It was the brainchild of disabled rugby player Matt Hampson – to deliver a rehabilitation centre in Leicestershire for injured athletes and their families where they can spend time and receive physical therapy.
Now Matt and his team at the Get Busy Living Centre (GBLC), created for the Matt Hampson Foundation, are celebrating after securing a prestigious national award for the way it is benefiting communities.
The Centre, designed for those who have suffered life-changing sporting injuries, won the National Community Benefit Award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) at its grand final in London, following the work of construction company Willmott Dixon. The scheme had already won two RICS East Midlands Awards earlier in the year – Community Benefit and Project of the Year.
The ambitious project saw a former aircraft hangar transformed by Willmott Dixon into a state-of-the-art facility for those who have suffered life-changing injuries through sport.
Nick Preedy, Construction Manager at Willmott Dixon, oversaw the project. He said: “This has been an extraordinary project for us to work on and an outstanding example of collaborative working, across both our supply chain and beyond, to deliver a project that is changing lives. We are so pleased that it has won the most prestigious award of all and we are certain it will continue to be recognised for its importance both locally and nationally.”
During the construction process, Willmott Dixon engaged with local communities to get involved in the scheme and the Centre’s legacy. The contractor invited volunteers from local villages in Leicestershire to help plant 30 of the trees on the site, making them feel part of a great facility. Willmott Dixon’s team also raised £40k by inviting local people to purchase paving slabs surrounding the centre and engrave them personally; this created extra funding for the Foundation and spurred on further support locally.
Matt Hampson was there to pick up the award with the GBLC team. He said: “The Get Busy Living Centre is a dream come true for me and we are all extremely proud to see it recognised through this national award. It provides the much-needed rehabilitation facilities and social spaces for our beneficiaries and their families, and we are thrilled to see it completed and in action.
“We could not have reached this stage without the hard work and generosity of our project partners and we’d like to extend a huge thank you to those who have contributed to the build, whether it is materials and supplies or simply their time and expertise. The support we have received from these businesses has been absolutely invaluable and has allowed us to make our dream a reality – we simply wouldn’t be here without them.”
The GBLC opened to the Foundation’s beneficiaries in summer 2018 with the aim of giving local, national and worldwide beneficiaries the chance of life-changing rehabilitation. Sports professionals, the local community, physiotherapists, clinicians and trainers can also use the facility, as well as it becoming the home to the Foundation’s headquarters.
The project has been delivered by a number of local partners, many of which offered their time, services, materials and expertise for free, including:
- Main contractor: Willmott Dixon
- Professional services firm: MDA Consulting
- Architects: Corporate Architecture
- Interior designers: CPMG
- Engineering consultants: Couch Perry Wilkes, Salus, Derry Building Services and BSP Consulting
- PR and marketing agency: Cartwright Communications
- Earthmoving, ground engineering and restoration contractor: Barton Plant, Barton Civils and supplier Peter Bennie, all part of The Bennie Group and Plaza Groundworks
- Building materials suppliers: GRS Roadstone, Aggregate Industries, Breedon Group, William Hercock Building Supplies, MJ Robinson, Sage Roofing, Sage Envelope Contractor, Sinit, Bonham & Berry, McGovern Crane Hire, Studwelders, Charnwood Fencing, Morris Vermaport Lifts, Diamond Flooring UK, Metsec, Kingspan Insulation, Interfuse, Elmsmere, Forbo and Gerflor, Midland Floor Screeds.
- Demolitions specialist: AR Demolition
- Construction services provider: WysePower, Advante, Michael Smith Switchgear and Portacabin.
- Retailer: Furniture Village.
Matthew “Hambo” Hampson was involved in an accident during an England Rugby practice match in 2005 and has been tetraplegic since then. He continues to actively fundraise for the Foundation and is the figurehead of the Matt Hampson Foundation.