Sheffield City Trust confirms reopening date
All industries have been hugely affected by coronavirus, the impact of which has decimated the entertainment and leisure sectors. Across the country, community facilities such as swimming pools, sports centres and libraries are on the brink of permanent closure because of the financial impact of COVID-19 closures. Sheffield City Trust has been working closely with Sheffield City Council to agree a phased programme of re-opening. The venues that Sheffield City Trust will be reopening to the public in the first wave can be seen below:
- Hillsborough Leisure Centre
- Concord Sports Centre
- Springs Leisure Centre
- EISS (English Institute of Sport Sheffield)
As the operator of many of the City’s leisure facilities, Sheffield City Trust is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of the people of Sheffield; a commitment endorsed by Sheffield City Council who has today confirmed a programme of support across all Council-owned facilities to enable re-opening despite the financial losses facing operators. This includes a £15m investment in Sheffield City Trust.
Speaking about the support package, Sheffield City Trust Chief Executive, Andrew Snelling said:
“This is a significant investment to assist the sector through the implications brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. The impact on our operations has been severe, with all of our leisure and entertainment facilities unable to open since March.
"In March we froze all customer direct debits and since then we've been faced with show and event cancellations and no revenue. This lost income has meant we have had to make some decisions about which facilities we can open and when, and so we have worked with the Council on our phased approach.
“This investment allows Sheffield City Trust to reopen many of our most used facilities, albeit with reduced activities. I know there has been frustration amongst our customers because we couldn’t open facilities sooner but planning to ensure we get the right facility mix for people, coupled with this level of investment for the City Council has, rightly, required significant work to reach agreement.
"Reopening facilities carries with it a significant financial risk with huge costs associated with operating facilities and venues, especially those that include large-scale swimming pools.
"Although not all of our venues will be in a position to immediately reopen, without the investment from Sheffield City Council, none of our facilities would have been financially viable to open. And we must really thank them for acknowledging the importance of health and wellbeing – especially at this time.
"Clearly, we have a close relationship with Sheffield City Council, and this means it's important our reopening plan works for both them and us. But as always, the most crucial factor is that it serves our customers."
"We appreciate that there will be some disappointment regarding which facilities are open, and particularly that Ponds Forge is unable to reopen immediately.
"Ponds Forge regularly hosts mass participation sporting events and non-sporting competitions as well as conferences, exhibitions, awards ceremonies and banquets. These provide significant revenues that support the vast running cost the venue has. Due to Coronavirus, unfortunately, these events are unable to go ahead for the foreseeable future.
“We are working closely with our sporting and event partners to accommodate their requirements, where possible, across our other venues.
“It’s important to reiterate; we have no plans to close down Ponds Forge permanently. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and look to open more facilities across our estate as soon as is practical and reasonable to do so. Unfortunately, both the Arena and City Hall remain closed for the foreseeable.
“The financial implications of the pandemic have meant that as an organisation we've been forced into making some really difficult decisions. It is with regret that I can confirm that we have begun discussions with some of our employees regarding their roles. This is never a decision any organisation wishes to make, but it is one which we've taken to protect our long-term future.”