Building work is getting under way on a new £10 million sport and exercise medicine centre in Sheffield.
Construction teams have moved in at Concord Sports Centre in Shiregreen, which is one of three venues being developed as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.
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The Concord project – funded with £700,000 from the Government – will see a disused changing block turned into a facility that will offer physical activity as a treatment for a host of ailments on the NHS.
The refurbished area will house seven consulting rooms for outpatient clinics as well as education and training spaces.
It is expected to be completed early next year and will complement two further NCSEM sites at Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre in Norton and at High Green.
The national centre will be spread across three sites in England – Sheffield, Loughborough and London – and is intended to form part of the legacy of the 2012 Olympics.
Sheffield International Venues, which runs Concord Sports Centre, already operates a GP referral scheme which helps 1,500 people every year with heart disease, respiratory conditions and muscle problems.
Dave Birds, who leads the scheme, took part in a sod-cutting ceremony to mark the start of the building work.
Steve Brailey, chief executive of the Sheffield City Trust, said the Shiregreen site was ‘at the heart of the community’ and had close links to local GP surgeries.
And Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Changing the culture to make it easier for everyone to be active every day is a long journey but what we are developing here is a significant milestone.”