City pledges access for the community to school facilities

COUNCIL chiefs have pledged to make sure school buildings in their city are being made available for people to use outside of lesson time as community hubs.

Sheffield schools are being asked to ensure that community groups have access to their facilities.

The city council's Cabinet member for children and young people's services, Colin Ross, said: "Schools are a valuable part of their local community and we want to see people making greater use of these facilities.

"At the end of the day schools are a public asset and therefore we have got to get the most out of them in terms of public funds."

Coun Ross added: "There are some very good examples where schools are already working as community hubs, but we want to see more of this."

Many schools across the city are now open between 8am and 6pm providing breakfast clubs and extra-curricular activities or young people.

But councillors want to extend this so school buildings can be at the heart of their community, providing access to services, including sports and leisure activities.

A council spokesman said: "Examples of how this is already working include some schools being opened as Children's Centres while others are operating as local drop-in centres for health visitors and post-natal groups.

"The Yewlands family of schools has recently been handed 9,400 of Lottery funding to provide community adult learning.

"Now parents are being given the chance to attend courses on manicures and nail art, jewellery making, aromatherapy and reflexology and even Indian head massage.

"Other course include arts and crafts and digital media."

The council Cabinet voted earlier this year to ensure schools were being increasingly used as community hubs and a report was produced before Christmas on the progress made so far.