29 September 2015

A new operator has been chosen to run a Sheffield sports centre which, a year ago, was at risk of closure.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, Sheffield City Council has selected Places for People Leisure (PfP) as the preferred bidder to operate Wisewood Sports Centre in the north of the city.

PfP, which will also operate the new centres that are currently under construction at Thorncliffe and Graves, operates more than 100 leisure centres across the country and has been UK Leisure Operator of the Year for the past three years.

Final discussions will now take place between the Council and PfP prior to the contract being signed, and the centre will be handed over to PfP to operate on 1 April 2016. The Council will continue to operate the centre as normal until April.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said:  “I am very pleased that we have been able to secure the long-term future of this popular facility and protect jobs. All the existing activity programmes in the sports hall and outdoor football will continue and the proposed investment from the new operator PfP will increase opportunities for physical activity for local people.

“With the development of new sports centres at Thorncliffe and Graves, the new National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine facilities at Concord and the creation of the Olympic Legacy Park this is a very positive time for health, fitness and wellbeing in Sheffield. I look forward to seeing the development in the future of Wisewood Sports Centre.”

Wisewood Sports Centre had been run by Forge Valley School since 2011, but this agreement came to an end last year, when the school’s new Academy Trust decided it would not run the sports centre – which could have meant closure.

As a holding measure, the council agreed to step in and temporarily manage the centre, to ensure it could continue to operate until a long-term management solution was found.

Kamran Tirmizey, Business Development Manager at Places for People Leisure said, “We are very pleased to have been selected to operate the Wisewood Sports Centre. We are looking forward to expanding our partnership with the city whilst improving the sports centre’s facilities and its profile as an appealing place for people to be active and healthy.

“Our investment and development proposals have been designed to increase local citizen usage of the centre, in part by delivering high quality at an affordable price for all.”

Proposals include future investment and the upgrade of gym facilities in the sports centre, further details of which will be made available in due course.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Existing programmes and prices for users will be protected, while jobs have also been secured, as existing council employees will be protected under TUPE regulations. Their employment will transfer to PfP from 1 April next year.