Sheffield United: Councillors call on football club to let Crookes community use boarded-up sports centre

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The future of the former community and sports centre in a Sheffield suburb remains unknown.

Sheffield councillors are still calling for a boarded-up sports centre to be brought into community use, after it shut more than two years ago.

Derek Dooley Sports and Community Centre, on Weston View, Crookes, closed for good in November 2021. Now, its windows and doors are boarded up and vandalised with graffiti.

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The site, formerly known as Gym Plus, is owned by Sheffield United Community Foundation, but for the last several months, members of the community and local councillors have raised questions about the future of the building, and asked to have it brought back into community use.

The Derek Dooley Sports and Community Centre has been shut since November 2021.The Derek Dooley Sports and Community Centre has been shut since November 2021.
The Derek Dooley Sports and Community Centre has been shut since November 2021. | National World

While the football pitches are still used for fitness boot camps each week, playing children and independent football coaches, they must have "express written permission" from Sheffield United in order to use the pitch.

The Star spoke to councillors Ruth Milsom and Minesh Parekh, of the Crookes and Crosspool ward.

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Coun Milsom said: "We’ve been asking questions as local councillors about what might happen in the future, whether we might be able to get it re-established into community use. We’ve got grassroots football organisations that are interested in using this and would be booking it if it was available right now, so we’re really keen to get it back if we can."

The doors and windows of the former Sheffield sports centre have been boarded up and vandalised.The doors and windows of the former Sheffield sports centre have been boarded up and vandalised.
The doors and windows of the former Sheffield sports centre have been boarded up and vandalised. | National World

In September last year, Coun Milsom asked for the Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee to open a dialogue with Sheffield United about bringing it back into community use.

She added: "I’m not quite sure where the reticence might be in that, but certainly the council has written and tried to open that conversation with Sheffield United, I just don’t think it’s got very far yet."

It is hoped that the building could be used for community groups such as youth, knitting, and sports.

In response, a spokesperson for Sheffield United said: "Internal discussions regarding the site are continuing, whilst we are also in conversations with a number of external parties."

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