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Press Release

Community partners launch Leicester Children's Health Partnership
Press release date30/11/2018
Leicester City, Leicester’s Hospitals and University of Leicester commit to long-term partnership to make the next generation of children the region’s healthiest.
Press release

The future of children’s health in Leicestershire is to be safeguarded for generations to come through the collaboration of some of Leicester’s key community stakeholders.

Leicester City Football Club, Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester have committed to working together to form the Leicester Children’s Health Partnership, with a collective vision to support local children in becoming the healthiest generation to ever grow up in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Elements of the partnership were introduced on Wednesday to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, whose visit to Leicester included an opportunity to hear about legacy projects following the death of Leicester City Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Combining individual expertise with a shared passion to improve lives in our community, the Partnership’s stakeholders will work to provide world-class, age-appropriate clinical care; better understand the genetic and lifestyle issues that affect our children; and support the health and happiness of young people as they grow into adulthood.

The first step in this long-term vision can now be confirmed with the appointment of Professor Elaine Boyle as the Leicester City Football Club Professor in Child Health, in partnership with University of Leicester, Leicester’s Hospitals and Leicester City Football Club.

The post and its initial research efforts are funded through a £1M gift by Leicester City Football Club and its late Chairman and is the first Professorship to be funded by a football club. This new role will focus on how to reach into the community and bridge the discovery and outreach activity at the University with the clinical work at Leicester’s Hospitals.

Professor Elaine Boyle, who is also an honorary consultant neonatologist at Leicester’s Hospitals and speciality lead for children’s research at the NIHR Clinical Research Network East Midlands, said: “I am honoured and delighted to take up the post of Leicester City Football Club Professor in Child Health. The generosity of the club and Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha will have direct benefits for babies, children and families in Leicester, and the research we conduct here has the potential to address child health problems globally.”

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Elaine Boyle as the Leicester City Football Club Professor in Child Health. The football club, in partnership with Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester, has made a clear commitment to improve the health of children in our city and county. This unique collaboration provides further evidence of the football club’s commitment to our community.”

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences and Dean Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “In Professor Elaine Boyle, we have an appointee who has a powerful track record of impact on clinical care and high calibre research. Her academic standing is evidenced by large numbers of funding awards and scientific publications, particularly pertaining to the effects of premature delivery on childhood and long-term outcomes.”

Leicester’s Hospitals’ long-term objective of building a specialist children’s hospital in Leicester – a cause to which Khun Vichai donated £2M in 2016 – will be among the Partnership’s long-term goals.

In the shorter-term, studies undertaken under Professor Elaine Boyle’s leadership will inform Partnership-led community outreach projects designed to tackle some alarming regional trends in children’s health.

Independent research suggests that two in five children in Leicester are born into poverty – a plight currently affecting more than 34,000 young people in the city. Infant mortality rates in Leicester are 40 per cent higher than the national average.

Childhood obesity is also on the rise in Leicester, bringing with it greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

Ian Scudamore, Clinical Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Leicester’s Hospitals, said:  “Leicester’s Hospitals is delighted to be part of the newly-formed Leicester Children’s Health Partnership. We already have a strong track record of delivering children’s research here in Leicester. Through the leadership of Professor Boyle we will continue to develop our research portfolio and use the evidence we uncover to further improve the prevention, management and treatment of our youngest patients for years to come.

“This is an important step in the long-term vision for children’s health care in Leicester, which includes the move of East Midlands Congenital Heart Services to the Leicester Royal Infirmary site as the first part of the development of a dedicated children’s hospital.”

The Leicester Children’s Health Partnership will form a key part of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s legacy in the Leicester community. As a founder stakeholder in the Partnership, Leicester City Football Club will be a key driver of public engagement in the Partnership’s on-going projects, utilising the profile of the Club, the influence of its players and the power of football to reach out to young people and their families in the Leicester community to affect tangible change. 

Leicester City Chief Executive Susan Whelan said: “We intend to make the Leicester Children’s Health Partnership part of a lasting legacy left by Khun Vichai to his adopted home town. Leicester meant so much to Khun Vichai personally and we have seen from recent events what Khun Vichai meant to the people of Leicester. This Partnership provides an opportunity to ensure that special relationship continues to improve lives in this city for generations to come.

“Khun Vichai planted the seeds for this with his two biggest single donations to the Leicester community and it is our responsibility as custodians of that legacy to nurture its growth.”


With the Leicester City Football Club Professor in Child Health now in place, the Partnership’s stakeholders will meet in early 2019 to identify immediate areas for intervention, while refining the Partnership’s medium and long-term plans, including future fundraising efforts, which will be supported by the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation and Leicester Hospitals Charity. 


Notes to Editors

About Leicester City Football Club

Leicester City Football Club was formed in 1884 and competes in English football’s highest division – the Premier League. The club has been under King Power’s ownership since 2010 and is based at King Power Stadium in the East Midlands city of Leicester, around 160km north of London. In 2016, the club produced one of the greatest sporting miracles of all time, defying pre-season odds of 5000-1 to win the Premier League title for the first time. In March 2017, during its first ever UEFA Champions League campaign, the club produced the best performance by a British team in the competition that season by reaching the quarter-finals.

Leicester City Football Club contact

Anthony Herlihy | Communications Director | Tel: +44 116 229 4944 | anthony.herlihy@lcfc.co.uk


About University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is one of the biggest and busiest NHS Trusts in the country, serving the one million residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – and increasingly specialist services over a much wider area. Our nationally and internationally-renowned specialist treatment and services in cardio-respiratory diseases, ECMO, cancer and renal disorders reach a further two to three million patients from across the UK.

Spread over the General, Glenfield and Royal Infirmary hospitals, we also have our very own Children’s Hospital and work closely with partners at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University providing world-class teaching to nurture and develop the next generation of over 15,000 highly skilled staff including doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, many of whom go on to spend their working lives with us.

For further information, please visit www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust contact

Rachael Dowling | Research Communications Manager | Tel: +44 116 258 4971 | rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk


About The University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation – an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. It is among the top 25 universities in the Times Higher Education REF Research Power rankings with 75% of research adjudged to be internationally excellent with wide-ranging impacts on society, health, culture, and the environment. The University is home to just over 20,000 students and approximately 3,000 staff. Find out more: https://le.ac.uk/about 


Our Centenary

On 11 November 2018 (Armistice Day), the University of Leicester marked 100 years since the end of the First World War. This date also marks the beginning of the story to create a university in Leicester as a living memorial to honour those who made sacrifices during the Great War. This is reflected in the University's motto Ut vitam habeant – 'so that they may have life'. The University was founded as Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland University College in 1921.

University of Leicester Contact

Rob Harding | Head of Marketing Communications | Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2160 | rh283@le.ac.uk

Contact information:
Contact information
For any media enquiries, please contact:
Rachael Dowling
Research Communications Manager
Tel: +44 116 258 4971
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