Olympic plan’s £6m shortfall

Pictured is the Graves Tennis centre, Norton, Sheffield

Pictured is the Graves Tennis centre, Norton, Sheffield

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Plans for a sports medicine centre in Sheffield may be scaled back – because of a cash shortfall of about £6 million.

Sheffield has been awarded £10m in Government funding to develop part of the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

However, the plans – including a £14m ‘hub’ at Graves Tennis & Leisure Centre, Norton, and three smaller sites – may face a rethink, because of a funding shortfall.

Options being considered include dropping one of the sites, reducing the overall scale of the plans or finding sources to borrow money from.

The funding shortfall was revealed in a report to the governing body of the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, written by clinical lead Dr Ollie Hart.

The group is one of several organisations working on the project, including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Council, Sheffield International Venues and both city universities.

Two years ago, Sheffield was confirmed as one of three locations, alongside Loughborough and London, that will host the national sports medicine centre.

The scheme intends to use the legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics to create a ‘culture of physical activity’ in Sheffield.

The Department of Health has allocated £30m to create and develop buildings for the centre, with £10m given to Sheffield to produce a network of venues.

Campaigns and exercise awareness drives will also be launched, such as a recent push called Move More, Do Something.

Dr Hart said: “Work is ongoing to finalise the content and design of the capital development.

“The NCSEM capital money – £10m – is part of a larger £23m project to develop four new physical activity centres, with a hub at Graves costing £14m and three spoke sites.

“There is currently a funding gap of circa £6m. Options being considered to bridge this gap are dropping to three sites, or reducing the scale of the plans, and considering borrowing options.”

Under the original plans, the Graves headquarters was to be supported by three smaller hubs in the north, west and east of Sheffield.

The national centre is intended to tackle major healthcare issues affecting the population, such as obesity and musculoskeletal disorders.

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