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26 February 2010 | PR 10/31

Sports Minister heralds 'fantastic' SportPark at Loughborough University

Sports Minister visits SportPark

Left - Right: Ann Rippon, strategic lead for Sport England in the East Midlands; Jeff Moore, CEO of EMDA; Ben Bradshaw MP; Neil Halliwell, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University; Geoff Parker, CEO Charnwood Borough Council; Tim Garfield, Deputy Director of Sport (Operations) at Loughborough University.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Ben Bradshaw MP has praised the visionary thinking behind Loughborough University's SportPark project.

Mr Bradshaw visited the £15million facility yesterday (25th Feb) on the edge of the University Campus which is now home to a host of national sport bodies, allowing a diverse range of organisations to share best practice and innovations across their different disciplines.

The Minister was taken on a tour of the building by the University's Deputy Vice Chancellor Neil Halliwell and Deputy Director of Sport Tim Garfield, where he met staff from the organisations already based at SportPark, including Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball, Volleyball England, the Youth Sport Trust, British Swimming/ASA and Leicestershire & Rutland County Sports Partnership.

Mr Bradshaw said: "This is about putting not just Loughborough University at the centre of international sport but also at the centre of sport in the UK by bringing together a number of sports governing bodies in one place. It's a fantastic idea and it will hopefully help to make us world beaters."

The visit also included the chance to meet some of SportPark's funding partners including Sport England, the East Midlands Development Agency, Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council.

Mr Bradshaw added: "Loughborough has, for a long time, been our leading sports educational institution, producing some of our top sportspeople internationally, but by bringing together some of the country's national sporting bodies in a space where they can exchange information, experiences and work together, it means that the UK's sporting structure is much better integrated and less dispersed.

"I think that will not only help us produce even more sports stars of the future but it will also help us ensure that we continue to work on the improvements we've seen in school sport and sports clubs at local community level.

Tim Garfield said: "The Secretary of State was delighted with what we are trying to achieve through using SportPark as a central hub for some of the country's leading sports organisations. To see his reaction to what we have created here confirms that, with the help of our funding partners, Loughborough University has added another aspect to the work we do in staying at the forefront of sporting excellence in the UK."

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Danny Coyle
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: D.Coyle@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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