Two years on as a Tier One partner of the AWRC

January 15, 2018
By David Capper, Commercial Director, Westfield Health
Two years on as a Tier One partner of the AWRC
Two years have flown by since we announced Westfield Health as a Tier One partner of Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) based at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
Set to become the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, the primary aim of the AWRC is to create innovations that will 'improve the health of the nation'.
Working with a team of 50 researchers, we are transferring learning and knowledge from elite sport down to the wider population through innovative technology and interventions in the workplace and at home. This is no different to the concept of how car manufacturers transfer elite learning from Formula 1 into our local car dealerships.
Over the past two years, a number of exciting developments have taken place. While the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park site has really begun to take shape, planning permission has been granted and BAM Construction has been appointed to start building the AWRC – which will form the centrepiece of the site. 
The team here at Westfield Health have had a busy time too. A significant milestone came when we moved into our new HQ in the summer of 2016 – a home which enables us to take forward our new business strategy with partner organisations like the AWRC while at the same time supporting our employees more than ever before.
As well as working with the AWRC, we’ve been developing strategic partnerships with other leading organisations to ensure our approach to health and wellbeing is driven by insight, evaluation and fact.
As an example, we joined forces with sleep expert; James Wilson, at the end of 2016 to help staff understand their environment and behaviours in order to improve sleep and boost wellbeing. We’re excited to be working with James to develop a Sleep Well Work Well programme which is currently being evaluated by the AWRC within an elite sports environment.
This type of partnership ensures we’re helping our staff in new ways - living and breathing our health and wellbeing strategy - while also strengthening everything we do as a business and becoming experts in new fields.
Our partnership with the AWRC means our offering will always be grounded in insight and evidence. We can try new things and while not everything will work, if an idea fails we’ll learn from it. This type of learning only enhances our core belief - that we’re creating relevant interventions that make a difference to people’s lives.
We’ve recently accelerated developments even further, profiling the AWRC to American audiences alongside representatives from the University and the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NSCEM). We visited Frisco in Texas, to showcase how Sheffield is leading the way in health, wellbeing and sports innovation, and following our trip, representatives from the Frisco Economic Development Corporation visited Sheffield in 2017 to see how we’re putting our vision into action.
Preventative medicine, sport in relation to health and wellbeing, and medical technology are all areas of growth for the Sheffield City Region, and there are many synergies between what we’re doing here and what is being developed in Frisco. It was a very productive couple of days and we’re excited about future opportunities between our communities and companies. Watch this space…
So much has been put in place over the last few years and we have come so far in a relatively short space of time. As we look ahead, over 2018 we will see developments continue to grow and major initiatives come to fruition.
We look forward to continuing our work with the team at the AWRC, playing our part to ensure people have the tools and opportunities to be happy and healthy, and making sure everything we do has a positive impact on people’s quality of life.