£10m health scheme secures Sheffield Olympic legacy

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A MULTI-MILLION scheme will be launched today to get people in Sheffield fit and healthy and to tackle long-term health issues.

The city is to get £10 million to set up a branch of the new National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

The centre, which will also have bases in London and at sites in the East Midlands, will bring together universities, hospitals, sports organisations and council leaders to make sure ‘the legacy of the Olympics’ makes a difference to everyday lives.

The project will be launched at a grand event in London today, just 17 days before the start of the Olympic Games.

Sheffield’s role in the project will be to focus on public health - tackling chronic illnesses such as obesity and musculoskeletal disorders, and getting people in the workplace exercising.

The city will build a new centre of excellence and facilities to bring together research, education and NHS services.

Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “The city is well placed to ensure this project is successful.

“Sheffield has world-class sport and medical facilities, complemented by leading research and educational programmes in the city’s two universities.”

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield Council, added: “I’m delighted with this announcement.

“Sheffield is already recognised as a centre of excellence in sport, with one in seven members of Team GB training in the city ahead of London 2012.

“Coming so soon after the City Deal announcement, it shows how we are working with our partners to promote people’s potential to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”

Former Sports Minister and Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn is acting as an advisor to the centre.

He said: “I am pleased to see the national centre fulfil an important Olympic bid commitment that make sure the London Games leaves a tangible and significant health legacy for its host nation.”

The vice chancellors of The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University welcomed the announcement and said their research into the role of exercise could be used to improve residents’ health.