More than 5,000 people have signed a petition to save a Sheffield community boxing club - prompting a debate at the council.
De Hood Boxing Centre has helped transform the lives of trouble youngsters on Manor Top since opening six years ago.
The club, which has 1,500 members aged six to 84, is facing an uncertain future as it’s based in a former school building owned by the council and there are fears it could be demolished to make way for new shops.
Now a meeting of the full council will look into the matter after the huge petition forced a debate. Any petition with over 5,000 signatures automatically goes before council.
The petition from “De Hood Family” states: “De Hood Community Project needs to secure a long term lease on its existing premises, The Old Prince Edward School Buildings at Manor Top, from Sheffield Council.
“The council would like to demolish the building and grant planning permission to build another retail park.
“We are looking for your support so that we can continue to grow the project and make a difference to the local community, however, without a lease on the building, the future for De Hood is up in the air.
“The project has made a massive impact on the local community, both young and old, and provides a number of much needed community based activities for the local people to engage.”
The club offers a wide range of activities including karate, dance, drama, football and basketball plus community projects including weight loss, drug and alcohol support, education, job clubs, food banks. community breakfasts and support for ex-offenders and people with mental health issues.
The petition - which aims to get 7,500 names - adds: “The project is run by volunteers with the motto ‘For the people by the people’.
“Since the project started over six years ago, South Yorkshire Police have reported that crime has dropped by up to 60 per cent and South Yorkshire Fire Service have reported that arson has halved.
“We need the people of Sheffield to support our petition to have the building transferred as an Asset of Community Value and the granting of long term lease so that the project can carry on the good work.
“Please help us achieve our goal, your vote will help make a difference. De Hoods all about bringing people together today for a better tomorrow"
Councillors will debate the petition at a meeting this Wednesday.