Community centre in Sheffield close to landing major grant
The drive to revitalise a long-neglected community centre in Sheffield is beginning to bear fruit.
The team at Grimesthorpe Family Centre are close to agreeing a new lease which would secure its long-term future, and hopes are high over a grant for much-needed repair work.
A new boxing club which was launched last month is thriving, and an interior renovation is well underway - with offenders putting in the man hours to repay their debt to society and aid their rehabilitation.
The Star reported in November how volunteers are striving to breathe new life into the building on Holywell Road, which was once the suburb's social epicentre but has suffered from a lack of investment over the years.
Three months later, trustees are close to signing a new 25-year lease with the local Anglican church which owns the building - giving them the stability needed to plan for the future.
Their Â£39,000 bid for funding to repair the creaking roof has made it to the second stage, with a decision expected next month, and they are also hopeful of securing grants from other sources for badly-needed new windows.
A youth boxing club which opened last month is proving a hit, with around 25 budding fighters taking to the ring each week.
And the South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company has arranged for offenders to help out by providing around 7,000 hours of free labour worth more than Â£50,000 to decorate the dated interior - a six-to-nine-month job which began last month.
Philip Ireson, a former Pitsmoor vicar involved in the regeneration, said: "We're very happy with the progress that's been made, and the success of the new boxing group shows there is a demand for this sort of facility in the area.
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"We're keeping our fingers crossed over the grants, and we're very grateful for the work that's being done by the offenders as part of their rehabilitation."
The centre already hosts a popular youth club, a church group, mindfulness classes and more.
Supporters are seeking to raise Â£150,000 for pay for vital restoration work and new activities which would benefit even more people in the deprived neighbourhood it serves.
They hope the removations will also make it once again a popular venue for birthdays, weddings and other celebrations.
* For more information about Grimesthorpe Family Centre, and how to get involved, call 0758 0962 443.