Work starts on building new £250m 'health and wellbeing academy' in Yorkshire

Work on the first of the £250m National Health Innovation Campus’ (NHIC) buildings is well underway and is set to be completed next year.

On the site of the former Huddersfield Sports Centre at Southgate, the new Daphne Steele building will house the University of Huddersfield’s Health and Wellbeing Academy. Named after the first black matron in the UK, the academy will see specialist clinical teaching facilities and publicly-accessible clinics brought to the town.

The building will make up part of the wider NHIC which will eventually comprise six buildings and a 240-space multi-storey car park. Through its new campus, the University hopes to tackle health inequalities in the North.

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The NHIC will work with partners across the region to address some of the health and wellbeing issues facing Yorkshire and the Humber, including high levels of obesity, the third-lowest life expectancy for men and women, and the second-highest rate of deaths in infancy.

The new health and wellbeing academy is due to be complete by next yearThe new health and wellbeing academy is due to be complete by next year
The new health and wellbeing academy is due to be complete by next year

A groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of building works last Wednesday (March, 29). Guests at the ceremony included Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Health Education England’s Chief Nurse Mark Radford, Coun Graham Turner of Kirklees Council, John Phillips of construction partners BAM and Andrew France from architects AHR.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan CBE said: “We are excited to break new ground on a project that promises to make a hugely significant and long-lasting contribution to the health and wellbeing of people in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

“We are honoured that such an important facility is to be named after Daphne Steele, and we thank the Steele family for graciously allowing us to be associated with her.”

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Tracy Brabin said: “It was really exciting to be here to see the ambition for the National Health Innovation Campus. It’s also delightful to see that Daphne Steele is being commemorated, which also shows the project’s ambition for equality and inclusivity.

“We want to make sure that everybody in West Yorkshire has access to the great jobs the NHIC will generate, and it will help to close the health inequality gap in our region by having a well-trained workforce.”

John Phillips, regional director at BAM, said: “Our longstanding partnership with the university has seen us deliver so much of its developing estate. It means a great deal to us to be able to work with the university again, and it is the strength of that collaborative partnership that solves problems and makes for high standards in quality and sustainability.

“Our track record here in Huddersfield means we care about its people and its communities, so providing opportunities for them and local businesses is important to us. We have already teamed up with HD1 Fitness, across from the site, to provide health and wellness support to our local workforce, and we’re donating new showers and changing rooms for their gym.”

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