Fresh funding for Sheffield’s sporting future

The board in charge of Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park is bringing in new funding as the city’s world class facilities continue to develop.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 3:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th May 2019, 10:28 am
Sheffield's new Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium

The Olympic Legacy Park is on the site of former Don Valley Stadium and counts major developments such as the Oasis Academy Don Valley, the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and the Community Stadium among its success stories.

Earlier this month, Sheffield Council gave funding of £40,000 to the Legacy Park Limited board, which runs the OLP.

The council and Sheffield Hallam University were the two major funders of LPL up to the end of 2018.

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It is understood Sheffield Hallam University recently resigned from the board in consideration of the pressures on the university and its institutional priorities.

There was a shortfall of £40,000 so the council agreed to an advanced payment, similar to a bridging loan.

The board is now in the process of bringing in new funding from other sources.

Former MP Richard Caborn, chairman of the LPL board, says the vision is to have facilities for everyone involved in sport, from athletes to academics.

“There is a critical mass evolving which is very attractive to the private sector,” he said.

“We are looking at a hotel specifically for athletes. They don’t use hotels in the same way as normal people so this hotel would have nutritious meals based on their training and operating hours based around their schedules.

“There are also proposals to create an athletes training centre. The English Institute of Sport is probably the best in the world for certain sports yet we have no real facilities for the athletes away from a pitch or a track.

“We also have the Sports Business Incubator as people who have micro businesses see the OLP as a really good testing ground for their products. These are all sports, health and wellbeing related businesses, such as creating mobile apps.”

Mr Caborn says it’s crucial to maintain links with the local community too.

“If you link all this with young students being educated on sports, life sciences and new technologies you have a workforce for the future.

“We have taken stock and want to broaden and develop in a number of different ways to develop the economic regeneration of the area.

“We don’t want to forget the community we are working in and we are doing a lot of things around the canals.

“Yorkshire County Cricket Club has a strip where children can play and we have an urban triathlon planned. Accelerate UK, a running store, holds weekly events and there are walks with heritage and history societies.

“If regeneration passes by the local community then we have failed. The schools, University Technical College and English Institute of Sport are an important part of a thriving entity.

“Over the next five years we will see these continue to grow, along with new housing, which will make it even more of a community.”