Sheffield’s Graves Centre set for £5m upgrade

Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, which is to be revamped

Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, which is to be revamped

LONG-awaited improvements are finally being made to Sheffield’s Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, which will receive a £5 million upgrade.

Government funding is being provided as part of the post-Olympics drive to improve physical activity and health.

The boost also comes after Sheffield tennis star Jonny Marray, who trained at the Graves centre, won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon in the summer.

The project, to include extra indoor tennis courts, a replacement swimming pool, a bigger fitness centre and new gymnastics and football areas, are part of plans to make Sheffield a National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

The centre and all facilities will remain open to the public while work goes on.

A further £5 million of government funding will be spent on three ‘hub’ sports centres around Sheffield - the locations of which have not yet been revealed.

Graves had previously faced an uncertain future after a planned deal to revamp the centre collapsed between the council and a private company.

The Sheffield National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine will bring together The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield Council, Sheffield International Venues, NHS Sheffield, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, the English Institute of Sport and the voluntary sector.

Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “This builds on Sheffield’s reputation for world-class sport, medical and academic facilities and programmes.

“The centre at Graves, along with three others across the city, will be the hubs where we can begin to develop this approach and provide the necessary facilities and support for local people to be able to take control and make a real difference to their own health and wellbeing.”

Work to revamp Graves is set to begin late next year.

Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield International Venues, which operates Graves, added: “We are delighted Sheffield is one of the three hubs of the national centre.

“It is an opportunity for us to really help improve health.

“We all know about rising levels of obesity and physical inactivity.

“Sheffield will be at the leading edge of the national effort to tackle these hugely important issues.”

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