Sheffield will take centre stage in the delivery of an exciting Olympic legacy project for health and sport that will bring long term benefits for the nation.
That was the message today (Wednesday 1 October) delivered at a briefing by former Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon Richard Caborn, and Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore.
At the heart will be the creation of an Olympic Legacy Park on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium.
It will feature a new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) which represents a unique opportunity for the practical development of the country’s wellbeing agenda and delivering the 2012 Olympic Legacy on Health.
The AWRC will be based in a multi-million state of-the-art facility, the centrepiece of the new Olympic Legacy Park which will feature exciting new indoor and outdoor facilities allowing the design, research, evaluation and implementation of products linking the medical, physical activity, leisure and sports sectors.
The development will see the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League club move into a new community stadium which will feature a high quality synthetic pitch, a main stand seating 2,500, a 50 bed hotel, catering and hospitality areas and facilities developed in partnership with Sheffield second University Technical College (UTC).
A new sustainable multi-purpose indoor community arena will be the future home of the Sheffield Sharks.
The facility will be built through private investment and crucially deliver an affordable, functional and flexible building for sport, culture and business.
With three ful- size courts and seating up to 3,000 people, the venue will complement the other facilities on the park. increasing community and education access and attracting further events to the city. The Sheffield-based sports and events business, MLS, will move into the new facility.
The Park – a joint venture between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield City Council and the private sector – has attracted nearly £40m of investment from the private sector (for basketball, rugby and a hotel), a second University Technical College and a school. A further £10m is being sought from the Regional Growth Fund.
Both the Park and the AWRC have the backing of the city’s two Universities, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield College, the local authority and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.
The AWRC model will mirror the highly successful Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (straddling the Sheffield-Rotherham border) which has successfully created a £150m Advanced Manufacturing Park where companies such as Boeing and Rolls Royce are located.
The AWRC will take services and products from concept to market, maximising wealth and job creation opportunities from the intellectual property and knowledge and products developed in the centre.
It will be home to around 50 researchers who will have fully instrumented indoor and outdoor laboratories capable of carrying out research on most physical activities. The facility will allow research on all sports but will be of particular benefit to those housed in the nearby English Institute of Sport.
There will be clinical facilities on site, working in conjunction with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM). Facilities will include MRI, X-ray and ultrasound.
The AWRC will be the research hub for the NSCEM with a remit to use physical activity as medicine. Through the NCSEM, the AWRC will use the city of Sheffield as a ‘field lab’ for the testing of new innovations.
Olympic Legacy Park project leader Richard Caborn said: “We are taking the city’s heritage into a modern setting.
“This project has three clear objectives. We will deliver a multi-sports community stadium which can accommodate professional sports and will wash its face financially.
“Through the AWRC, we will bring academia, the medical profession and the full spread of physical activity across the city, from sedentary lifestyles to elite and professional athletes.
“In the words of Lord Coe, Sheffield will undertake world-class research and provide services that will deliver long-term, systematic change to benefit the health of the nation.
“Finally, we will deliver knowledge, intellectual property and practical development of products and services to the wealth-creating sectors of health, wellbeing and sports sectors with the Sheffield City region.”
Mr Caborn added that he will be addressing a conference next week focussing on the AWRC and the private sector. International and local companies such as BBraun, Siemens, Panasonic, Toshiba and Medi Link will be attending along with representatives of the Cabinet Office, the International Olympic Committee and Public Health England.
“We have come a long way in delivering what will be an exciting development using the city’s assets,” said Mr Caborn.
Professor Karen Bryan, AWRC Board member and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean for the faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “As the top modern university in the north of England, Sheffield Hallam puts the science into sport.
“With our world-renowned expertise in health-care and sports science, we are delighted to be working with our partners to continue to realise the vision for the AWRC.”
Andrew Cropley, Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Business Development at The Sheffield College, said: “This project is set to provide an exciting legacy for young people.
“A second university technical college for Sheffield will enable young people to secure high quality careers and give employers the skills they need to grow in areas where there are currently shortages.”
Ian Anniss, Sheffield Eagle’s Director of Community, Development and Education, said: We have worked with some remarkably talented and visionary people on this project and it is an outstanding testament to what can be achieved by genuine partnership working.
“The new stadium will be like no other in this country, in that it will be designed and managed to have multiple uses that reflect the needs of the broader community as well as being a top class facility for performance rugby of both codes.
Richard Wright, Executive Director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerc,e said: “The commercial opportunities around the whole wellness agenda and its associated technology are possibly one of the biggest opportunities Sheffield has seen for years.
“In many ways it is one of the legacies of our investment in sport in the region. The city now has over 100 sport/activity related businesses and by linking that expertise to health we can be one of the best cities in the world for improving the health of a population.
“The Chamber cannot think of a more fitting use for the site of the Don Valley Stadium.”