A decade-long dream will be realised on Friday 12th April when our new home is officially opened.
The U-Mix Centre in Lowfield, Sheffield, was first conceived 11 years ago but was in jeopardy a number of times, most recently due to funding challenges caused by the recession.
Now, thanks to support from a range of bodies, including Sheffield City Council, the dream is finally a reality.
The centre is run by FURD on behalf of Sheffield City Council and will allow us the opportunity to further develop our sporting and youth work programme.
The stunning building is built into a hillside and virtually invisible from Bramall Lane which runs alongside it. It was built with grants from the Football Foundation and the Government’s Myplace initiative through the Big Lottery Fund, with strong support from the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA.
The £2.5m U-MIX Centre is one of a new generation of youth centres purposefully designed to meet the needs of young people.
Young people from the Sharrow area formed a steering group to ensure the centre met their needs and they were instrumental in its design.
It will officially open on Friday and young users will guide visitors around its facilities which include floodlit 3G five a side pitches which are available for hire, outdoor play equipment, a dance studio, music rehearsal space, recording studio, a prayer room, library and digital media suite.
The centre is also home to the Arthur Wharton Archive, a fascinating resource dedicated to Britain’s first black professional footballer.
Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday players, MPs, local dignitaries, funders and centre users will enjoy lunch, tours and speeches at the official opening.
The parents of Jessica Ennis and Spurs player Kyle Walker are also expected to attend. Both Jessica and Kyle have been hugely supportive of FURD’s work in the past.
“The venue is in the heart of Sharrow, which has already produced two superstars in Jessica and Kyle,” said Simon Hyacinth, FURD’s Joint Co-ordinator.
“They’re both a great inspiration to the city and we’re delighted their parents are attending, as it will highlight the crucial role that supportive families play in helping young people realise their full potential.
“FURD has lobbied for a centre like this for more than 10 years. We moved into the centre in the autumn but this official opening is hugely poignant and the young members of the Urban Mixtures steering group who have driven this project forward deserve a lot of credit.”
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “I am delighted to see this fabulous centre up and running as it’s a wonderful example of what this partnership between the Council, the local community, a voluntary organisation and young people can achieve. I know the brilliant work done by FURD in the city over a number of years, working with young people to ensure they all achieve their full potential, and with this strong team behind them I know the centre will go from strength to strength.”
The Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, provided funding of £350,000 towards the project.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “It is so rewarding to see this new facility completed and ready for use by the local community. Alongside the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, FURD has worked extremely hard to ensure this project has come to fruition and deserves great credit for its endeavours.”