Council’s ‘call to action’ for Sheffield sports clubs

Paul Billington at Woodbourn Road Stadium
Paul Billington at Woodbourn Road Stadium
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A ‘call to action’ for Sheffield sports clubs to take on more management of the city’s outdoor facilities has been made.

Sheffield Council wants clubs and governing bodies to help the authority seek new investment and ‘manage the delivery’ of venues as it struggles with budget cuts.

A cabinet meeting approved the new ‘outdoor sports strategy’ on Wednesday.

Now the council says it will concentrate investment on a ‘small’ number of hub sites with multiple pitches while improving the sustainability of others.

Paul Billington, director of culture, told councillors the strategy looked at a new relationship between sports clubs and the authority.

He said: “The days when the council ran most things, and funded most projects, are over.

“It is a call to action really to our sporting bodies and providers to step forward and help.”

The council also wants to encourage clubs and providers to find new sources of independent funding in the future.

A total of 300 clubs, schools and bodies across a range of sports were consulted over the strategy and discussions held with Sport England.

Demand for football pitches is higher than supply in Sheffield and there is also a need to make sure high quality facilities are spread across the city, the report stresses.

It also highlights the city’s bowling clubs and Handsworth Sporting Club as examples of clubs moving to self maintenance and management.

Although no financial implications were outlined in the strategy, the report did say the council’s budget in future could involve ‘tapered and reducing grants’ to sports partners.