POLICE are hunting arsonists whose blaze damaged a Sheffield youth centre so badly it now needs to be demolished on safety grounds.
Two attacks 24 hours apart gutted Meynell Youth Centre on Meynell Road, Parson Cross,.
Sheffield Futures, which owns the centre, said almost all its contents were destroyed, with water damage and asbestos contamination.
The arson attacks came four days after the Darnall Education Centre in Darnall, also a youth centre, was set alight. Its storage unit was set on fire, destroying nursery equipment.
Services at the Darnall centre are operating as normal. But in Parson Cross youth workers have had to find alternative venues.
Andy Peaden, Sheffield Futures’ Interim Chief Executive, said: “Unfortunately, as a result of a significant amount of damage sustained, any continued use of the building will not be possible.
“Virtually the entire contents of the building have been lost and the building has been compromised to the extent it is not safe for us to operate from under any circumstances.
“Not only is there extensive fire damage but there is asbestos contamination and water damage from where the fire brigade put the fire out. As a consequence, the building has been determined as unsafe and will be demolished in the very near future.
“We have been able to put some alternative measures in place and our group for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities is going to be relocated to Earl Marshal youth club in Fir Vale from Tuesday evening next week.
“Discussions are ongoing about finding an alternative venue for the open access youth club which was run jointly with St Thomas’ church from the centre.”
He said the long-term plan for the youth centre had always been to move out of the ageing building and move into old housing offices on Wordsworth Avenue School.
The first Parson Cross blaze was reported at 7pm on Sunday and the second on Bank Holiday Monday. Anyone with information should call police on 101.