Story: Lisa Swift
Fir Vale’s Astroturf is an important facility in the area but it’s been closed to local groups since November.
Since the rebuilding of Fir Vale School under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), a company called Interserve has managed the school buildings and facilities. The Astroturf is used regularly by local residents, community organisations and youth providers, such as Activity Sheffield and Sheffield Futures.
A member of the public was reportedly attacked in November and the facility has been closed since.
The Messenger spoke to a number of local agencies who have offered to support Interserve to resolve the matter, but they have yet to take up the offer. Interserve have told the Messenger that the Astroturf will reopen, but cannot say when, stating it would ‘not happen overnight’. One local youth worker told the Messenger,
“There’s been a lot of tension in the community because of it. One set of young people feel they can’t use it because of the behaviour of another group. Young people are going out of the area to do their sports. It needs resolving quickly.”
Interserve are required under the PFI agreement to make the facilities at Fir Vale accessible to the local community. It has been praised for its flexibility in accommodating the community in the past, but it cannot afford to keep this facility closed when it is desperately needed in Fir Vale and offers of help are on the table.