Ponds Forge International Sports Centre has enjoyed a ‘hugely successful’ reopening following a six-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ‘iconic’ Sheffield City Trust-operated venue opened its doors with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place after receiving financial backing from Sheffield City Council earlier this month.
Sanitising stations, compulsory face coverings in communal areas, one-way systems and capacity monitoring are among the measures which have been put in place to keep customers and staff safe following the venue’s reopening, which Sheffield City Trust’s Chief Executive, Andrew Snelling, described as ‘fantastic news for Sheffield’.
Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “Ponds Forge’s reopening is fantastic news for Sheffield at a time when good news is pretty hard to come by.
“Naturally, we’re delighted at Ponds’ hugely successful reopening, which is the next step in a phased reopening of our facilities to the public and sports teams who use them. It follows the successful reopening of our golf courses several months ago, as well as that of sports and leisure venues across Sheffield communities.
“Since we reopened, 97 per cent of our members say that they have felt safe and secure in our venues since returning, which is hugely significant given that our first and foremost priority is maintaining the safety of our staff and customers at all times.
“It’s also fantastic news for the hugely talented elite athletes who train at Ponds Forge. I empathise hugely with the aquatics clubs who, in an Olympic year, were left without a training venue when Ponds Forge was forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however we now look forward to supporting them in their preparation for the rearranged Tokyo Olympics.
“As a not for profit organisation, Sheffield City Trust exists to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of this great city, with around 25,000 individuals regularly participating in activity each week.
“Our Exercise Referral Scheme helps around 1,800 individuals living with complex health challenges annually, and we’ve delivered over £22 million in social value and brought over £30 million into the local economy.
“During a period of great uncertainty, reopening Ponds Forge has been a huge success not only for Sheffield but as a symbol of what can be achieved if people, organisations and communities work together for the benefit of the wider population.”
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m thrilled that Ponds Forge has reopened to the public with measures to ensure we are safe and compliant under Tier 3 restrictions.
“Alongside our many green spaces, we’re now able to offer communities across Sheffield the full range of safe places to stay active as the darker nights and winter weather set in. It’s crucial now more than ever that we look after our health and wellbeing.
“I hope families enjoy a mix of healthy activities throughout half term and make the best use of the city we all call home. I’d also like to extend a warm welcome back to the teams who are once again able to make use of the superb facilities on offer here in Sheffield.”
For more information on Sheffield City Trust, including the latest Covid-19 update, visit https://www.sheffieldcitytrust.org.