11 April 2011,

Sandwell LIFTCo - 15m Leisure, Health and Social Care Centre gets the Green Light

A £15m leisure, health and social care centre will be built in Sandwell, it was confirmed this week.

Work is due to start within months on the Portway Lifestyle Centre, on the site of the existing Oldbury Leisure Centre.

One of the first places of its kind in the country, Portway will be a centre of excellence for both disabled and able-bodied people.

Sandwell Council was given the good news by Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services), Health.

It comes after a Government review of all health and social care building projects using Department of Health money.

Sandwell Council's executive cabinet member Cllr Mahboob Hussain said: "This is great news for the borough.

"The lifestyle centre will be a major asset to local people and to those from the wider area.

"It combines facilities for disabled and able bodied people and shows Sandwell can lead the country when it comes to imaginative schemes."

Facilities at the lifestyle centre, due to open in early 2013, include a four court sports hall, hydrotherapy pool, café, sensory garden, climbing wall, dance studio and fitness suite, full-size artificial grass pitch for senior, junior and 5-a-side football and GP surgery.

The council is working with Sandwell Primary Care Trust (PCT), Sandwell Local Improvement Trust (LIFTCo) and Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT), which will run the centre.

Lois Taylor, Chair of Sandwell Leisure Trust, said: "The Trust is delighted to be a key partner in what promises to be fantastic facility for the people of Sandwell.

"Portway Lifestyle Centre will help to deliver a first class facility for health, well-being and physical activity in the borough."

Jon Dicken, Sandwell PCT Acting Director of Commissioning, said: "This is very good news for the people of Sandwell and further enables the continuation of effective joint working between health, social care and wider local authority services."

Mike Nicklin, Regional General Manager, Sandwell LIFTCO, said: "It is fantastic news that that such a unique facility will be able to reach out and have such a positive effect on the community.

"We are proud to have worked with Sandwell Council and Sandwell PCT to bring together so many services under one roof for the benefit of so many."

For further information please contact Sandwell LIFTCo