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South Yorkshire Mayor visits Sheffield Children’s

Four people are standing in a hospital corridor in front of a door which says 'Welcome to Research and Innovation'.
10 November 2023

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust recently welcomed Oliver Coppard – the Mayor of South Yorkshire – on a visit to learn more about the National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT), and the health inequalities faced by children and families across the region.

In February the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) announced the final £6 million funding for the NCCHT which will be built on the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

The NCCHT will support world leading research and innovation and create new technologies to solve some of the biggest challenges in children’s healthcare.

Alongside the SYMCA, the £22 million capital for the centre is being provided by the UK Government Levelling up fund, and The Children’s Hospital Charity.

Paul Dimitri, Director of Innovation and Child Health Technology at Sheffield Children’s, and one of the people leading on the NCCHT, said: “Children are 25% of the population and 100% of the future. They will be the parents and workforce of the future and the people who drive change; for them to have the best chance at doing that, we must improve children’s health and healthcare now.

“The National Centre for Child Health Technology will bring people together to work in a way that’s never been seen before, all under one roof here in South Yorkshire. We are combining world class equipment and facilities with a unique ecosystem of research and innovation organisations, all with the aim of creating innovative solutions with and for our patients and families.

“It’s been great to talk more with the Mayor about what this will mean for our region – and beyond – and we’re excited about the ways the centre is going to change young people’s experience of healthcare.”

The visit also involved meeting with Sheffield Children’s colleagues from the Service Improvement Team who are leading work around health inequalities. One of the ways Sheffield Children’s is addressing health inequalities is through a collaboration with local organisation Food Works. Food Works upcycle quality surplus and locally grown ingredients and turn it into food and drink which can be enjoyed fresh in their café locations and through their frozen meals.

Sarah Baker, Improvement Project Manager, said: “We want the families of patients staying with us to have better access to a range of affordable meals and for this to be as sustainable as possible. We first started piloting Food Works meals in May and since then we have provided over 400 meals.

“All our acute wards have freezers full of frozen Food Works meals to suit a range of dietary requirements and they are available in parent kitchens and rooms to reheat on a pay-what-you-can basis. This has allowed families to stay close to their children in hospital whilst not having to sacrifice a quality, affordable meal.”

No Sheffield Children’s visit is complete without a hello from one of the volunteer therapy dogs, which the Mayor enjoyed before meeting members of the Play team. The Play team also introduced the Mayor to some of the unique ways technology is helping to provide therapeutic play for children and young people on wards.

Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire’s Mayor, said: “The work that Sheffield Children’s is doing to help our communities’ youngest and most vulnerable is genuinely inspiring. They don’t just provide an excellent standard of care and deliver innovative programmes like Food Works, they are engaged in world-leading research that is changing kids’ lives across the globe. I know they will continue to play a huge role in making South Yorkshire the healthiest region in the UK so every child has the opportunity to unlock their full potential.”

For more information about the NCCHT and Food Works please visit and

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