A LEISURE and entertainment provider which runs the Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion has said it has opened redundancy consultation as it struggles under financial pressure and may not be able to reopen some sports facilities when given the go-ahead.

Sheffield City Trust, also known as Sheffield International Venues, looks after 17 facilities across the city, including City Hall, FlyDSA Arena, Ponds Forge and Ice Sheffield, as well as the Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion

In March, it had to close these to prevent the spread of coronavirus and as yet has only been allowed to reopen its golf courses.

Leisure providers have still not been given permission from government to reopen swimming pools, gyms and other indoor sites and entertainment venues have had to cancel events for the foreseeable future – leaving many, like Sheffield City Trust, struggling to survive.

As a result, SCT said last month it was ‘gauging interest’ in redundancies and has sent a letter to all staff about this.

It has also now said it has “specific issues” with some sporting facilities and therefore may not be able to reopen these when given the go-ahead from government.

Andrew Snelling, chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “Clearly these are very challenging times for all organisations operating in the leisure and entertainment industry as we await government guidance on how and when we can open our venues.

“Sheffield City Trust runs a variety of facilities across sport, leisure and entertainment.  It has become apparent that concerts, shows and large attendance events will not be possible in the short and medium term, so this leaves us with decisions to make regarding how we sustain venues such as Sheffield Arena and Sheffield City Hall.

“There are also specific issues with some of our sporting facilities, which means it may not be viable to open them safely even after we receive the go ahead.

“We have written to employees who are affected by the venues they work at being unable to open and explained we have begun a consultation process which may lead to redundancies.

“It is not a decision that has been taken lightly but venues that are generating no income will only need a much-reduced workforce to carry out essential maintenance while they are mothballed awaiting a change in circumstances.”

There are also rumours Sheffield Arena and City Hall were closing permanently, which SCT denied. Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team also confirmed the Arena was not closing permanently.

Last year it was revealed by the local democracy reporting service that SCT was “haemorrhaging cash” and needed to be bailed out by Sheffield Council with more than £7 million over the past year.

The council said last month they were still assessing the impact coronavirus had on such venues and would be reviewing the financial support it gives the trust.

This week the government also announced a £1.57 billion emergency support package to protect entertainment venues.

Mr Snelling added: “The UK Government’s announcement regarding a support package for the arts, entertainment and music industry is welcomed. We await further detailed information regarding funding availability for our venues and will ensure that everything is done to protect jobs.

“We are working closely with Sheffield City Council during these challenging times to ensure that the organisation is sustainable to continue to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Sheffield into the future.”