Leisure jobs under threat in Sheffield

iceSheffield is one of the venues operated by Sheffield City Trust
iceSheffield is one of the venues operated by Sheffield City Trust
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Up to 40 jobs could be lost at sport and leisure centres in Sheffield after the operator had its funding slashed.

Sheffield City Trust, which operates 14 venues including Ponds Forge, iceSheffield, the English Institute of Sport, and Hillsborough and Concord leisure centres, has secured a new three-year funding agreement.

But the subsidy is less than previously awarded from the authority and staff have been warned that jobs are under threat as part of cost saving measures being considered.

Steve Brailey, chief executive of SCT, said the agreement was a ‘vote of confidence’ for the trust, but he admitted cost saving measures previously put in place had not been sufficient and the trust was now consulting with staff over possible redundancies.

He said: “The three-year funding agreement is vital to protect the future of Sheffield’s sport and leisure facilities and to enable our charity to keep improving the health and wellbeing of the millions of Sheffield people who use our venues each year.

He added: “However, in light of the reduced subsidy from the council, we have been forced to consider cost savings.

“We have put in place a number of measures to both reduce costs and maximise our income but it is with regret that these measures have not been sufficient and it may be necessary to consider some redundancies.

“We are now consulting with any affected employees and trade union representatives, exploring ways of avoiding compulsory redundancies.”

A Sheffield Council spokesman said the authority was aware of the major financial pressures faced by the trust, but was pleased the proposals ‘include keeping all facilities open’.

The agreement comes after Don Valley Stadium closed last year following a joint decision by Sheffield City Trust and the council, and residents saved Stocksbridge Leisure Centre from shutting after the authority removed its annual £400,000 subsidy.

The council spokesman said in response to these decisions, Woodbourn Road was refurbished and taken over by Sheffield Hallam University, investment has been secured for a new pool and fitness facilities in High Green, and improvements are being made at Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre including replacing the pool.

He added: “We have been working with Sheffield City Trust and other partners to ensure we provide access to high-quality and affordable leisure facilities across the city.

“We have to move towards lower-cost facilities which can be sustained in these times of year-on-year budget cuts.”

Sheffield International Venues is the operating arm of Sheffield City Trust.