Sports centre can keep on running

A Sheffield community sports centre has been saved from closure after the council agreed to step in while an alternative operator can be found.

Wisewood Sports Centre has been run by Forge Valley School since 2011.

The school is set to become part of the Tapton Academy Trust, and the trust has decided it will not run the sports centre, the council said yesterday (Wednesday). This would have meant the sports centre having to close.

Now the authority has agreed to ensure the sports centre can continue to operate until a long-term management solution can be found.

It said staff are currently employed by Forge Valley School, and the academy, staff and council would be meeting over the coming days to discuss the next steps and all the options.

Coun Jackie Drayton, the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said described the situation as “extremely frustrating” for the local community.

“Even though the school is an academy we feel that they could have continued running the sports centre with the help of expert providers.

“We have intervened with an interim solution to avoid immediate closure of the centre and the reality is that we had no alternative to take this decision due to the potential clawback, which means that the council could have faced a cost of £2m had the centre closed.

“We will be looking to find third party options to operate and fund the centre in the longer term which we believe is the only realistic long term solution for the centre given the council’s financial position.

“All the options for management of the centre will be explored and we will be talking to key groups.”