Plans revealed for over £200m of investment on Olympic legacy site

Major new health care, regeneration and sporting projects totalling more than £200m have been unveiled at the world’s only Olympic legacy park outside a host city.

The flagship developments – including a National Centre for Child Health Technology and ground-breaking diagnostic imaging research hub – are set to place Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park at the heart of the nation’s future health.

A forward investment Master Plan which could generate over 5,600 high value jobs will also ensure the Park will play a major role in the post-pandemic and post-Brexit economy of Sheffield and the Sheffield City Region and positively impact on the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

The plans were unveiled at a virtual conference attended by over 150 national and regional figures across health and wellbeing, politics, property and investment, business and sport.

The planned National Centre for Child Health Technology (CCHT) will be the first of its kind in the world, and will position the UK as a global leader in paediatrics and child health.

It aims to develop technology to address key national strategic priorities in child health including childhood obesity, child and adolescent mental health, long term conditions and prevention.

Prof. Paul Dimitri, Professor of Child Health and Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Investing in the health and healthcare of children and young people makes sense – our future in fact depends on it.

“The CCHT will create over 100 high value jobs, and its co-location with the Oasis School and University Technical College will provide research and employment opportunities in the future.

“Overall, we predict that the CCHT alone will generate £30m in research funding, attract £50m in private sector investment and will deliver over £200m in savings to the NHS in the next 10 years.”

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park was set up after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to deliver whole population improvements in health and wellbeing.

Bringing together expertise from academia, elite sport, the NHS, and public and private sector organisations, the Park is creating a cluster of life sciences assets including research centres, business incubators, educational facilities and laboratories for collaborative research and innovation in health and wellbeing.

A year ago, Sheffield Hallam University’s £14m Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) opened at the heart of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

The showcase centre features world-class facilities for multi-disciplinary researchers to carry out research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector, charities and the community, with a focus on taking services and products from concept to market.

Despite Covid, the AWRC has welcomed a full-house of 24 start-up business from across the world to its £900,000 Wellbeing Accelerator programme and today announced expansion of its long-COVID recovery project and plans for new research into the role of exercise in cancer care.

Prof Rob Copeland, AWRC Director, said: “Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is perhaps the best physical representation of the ideals of a health legacy from the Olympic Games anywhere in the world. The Park brings together community, physical activity, research, education, sport, technology and innovation to transform health and wellbeing.

“The importance of the nation’s health and wellbeing and its links to economic prosperity has never been more obvious. With the assets and partners located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, we are well positioned to lead the research and innovation agenda to improve the health and wellbeing of our nation.”

A new Community Arena will complete the first £100m development phase of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

This will be home to a new, world-class diagnostic imaging lab and research centre for Canon Medical Systems Europe. The centre will deliver a state-of-the-art research hub for product development including AI (Artificial Intelligence) that promises to transform the speed and accuracy of diagnostics for the NHS.

The new Community Arena will also provide community basketball facilities and become the new home of Sheffield Sharks Basketball Team.

Also included in this development phase is a 3,900-capacity Legacy Community Stadium which developer, Scarborough Group International (SGI) is due to deliver by February 2022. It will become the new home of Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club and provide 23,000 sq. ft. of business and conference space.

SGI has now also produced a Master Plan for the next five years which will see a further 850,000 sq. ft. of real estate development at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, which should attract investment of around £250 million.

The Master Plan is expected to create over 5,600 high value jobs and generate over £2bn in GVA benefits.

Former Sports Minister and Project Lead for the Park, Richard Caborn, hosted the conference and said: “Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park continues to deliver a comprehensive approach to providing the solutions to the major healthcare and economic challenges of our times.

“It is a catalyst for investment and regeneration and attracting the very best translational research and development technologies and skills to the Sheffield City Region which will have a huge impact nationally and internationally.”