Telegraph Column with Dr Ollie Hart: Shared vision is becoming a reality

Artists impressions of the new community stadium and Olympic Legacy Park, to be built on the former Don Valley Stadium site

Artists impressions of the new community stadium and Olympic Legacy Park, to be built on the former Don Valley Stadium site

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Last month I wrote about how being active, and everyday movement is so important for our health, and hinted at some exciting plans in place for the city, to help us all ‘move more’. I’m delighted to have this platform to share a vision.

On the back of London 2012 Sheffield was awarded the status of ‘National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine’. This has catalysed all the key large organizations in the city to work together, with a diverse group of local interested parties, to produce a physical activity strategy.

Professor of physical activity at Sheffield Hallam University, Dr Rob Copeland, developed this into the Move More Plan. It describes how we can change the culture of the city to support active living.

So what is already happening? There are three new Move More centres - Concord is already open with two more being built at Graves and Thorncliffe.

These centres will see healthcare delivered from leisure centres. People will literally step from the clinic to the pool, gym or outdoor activities. The centres will allow much that is delivered in hospital outpatients to be ‘relocated’ in places where physical activity is easy and fun to do.

The message is loud and simple - ‘activity is a core part of healthcare’. The council and the NHS are leading this in partnership, and it is already working at Concord. I am looking forward to my patients seeing diabetes, heart or joint specialists in these ground-breaking centres where the message of proactive and preventative care trumps the ‘illness model’.

Many of us were sad to see Don Valley stadium dismantled, but out of the ashes rises a phoenix. Under the ever-enthusiastic drive of Richard Caborn (sports minister when London won the 2012 games), and sports engineering professor Steve Haake, there are ambitious plans for an Olympic Legacy Centre.

This multi-centre site will feature a school, a college, a cutting-edge research centre and professional sports facilities. This will be a cauldron of innovation for the role activity can play in education, commerce, and both elite and everyday performance. Already large companies like Westfield Health and Toshiba are getting behind this vision.

Simultaneously there is another great project building around promoting Sheffield as ‘the outdoor city’, with new running, walking and cycling routes being developed.

When you consider the shared vision and enthusiasm that so many of the cities key organisations and communities are pouring into this, I can only see great opportunities for Sheffield.