Public leisure facilities in Sheffield will start to welcome customers back through their doors as Sheffield City Council has approved a support package to enable the safe reopening of venues across the city.
Popular centres including Concord, Hillsborough, EISS, Graves and Thorncliffe will be reopened by the 1 September.
Due to coronavirus restrictions all public leisure facilities have been closed since March. After the Government relaxed some restrictions allowing gyms and fitness centres to reopen, Sheffield City Council has been working with its leisure partners to develop a safe, financially viable and accessible to all reopening plan.
Some centres, including swimming pools, will re-open with a phased approach, with limited activities available initially.
By 1 September activities will be available at
- Hillsborough Leisure Centre
- Concord Sports Centre
- Springs Leisure Centre
- EISS (English Institute of Sport Sheffield)
- Graves Health and Leisure Centre
- Thorncliffe Leisure Centre
- Wisewood Sports Centre
With memberships frozen and no other source of income to support Sheffield’s public leisure facilities, Sheffield City Council has approved a support package to both Sheffield City Trust and Places Leisure, responsible for the running and management of facilities. This includes up to £15m of investment in Sheffield City Trust and up to £1.6m to Places Leisure.
This package of support will enable some leisure facilities to re-open in all parts of the city whilst the Council continues the work to develop a long term strategy for leisure provision in the city.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “I am pleased that these much-loved facilities, which are crucial to the wellbeing of residents, are now able to reopen across the city.
“At this stage we can only open health and fitness centres, but this investment also supports the future of Sheffield’s other leisure and entertainment venues that are vitally important to the city’s tourism, economy and culture.
“These are very difficult times for the sector and we are working closely with our providers, partners and governing bodies such as Sport England and UK Active, to understand and overcome the current challenges and those that lie ahead.
“Without further support from the Government many facilities will not be able to reopen until the crisis is over and that is why we have made this significant investment to protect our leisure assets.
“Our reopening strategy is driven by our commitment to ensure everyone in the city, no matter where they live, has access to leisure facilities, and whether existing or new customers, all will be welcomed.
“A citywide leisure review is already taking place, to make sure Sheffield’s future leisure offer is in a robust position, as we come out of the pandemic. We are keen to ensure that any future investment into sport, leisure and entertainment supports the health and wellbeing of all Sheffield residents. The review will complement our public health strategies for physical activity, obesity and health inequality and enable us to make positive steps to transform the current facilities, ensuring that any future investment is used to provide modern, fit for purpose facilities that meet the needs of our communities.”
Sheffield City Trust Chief Executive, Andrew Snelling said: “We are pleased that after months of being closed we can now look towards the reopening of some of our most popular centres.
“The income we have lost has forced us to make some tough decisions about which facilities we can open and when, and we have worked with the Council on a phased approach.
“In line with Government guidance new measures will be in place to keep staff and customers safe and we will be operating with reduced activities. I understand it has been frustrating for our customers who are keen to get back to their fitness activities but we have taken the time to get this right and to secure the significant investment needed to keep our centres running.
“We are not in a position to be able to reopen all centres at this stage, but we will be working directly with those affected by the continued temporary closure of Ponds Forge to make sure we can meet the needs of the clubs and individuals who would normally train and compete there.”
Richard Cowley, Area Manager for Places Leisure, said: “We’re excited to announce that on 1 September Graves Health & Sports Centre, Thorncliffe Health & Leisure Centre, and Wisewood Sports Centre will be re-opening.
“As we prepare to do that, we are implementing lots of new measures to keep colleagues and customers safe. Changes will include lots of signage to ensure we all respect social distancing, reduced activity capacities, enhanced cleaning regimes, and hand sanitizing and cleaning stations.
“All the information is on our website where customers will also need to pre-book sessions. We cannot wait to welcome our colleagues and customers back.”
Details of centre opening times and activities will be shared on the provider websites.