A VILLAGE sports centre — described as a “beacon of light” for the community — is to be closed at the end of the month.
Thrybergh Academy — a specialist sports college since 2008 — has decided to axe its playing fields, sports hall and gym.
Gym-goer Rachael Thomas (33), of Garbroads Crescent in Thrybergh, said: “It is a social environment for children and adults too, and a bit of a lifeline for both.
“It’s a small gym and the community enjoys the facilities. Many of them would have trouble getting to other gyms.
“I would be very disappointed to see it close. I would struggle to get to another gym on my days off work.
“I have spoken to other gym members and we’re concerned for the children and other locals who rely on the facilities. With an epidemic of obesity and closures of young people’s services, it’s vital to address this issue.”
Craig Fairhurst (59), of Wickersley, attended the school and has been a gym member for ten years.
He said: “Community is a very important aspect of life, especially in an area like Thrybergh that has been ravaged by the demise of its status due the economic downturn in mining and steel-making.
“As some areas in Rotherham thrive and state of the art gyms are prevalent some areas just need to hang on to what facilities they have, Thrybergh been one of these areas.
“The kids of Thrybergh deserve this facility now and when they have left school to continue on a healthy active program of living in the future.”
He added: “Recently the school was taken over by yet another trust to improve its performance. Can’t we leave community facilities out of any rationalisation plans?
“Short term cost-cutting is definitely not a long term solution.”
A petition against the closure on change.org hit 200 signatures yesterday.
The school — in special measures after being rated inadequate by Ofsted in January — did not respond to our repeated requests this week to clarify and comment on the closure.