Jobs on the cards as health and innovation initiative scores £2.5m grant

Representatives of Loughborough University and Loughborough Town Deal

165 on-site jobs will be supported and a further 41 created in the wider economy when a much-anticipated extension to Loughborough’s pioneering SporkPark is completed, it has been revealed.

The news comes after Loughborough Town Deal awarded a £2.5m grant to Loughborough University’s Healthy and Innovative Loughborough project to help build on the town’s reputation as a centre of sporting excellence and improve people’s health.

The project – one of eleven initiatives to receive a slice of the £16.9m in funding the town has received from Government – is expected to support the expansion of the SportPark, which is already home to the UK’s highest concentration of sports governing bodies and national sports organisations.

It will also introduce a programme of interventions to help local people improve their health and create an Impact Hub to assess and analyse the health of the town.

Sixty new businesses will be supported through a New Business Wayfinder programme which will see companies gain access to an Innovation Lab in Loughborough town centre and a Prototype Lab on the university campus.

The Loughborough Town Deal Board is co-chaired by Cllr Jonathan Morgan, leader of Charnwood Borough Council, and Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, founder of Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

Cllr Morgan said: “We are delighted to confirm this latest funding award for a project that will build on Loughborough’s global reputation for sporting excellence.

“The Healthy and Innovative Loughborough project has many benefits. Not only will it encourage more sporting organisations to set up home in the town but it will also new support businesses and improve people’s health.

“The Town Deal is delivering real improvements and significant investment into Loughborough which will benefit future generations.”

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE said: “The Town Deal investment means we can help SportPark expand, bring more sporting organisations to the town and continue to grow Loughborough’s reputation for sport.

“As a local businessman, I am also pleased that this project will support entrepreneurs and the growth of new businesses. I know first-hand how difficult it can be to start a new business so I am pleased this project can offer them support as they are crucial to our local economy and to the creation of new jobs.”

Work on the new 21,500 sq ft SportPark Pavilion 4 reached its highest point in July.

Professor Chris Rielly, lead for the University’s Town Deal project, said: “The University recognises the important local economic anchor role it plays and we are delighted that, through the Town Deal investment, we can work in civic partnership with stakeholders to make Loughborough a healthy place to live and work, and enable new businesses to prosper.”

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