Volunteers step in to keep Durham leisure centre open

Councillors Maureen Wood and Carol Woods at the reopened Sherburn Future Community Club at the former Leisure Centre.
Councillors Maureen Wood and Carol Woods at the reopened Sherburn Future Community Club at the former Leisure Centre.
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A LEISURE centre threatened with permanent closure is open to the public after volunteers came up with a plan to run it.

Sherburn Leisure Centre, in Kidd Avenue, Sherburn village, was closed by Durham County Council last October.

Volunteers, led by ward councillors Carol Woods and Maureen Wood, formed a not-for-profit company which has signed a 35-year lease on the building.

The centre will open evenings and weekends, and at other times by prior arrangement.

“This has been very much a team effort,” said Coun Woods. “And it is still very much a work in progress.

“We have carried out some refurbishments to the building and installed wireless internet access and a kitchen.

“There should be a cafe open soon, and we hope the meeting rooms will be popular.”

Other facilities include a sports hall, outdoor football and training pitches, and an outdoor gymnasium.

Membership costs £60 a year, £40 for pensioners, and room hire charges will apply.

“The days of the service being free at the point of delivery are gone,” said Coun Woods.

“We are staffed entirely by volunteers, and every penny taken will be ploughed back into the centre.

“The more people use it, the more improvements we can make and the more facilities we can add.

“Early indications are good, we already have interest from a number of football teams, and others interested in using the centre.

“As well as sports and exercise activities, other parts of the building could be used for christenings and family gatherings, and community and business meetings.”

A website is under development, in the meantime inquiries should be made to Coun Woods, tel. 07740 928802.

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