Major transformation programme

Sheffield City Council recommissioned SLC in September 2020 to support a major transformation programme for its leisure and entertainments services. Set within the Covid crisis, this programme built on work undertaken since early 2019 – a review of its £350 Million Leisure and Entertainment Portfolio, draft Sport and Physical Activity Strategy and a Leisure Investment Strategy. The Council wanted to be in a position to agree a clear way forward for its leisure and entertainments services in terms of strategic approach, management and investment.

The programme comprised of the following staged workstreams:


Vision, Active Sheffield Strategy, Sport Strategies and Leisure Investment Facilities Review Update

SLC developed a draft vision and Active Sheffield (Sport and Physical Activity Strategy) with the Council and its strategic partners. Linked to this was the development of sport specific draft strategies for Aquatics and Ice Sports for the Council to take forward with its NGB partners and operating partner Sheffield City Trust.

The Leisure Investment Facilities Review update comprised of SLC further developing financial forecasts and options. This featured investment options for Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Concord Sports Centre, Springs Leisure Centre and Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

SLC also revisited golf business case options and tennis development options building on previous work.


Business Case

SLC brought the workstreams together into a 30-year business case working closely with the Council’s finance team for consideration by the Council’s Cabinet in Spring 2021. This contained multiple investment options and management options to give the Council full visibility on costs and risks.

Following elections and a change in administration, the Council is now working closely with Sport England using the Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance and SLC to progress the transformation of its services.


Covid recovery support

Additionally, during the Covid-19 pandemic, SLC has provided ongoing support for the City in negotiating with its partners to agree a sustainable plan for reopening facilities safely post Covid. SLC also supported the Council with a successful bid to the NLRF.


Approval for long term plan

Proposals have been approved in November 2021 by the Council’s Co-operative Executive to progress a long-term plan for major improvements and investment, creating an exciting leisure offer that will also deliver on health and wellbeing outcomes for Sheffield and our residents.

The investment, which is estimated at more than £100m, will support significant improvements to the City’s leisure and entertainment facilities, including a complete rebuilding of Springs, Concord and Hillsborough Leisure Centres.  The proposal would also see investment into Sheffield Arena and Ponds Forge International Sports Centre ensuring the facilities continue to attract events of the highest quality for the people of Sheffield, South Yorkshire and beyond.


SLC co-produced and delivered complex elements of a major transformation programme for the City’s leisure services as it considers its approach for the next 30 years. Working alongside officers, regularly engaging elected Members, they worked seamlessly across the Council and wider stakeholders as part of an integrated team. Their ability to manage complexity, work flexibly and adapt to changing programme requirements through the pandemic really stood out. You can trust SLC to add significant value and deliver.

Lisa Firth, Director of Culture, Parks & Leisure, Sheffield City Council