Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre, closed by Sheffield City Council in 2013 and rescued by the local community – re-opening its doors in January 2014, has secured £831,464 grant funding towards a major refurbishment project.

Grants awarded by the Lottery Community Fund, Sport England, Well North and the East Peak Innovation Partnership will enable an extensive refurbishment programme, with an emphasis on improving disabled access to all parts of the centre, to go ahead.

The six-month high value building project includes significant alterations to the main entrance and front of house. These include a new fully accessible front entrance, a disabled-friendly Reception area, a new meeting / conference room and offices and a brand new café with spectacular views over the Upper Don valley.

A primary aspect of the refurbishment is to provide wheelchair access to both the swimming pools and sports areas, something that was lacking in the 1960’s-built building. This will be made possible with the installation of new wheelchair lifts. Also, as part of the on-going refurbishment programme, there will be improvements to the pool changing rooms and showers, in particular disabled persons facilities.

The new facilities are an integral part of the long-term plan to create a multi-use centre for health and well-being for residents of the Upper Don Valley. Supported by Stocksbridge, Deepcar and Oughtibridge surgeries, the centre will continue to work closely with local GP’s to ensure that local people have a facility on their doorstep to provide for both their physical and mental well-being.

According to Chief Executive, Andy Clarke, ‘this is great news for the long term future of the community-run leisure centre. In just over five years, local volunteers have turned a much- loved facility, destined for demolition by the Council, into a viable and sustainable amenity’.

He continued, ’we are extremely grateful to all the funders for awarding this grant funding and making this project possible, particularly the players of the National Lottery. This recognises the impact our centre is making in improving the health and well-being of our residents and the value that everyone brings to our growing reputation and on-going success’

‘Thanks to the overwhelming support received since our re-opening in January 2014, we have created a facility for all the family, second to none in the area. Now, thanks to this funding, we will be able to encourage even greater use of the building, in particular our physically less-abled visitors. It will also enable us to take advantage of new business opportunities for ensuring the Centre’s long term future.’