Former Sherburn leisure centre reborn with ambitious plans

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A VILLAGE leisure centre which has closed twice within three years has been reopened as a not-for-profit community venture.

Sherburn Leisure Centre closed under Durham County Council cuts in October 2011 and although it reopened under Sherburn Future in March 2012, the doors shut again last summer.

Now it has been reborn once again, as Sherburn Aset, run by Community Interest Company Seconds Out with support from Sherburn Parish Council.

Bookings are being taken, clubs are returning, a new gym has been installed and will open next week and more ambitious plans are in the pipeline.

Directors Steve Gilling and Paul Eddy hope to create a community-backed facility offering education, training, health services, an IT suite, conference and meeting facilities, a cafe, gym, weights room, crèche and sports including a boxing academy.

Much of their vision depends on finding funding and community support. Some consultation on what people living nearby want has already been undertaken and more is planned.

Seconds Out already work with Ferryhill Community Hub, which also fell victim to the council’s last round of leisure centre cutbacks.

Mr Gilling said: “Over a period of time we hope to develop this into a facility where everyone can be involved. So dad might be in the gym, mum taking a class, while their child is in a crèche.

“We want to use sport as a medium to engage with people. My hope is we’ll get a community feel and it becomes the focus of the area, somewhere everyone wants to be, while being cost-effective and taking into account people’s needs.”

Seconds Out has agreed a 35-year peppercorn lease with the county council, which still owns the site. The keys were handed over in November and some events have already been staged, although the venture is only now getting going in earnest.

Backers hope to have the facility open as much as possible and say it is already used every weekday evening and at weekends.

Gym membership costs £10, plus £22.50 per month on a 12-month contract.

Anyone interested in getting involved, joining as a member or making a booking is asked to call 0191-372-2511.

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