Reopening Ponds Forge sports centre in Sheffield to save 76 jobs

Sheffield City Trust said reopening Ponds Forge next month will save 76 jobs from its redundancy plans.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 4:45 pm

Last month the Trust, which runs various venues across the city including FlyDSA Arena, City Hall and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, announced it was looking to make hundreds of job cuts as a result of Covid-19.

David Grey, chairman of SCT, said in a council cabinet meeting this week it usually has £30 million a year income with a turnover of around £2.6 million a month. He said this ‘collapsed’ when its ‘big money spinners’ the Arena and City Hall closed in March. Both venues were mothballed for the foreseeable future.

Most of its leisure facilities reopened last month with up to £15 million from Sheffield Council but it came with a warning that staff would be reduced 'significantly' by 290 full time equivalent employees, affecting around 440 people, and the council would need to help pay for redundancy costs.

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Aquatics clubs at the town hall launching their campaign to reopen Ponds Forge.

It was initially decided Ponds Forge would remain closed due to it being too expensive but city leaders since u-turned on this, following a campaign by aquatics clubs based there.

The council will now give up to £1.6 million this financial year, on top of the £15 million, to reopen it next month.

Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SCT, said: “Ponds Forge is an iconic venue for Sheffield, so it was devastating that we couldn’t open it straight away because of financial restrictions caused by major events such as conferences, exhibitions, banquets and major sports events not being allowed to take place.

“However, with the council committing the funding needed to provide us with the ability to open for the general public and for sports teams based at the venue, we couldn’t be more pleased. We look forward to welcoming our customers back through the doors and supporting the aquatics clubs ahead of next year’s Olympics.

Ponds Forge.

"The reopening of Ponds Forge will safeguard around 76 jobs but due to Covid-19 restrictions, conferences, exhibitions, banquets and other major events remain unfeasible in the current climate.

“As an organisation we are working closely with all partners during this period of uncertainty to ensure the sustainability of the organisation for our staff and customers.”