A 10-year dream is realised this week as Football Unites Racism Divides moves to a stunning purpose-built centre.
FURD has been campaigning for improved youth facilities in the Sharrow area of Sheffield for over a decade.
Now thanks to grants from Football Foundation and the Government’s Myplace initiative through the Big Lottery Fund, FURD is moving to a new £2.5m youth facility adjacent to Lowfield School.
FURD will run the centre working together with the support of Sheffield City Council.
The U-MIX Centre is one of a new generation of youth centres purposefully designed to meet the needs of young people. Youngsters from the Sharrow area formed a steering group to ensure the centre met their needs and were instrumental in design.
The U-MIX Centre houses a gym, dance studio, performance area, sound studio, a rooftop terrace and a 3G synthetic football pitch which has received funding of £350,000 from the Football Foundation.
The building, designed by Kath Basilio, also has an IT suite, prayer room, one to one space, training room and information and resources centre.
Mehrun Ahmed, Co-ordinator at FURD, wants to see the whole community use the centre as well as local young people.“This centre is a fantastic new facility for the communities of Lowfield and Sharrow, particularly the young people. FURD has lobbied for a centre like this for more than 10 years and to finally move into the building is a hugely positive step.
“The young members of the Urban Mixtures steering group who have driven this project forward deserve a lot of credit. The whole process has been inspirational and we are now working towards the official opening in September."
Local hero, footballer, Kyle Walker has pledged to be there at the official opening and FURD is awaiting a date in Jessica Ennis’ diary. The Olympic superstar has been a big supporter of the U-MIX Centre having grown up close by. The official opening is scheduled for late September.
When U-Mix opens fully it will be home to community groups, youth activities and health initiatives. The 3G pitches will be available to rent as will the other facilities in the centre.