A new ‘hub’ dedicated to raising the profile of sport in Sheffield is set to be created on a city centre street.
The Sporting Sheffield charity wants to take over a large empty unit on Chapel Walk to open a shop, art gallery and café.
The ambition is to offer education, training and work experience opportunities, as well as a meeting place for sports enthusiasts.
Researcher and consultant Dr John P Wilson, who teaches at the universities of Sheffield and Oxford and is among Sporting Sheffield’s trustees, said the venture would be a ‘unique offering’.
“I think we’ve got a new, very successful project which will really benefit the city,” said Dr Wilson, who lives in Whirlow.
“On one side there will be retail - selling Sheffield FC shirts and books about Hallam FC, for instance, but we want to link to other sports as well, professional and amateur.
“The other side is going to be a café providing coffee, cakes and so on. We’ve got an upstairs where we have a further opportunity for a café, and extra seats, and downstairs there’s quite a large space in the basement which it’s suggested could be an art gallery of some description, promoting sporting art.”
He said the venue - to be called S’porting Sheffield as a play on the phrase ‘supporting Sheffield’ - would celebrate well-known personalities such as heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, trampolinist Bryony Page, golfers Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick, and squash player Nick Matthew.
Sheffield Hallam University graduate Christopher Wainwright will manage the shop, gallery and café day-to-day.
“It’s designed to be an opportunity for people to get work experience, education, training and work-based learning, and provide a fulcrum or hub for sports,” said Dr Wilson. “We’d like to open before Christmas.”
Plans have been submitted for the change of use. The unit was previously occupied by Bird’s Yard, which now trades in a smaller space on the opposite side of Chapel Walk.