Go-ahead for youth centre funding

Ambitious plans for a £2m youth centre in a deprived Sheffield neighbourhood have been given a boost after the Government announced it would not scrap funding for the project.

Organisers behind the U-Mix centre, in the Lowfield area of the city, had feared that a grant promised to the centre last March would not be forthcoming after October's Westminster spending review.

But the Department for Education has now confirmed that the cash will be forthcoming to provide a floodlit all-weather synthetic sports pitch and an indoor facility for dance, the performing arts, education and training.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who has supported the fight for the funding along with heptathlete Jesica Ennis, who grew up in the area, said he was happy that the centre would go ahead.

He added: "I'm delighted by this news. The new youth and sports centre, U-Mix, will be a fantastic new facility for all young people in Lowfields and Sharrow. Ministers have kept us waiting for months but after persistent lobbying we've finally got the funding confirmed.

"All credit must go to the Urban Mixtures youth group who from day one have driven forward this project. They are an inspirational group of young people, and I'm delighted that the youth centre will now be built. It will be a testament to their commitment, passion and hard work."

Mr Blomfield also paid tribute to anti-racism community organisation Football Unites Racism Divides who played a leading role in planning the new youth centre. He said "Football Unites' work is pioneering and the new youth centre will be a fantastic new base for their outstanding work."

Coun Colin Ross, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for children and young people's services, said the authority was still waiting for final confirmation on the level of the grant but added: "Obviously this is fantastic news and we are very pleased to now be able to go ahead with this scheme."