Graves to be home of Sheffield 2012 legacy centre

20th December 2012

The Sheffield headquarters of the prestigious National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine will be based at Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre.

Sheffield has been chosen alongside high profile projects in London and the East Midlands to drive forward the physical activity and health legacy following the London 2012 Games. The Government has allocated £10m to develop the Sheffield project as part of its £30m investment in the National Centre. The focus of the Sheffield Centre is the promotion of physical activity and improving the health and productivity of the city's population. It brings together the city's two universities- Sheffield Hallam University and University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield International Venues, NHS Sheffield, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, English Institute of Sport and voluntary sector. The plan for Graves, at Norton, includes proposals for a replacement swimming pool, additional tennis courts, gymnastics and outdoor football, an extended fitness facility and associated health, rehabilitation and research services. Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: -This builds on Sheffield's reputation for world-class sport, medical and academic facilities and programmes. -Sheffield also has award-winning public health and voluntary sector programmes aimed at engaging 'at risk' communities and reducing health in-equalities. We want to use this expertise to create a cultural change which encourages people to view an 'exercise prescription' as a fundamental part of their health prevention and treatment. -The Centre at Graves, along with three others across the City, will be the hubs where we can begin to develop this approach and provide the necessary facilities and support for local people to be able to take control and make a real difference to their own health and well being. -This is a 20-year legacy programme which will be evidence-based and the learning from Sheffield will be used by other cities across the UK to improve their own population's health."   The National Centre has committed £5m to the Graves scheme and partners are now seeking match funding to complete the £10m-plus funding package. If all funding is secured, work will begin on site in late 2013. The Graves HQ will be supported by three other smaller hubs in the north, west and east of the city and work is underway to finalise the locations and content of these. Steve Brailey, Chief Executive of Sheffield International Venues, which operates Graves and 20 sport, leisure and entertainment venues in Sheffield, North Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, said: -We are delighted that Sheffield is one of the three hubs of the national centre. It is a great opportunity for us to really help improve the health of the people of Sheffield and the Centre will integrate into the sports facilities at Graves to deliver a unique service. -We all know about rising levels of obesity and physical inactivity and Sheffield will be at the leading edge of the national effort to tackle these hugely important issues. Cllr Isobel Bowler, Sheffield City Council's Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: "It is fantastic news that Graves has been chosen as the headquarters for the centre. This is a key part of the city's 2012 Legacy and will result in improved community facilities for the whole city, including of course those people living in nearby areas. -Whilst the city is facing severe cuts, this is an example of the City Council and its partners delivering new investment into health, wellbeing and sport so that we can maintain our goal of a more physically active and healthy city. The National Centre brings together health, academic and research partners in the three locations to tackle major healthcare issues affecting the population. These include chronic long-term conditions such as obesity and musculoskeletal disorders that together are costing the nation more than £20billion each year in healthcare costs and lost days at work. Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: -This project really underlines the benefits around city investments over the last 20 years in major sporting events, facilities and other activities that have clearly identified Sheffield as the city of sport. Winning this project will help us identify the facilities and activities we need for the next 20 years.

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