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Football facilities in Darnall saved from closure

Football facilities in Darnall have been saved from the threat of closure, as the council have secured a new national operator, Leisure United, who will take over in February.

The five-a-side football pitches and pavilion at Woodbourn Road in Darnall, Sheffield are currently run by Powerleague, who recently announced their withdrawal from the site as part of a national rationalisation programme affecting similar sites across the country.

Their operation ends on 31 January so the council have been working hard to secure new management of the facilities or face closing them.

Leisure United, a first-class national leisure operator, was appointed by Pulse Soccer to  manage Sheffield’s FA Football Hubs at Graves, Thorncliffe and Westfield and the pitch at the Olympic Legacy Park, and will now take over the running of the football pitches and pavilion at Darnall immediately after Powerleague leave.

The potential closure of the building would have also affected services at Sheffield Hallam University’s athletics stadium, which also uses the changing and refreshments areas. Leisure United will continue to provide services to people using the adjoining athletics stadium.

The council has agreed to fund a small scale programme of essential works to the pavilion and pitches and this has already started.

The reception area at Graves
The reception area at Graves

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “I’m pleased to confirm that Leisure United will be taking over the management of football facilities in Darnall. I know how important the centre is to local people, coming together to socialise and take part in physical activity, so it’s fantastic that services will not be interrupted and that we have protected services for the city’s athletes who also train at the Woodbourn stadium.

“Leisure United is already successfully running several other quality football facilities in Sheffield so we are confident that people can expect a great service.

“As well as bringing in a new operator, we have committed a small sum of money for essential repairs to the pavilion and pitches, to make sure the pitches remain up to standard and this work will start in advance of the changeover. This is great news for our football and athletics communities and I hope we’ll see more people take advantage of these important local sports facilities.”

David Gallagher, Chairman of Leisure United Trust, said: “Leisure United is delighted to be the new operator and will be committed to providing a first-class football experience for the local community alongside our existing facilities across Sheffield.”

Leisure United will initially run the facility for six months, while longer term options are reviewed. Opening times and prices will not be affected.

More information is available by contacting SGP Graves on 0114 237 5349.