logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 25 October 2002.

Verdon Street Still In Trouble
by Rob Smith

Many voices in and around Verdon Street are still shouting for things to change, but shouts are all that seem to take place as the future of both Verdon Street Recreation Centre and The Furnival Café are presently in some doubt.

The Recreation centre opposite the Furnival Café on Verdon Street has been funded through City Council Community Recreation and used to have a community-led management committee. Sadly, the last two or three years have seen a steady decline in commitment towards the running of a recreation centre that has so much potential.

Young people’s letters of complaint, sent to the Messenger, held reports of sessions not being delivered to local youths and groups being locked out. Others focussed on the breakdown of the community management structure. Addressing this issue over a year ago Community Recreation temporarily assigned local man Leroy Betts the job of administration, user group liaison, and opening and securing the building.

From the 1st of October 2002 the funding for Leroy Betts post comes to an end, David Frith on behalf of Community Recreation explains, “there is no longer any budget allocated for staffing the centre.” In the meantime area recreation worker Paul Young will take up a part-time role developing sport and physical activity in the area. Additional staffing is uncertain at present.

Between now and March 2003 Community Recreation will operate and manage the building on a temporary basis. They will look at options for running the centre in the future, including a community organisation taking on the task.


Walking across the street to the Furnival Café those cries of a struggle continued. As I entered, Josie, at her usual station behind the café’s counter, didn’t look happy. I’d heard talk of the Furnival closing down and I wanted Jane Grinonneau to set the record straight.

“The Furnival and Verdon Street Enterprises are changing, not closing,” Jane said, though adding that the Nearly New Shop would have to close at the end of September due to a lack of custom. “As for the café and the launderette they will stay.”

Seeing Josie as not being one to dress up a crisis, I guessed a lack of custom could mean things getting tight all round. The long petition sitting on the counter in front of me, sadly spoke volumes.

Jane went on to say that the Furnival Cellar Space and Cellar After School Homework Project are very much alive and agreed that joint management arrangements for The Furnival, Verdon Street Enterprise and Verdon Street Recreation Centre could be the answer.


The Furnival Café.