the most valuable input I could have made to their futures. (My children support totally different football teams to me. Should that be a problem?) Maybe that makes me unusual, but I can live with that.

    And before you become too entrenched in your views my “capitalist” investments are more weighted towards lithium than fossil fuels. But then, wind and solar “warriors” rely on nuclear power, or gas, so it is hardly closing any minds.

  8. INEOS are obviously doing this to help improve their brand’s image, not because of any altruistic love of children’s health issues. That’s what corporations do. If you think that INEOS give out thousands of pretty t-shirts on to unsuspecting children WITH THEIR LOGO ON and this has nothing to do with corporate repositioning, you are being extremely naïve.

    I wonder if INEOS will be running such events when many of the children living near the fracking wells are developing asthma, as reported here in the Baltimore Sun based on peer-reviewed research by Johns Hopkins University. The study shows that people living near fracking wells are four times more likely to have asthma. I bet that isn’t included on INEOS’s Go Run for Fun literature.

    And the irony of their Twitter storm today supporting World Oceans Day, when their company is responsible for the manufacture of microbeads and many of the other plastic products that end up in the Oceans, should not go unnoticed.

  9. Phew

    Just in time as well. If we are not careful, someone will use a picture if a child drinking a glass of water on a propaganda leaflet, or picture them holding posters at protests. A bit of cynical programming has been avoided?

    No, not really. Companies spend money on such activities. Bp was keen to spend it on art in London. If Jim wants to encourage children to run, that’s fine by me.

    However, I do think that company logos should not be on free gifts given in a charitable/ sponsored context. Plus, parents have every right to exclude their children from charitable activities supported by entities they disagree with.

    It looks like a bit of a learning curve for INEOS, but one they should take with good grace. I am sure the charity and those good people who work on it will continue their good work somewhere else.

    Re microbeads, I do not use makeup, shower gel, or exfoliants. Just wrights coal tar soap! But a ban is in order.

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