17 September 2015

A health facility created with Olympic Legacy funding was officially opened by former Sports Minister Richard Caborn today (Thursday 17 September).

New facilities at Concord Sports Centre, as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) bring together clinical services, sport and exercise specialists and health professionals to make it easier for physical activity to become part of the treatment for a range of chronic health conditions.

Building work began in summer 2014 on the first phase of the work, which has cost a total of £800,000. The new facilities sit alongside the existing sports centre at Shiregreen, north Sheffield.

The project has seen an unused changing block transformed into a centre that promotes physical activity as a treatment in the NHS.

That new block houses seven clinical consulting rooms, education and training facilities, and a connection to the existing sports centre, so as to more fluidly connect health with physical activity.

Vital to the scheme is the co-location of sport and exercise medicine specialists, health practitioners, researchers, clinicians and patients in an innovative hub – right in the heart of a community that needs it.

Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Changing the culture to make it easier for everyone to be active every day is a long journey.

“However, what we have developed here at Concord, and what is currently being created at the other NCSEM sites at Graves and Thorncliffe is a significant milestone in that long-term project and shows that we are serious about transforming Sheffield into the most active city in the UK.

“Using exercise as part of a patient’s recovery and rehabilitation as well as using it to prevent ill health has been proven to have significant benefits and Sheffield will be looking to take advantage of this through the new facilities officially opened here today.”

The centre at Concord is a joint project involving organisations including Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield City Trust (SCT).

Sheffield is one of three founding partners, along with Loughborough in the East Midlands and London, of the NCSEM. The city has recognised the need to address the chronic burden of disease caused by a sedentary culture and identified the NCSEM as an excellent vehicle through which to do so.

Today, the new centre was officially opened by Richard Caborn and Eileen Cooper, a patient who has already been referred to Concord Sports Centre by her GP.

Mr Caborn, project lead for the Olympic Legacy Park, which will be a research hub for the NCSEM in Sheffield, said: “This is a fantastic new facility which I’m extremely proud to open.

“Having clinical consulting rooms co-located with fitness facilities means that patients attending clinics based within the NCSEM at Concord can be referred by their specialist and simply ‘go down the corridor’ to meet their exercise instructor and start their programme.

“Combined with the development of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre on the Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield will become a living laboratory, providing opportunities for people to live healthier and more fulfilled lives. This innovative approach to tackling a range of chronic health conditions puts Sheffield at the forefront of sport and exercise medicine.

Two more NCSEM sites are also currently under construction in Sheffield, at the new leisure centres at Graves and Thorncliffe, and are set to open in 2016.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “The development of the NCSEM at Concord, Graves and Thorncliffe represents a significant opportunity to shape the future of public health over the next 20 years and create a healthier, fitter, Sheffield for the future.

“Together, these new state-of-the-art sport and exercise medicine facilities will help to build upon Sheffield’s reputation for being a city of sport and healthy lifestyles, as well as a centre of research excellence in these areas.

“These centres will improve the health and wellbeing of all those who live, work, train and are educated here in Sheffield, and I’m very glad to see this important milestone marked today.”

Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, which operates Concord Sports Centre, said: “Improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Sheffield is our primary charitable aim so we’re extremely proud to have opened the city’s first NCSEM site at Concord. It is another key step towards creating a culture of physical activity in the city.

“By placing clinics within successful community leisure venues like Concord, it reduces barriers to participation, ensures that patients are provided with high quality exercise facilities and makes it easier for exercise to be at the centre of the prescription process.”

For more information visit www.movemoresheffield.com