Nottingham Trent University has announced plans to create a Sport and Wellbeing Academy which will involve offering exercise and nutritional support and advice for patients via NHS referral.
It is hoped that the academy, which will provide a free bespoke consultancy service, will play a key role in helping to reduce local health inequalities around physical activity and healthy eating.
Patients will be referred directly to the academy at the Clifton Campus by the Clifton and Meadows NHS Primary Care Network Social Prescribing Service.
The academy will involve the creation of five new roles, utilise existing university expertise and provide sport science students with work experience opportunities around sport performance, clinical exercise physiology and physical activity.
As well as helping to enhance the health and wellbeing of the general public, the academy will provide support to improve the performance of NTU sports teams and offer a pathway to sports coaching in primary and secondary schools in the Nottingham area.
It will help to facilitate local provision of ‘The Daily Mile’, a school-based physical activity initiative, and involve coaching multi-sports and specialist sports in schools.
The academy will benefit from custom-built facilities, providing a studio equipped with new bespoke exercise and assessment equipment, and consultation rooms for private client one-to-one discussions.
Patients will receive a health and fitness assessment and supervised exercise prescription in an accessible and friendly environment run by qualified practitioners.
The aim is to reduce health inequalities by removing traditional barriers to exercise and healthy eating specifically relating to cost, accessibility and fear of a public gym environment.
NTU sports teams which compete in British Universities and Colleges Sport will benefit from support in areas such as strength and conditioning, performance and biomechanical analysis.
It is hoped the academy will equip students for highly-skilled roles in careers such as clinical exercise physiology, youth coaching and sports performance, as well as help them to develop the entrepreneurial skills required to launch their own consultancy services.
This will be achieved by providing students with essential experience, under qualified supervision, during their studies.
Professor Edward Peck, President and Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “This is one more example of the positive impact on local people of the presence of Nottingham Trent University in the city. It expands further an approach that already utilises staff and student expertise to provide, amongst other contributions, free legal advice, Notts TV, and extensive support to pupils in local schools.”
Professor Angus Hunter, Head of Sports Science in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology, said: “This important initiative will provide a free referral service and tackle local inequalities to support people’s health and wellbeing. Newly-appointed practitioners, university researchers and students will combine to make this a safe, welcoming and dedicated space.
“Sport and exercise science at NTU has rapidly evolved over recent years and this is an opportunity to bring together our world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art equipment to create a real impact in the community.”
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Chief Executive, Amanda Sullivan, said: “It is brilliant news that this kind of facility is being developed in the area to help remove barriers to exercise and healthy eating for the local community. Social prescribing is an excellent way of encouraging people to improve their health and wellbeing, so it is pleasing to see that this facility will enhance that offer to patients.
“We are always keen to support any work to reduce health inequalities across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, so it is great to hear that the academy will help support our citizens and improve access to this kind of care in the area.”
Dr Heetan Patel, Clinical Director, Clifton and the Meadows Primary Care Network, said: “NHS Primary Care Networks for Clifton and Meadows are delighted to be part of this project which will enable us to enhance our existing Social Prescribing Service through the referral of individuals to the Sport and Wellbeing Academy. This service will provide a free qualified clinical health and fitness assessment and prescription to a section of the community who do not have resource or are reluctant to attend a public gym.”