10 July 2012

Sheffield highlighted as centre for Olympic Legacy

Just two weeks before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sheffield has been highlighted as one of three centres taking part in a major Olympic Legacy initiative.

The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, comprising Sheffield, London and the East Midlands, is to be launched on Tuesday (10th July) in London. The centre brings together leading universities, hospitals and high profile partners to help tackle some of the country’s most serious health issues, including chronic long-term conditions, obesity and musculoskeletal disorders. Together these conditions cost the country more than £20 billion per year in healthcare costs and lost days at work.

Sheffield is to receive £10m in funding to develop its own centre of excellence and to build facilities to bring together research, education and NHS services.

The national centre will aim to translate research into innovative and improved services and programmes that will help transform the country’s health and start to reverse the forecasts for premature deaths from unhealthy lifestyles. Research findings and best practice will be shared with the entire NHS for the benefit of patients across the country.

The launch event, to take place at University College London, will be hosted by Sir Robert Naylor, Chief Executive of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and followed by speeches by Richard Caborn, previously Sports Minister at the time of the Olympic Bid, Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust NHS Foundation Trust, and Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University. The launch will be followed by a symposium featuring the current and future work of the centre.

Sir Andrew Cash said: "It is fantastic news that the National Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence is to be launched and that Sheffield is to be one of three network hubs.

"The focus of the Sheffield arm of the three Olympic Legacy centres of excellence is centred on the promotion of physical activity and improvement of the health and productivity of the people of Sheffield.

"The city is well placed to ensure this project is successful. Sheffield has world class sport and medical facilities complemented by leading research and educational programmes in the city’s two universities. In addition Sheffield has a forward-thinking City Council, award winning public health and voluntary sector programmes, all focussed on engaging local communities and reducing health inequalities."

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, said: "I'm delighted with this announcement. Sheffield is already recognised as a centre of excellence in sport, with one in seven members of Team GB training in the city ahead of London 2012. Coming so soon after the City Deal announcement, it shows how we are working with our partners to promote people's potential to lead healthy and fulfilling lives."

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the University of Sheffield is playing such an important role in developing a National Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine. The outstanding research into the role of exercise within health taking place at the University of Sheffield promises real improvements for the health of people right across the city and beyond.”

Sheffield Hallam University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Philip Jones said: “Our Centre for Sport and Exercise Science has one of the largest physical activity and sport-related portfolios of research expertise in the UK, working across commercial and public sectors.

“We have been working extensively with the London Olympic Committee, providing student placements; taking health and exercise projects into schools; offering research on projected Olympic performances and supporting the Cultural Olympiad. So it is appropriate that we will be playing a major role in another important element of the legacy we all hope will emerge from the Games.

“Our expertise runs across two main disciplines, physical activity and wellbeing, and performance enhancement. This means we are at the forefront of promoting health and fitness for all and so our involvement in the national centre will be crucially important. We look forward to working with our partners to deliver health benefits, education and important research."

Steve Brailey, Chief Executive of Sheffield International Venues, which operates 19 sport, leisure and entertainment venues in Sheffield and North Derbyshire, said: “This is a hugely important project for the people of Sheffield. I don’t think it could happen in any other city in the country. It builds on the unique strengths Sheffield has in all aspects of sport and exercise and we are genuinely excited at the prospect of working with our health care, local government, academic and business partners to create a truly meaningful legacy from London 2012.”

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce said: “The focus of the Sheffield hub is to develop and demonstrate programmes which will increase physical activity levels and reduce the chronic burden of disease caused by a sedentary lifestyle on business, the NHS and the city as a whole. I know business will want to work with this hugely important project which aims to deliver improvements in the health and wellbeing of our workforce. Sheffield is truly the city of sport and we are now turning it into the city of applied sport to promote health and fitness in the population, which will, in turn, grow our economy and support jobs. This is a great day for Sheffield.”

Richard Caborn, former Sports Minister and current advisor to the centre, said: “I am pleased to see the National Centre fulfil an important bid Olympic bid commitment that will put the London Games at the forefront of other Olympic Games as leaving a tangible and significant health legacy for its host nation.”


Filming and interview opportunities can be arranged with Sheffield Centre representatives either in London at the media launch, 2pm, Tuesday 10th July or alternatively in Sheffield on Wednesday 11th July.
On Wednesday there is the opportunity to film an Airways class which is part of a scheme which provides 12 and 6-week tailored exercise programmes for people with a range of health problems including respiratory conditions such as COPD. The classes are a partnership between health professionals and Sheffield International venues.

Or filming is available at a Well being workplace health check session run by Sheffield Hallam University.

Please contact: Philip Wainwright on 0114 2268989 or email Philip.wainwright@sth.nhs.uk for details or to arrange filming/photo/interview opportunities.

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