A NEWLY reopened community venue will be officially launched with an open day and gala evening later this month (Saturday, April 26).

Leaders of Sherburn Aset (Academy of Sport, Education and Training), which opened in the former Sherburn leisure centre earlier this year, are inviting villagers, businesses and others to find out more about their plans for the facility on Saturday, April 26.

Bosses from community interest company Seconds Out want to offer sport, exercise, education and training but also want to hear what residents want provided.

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Director Steve Gilling said: “We want the centre to not only be a sports-based facility but tap into lots of different areas. I hope people will really buy into it.

“The support of the local councillors and parish council has been fundamental to making this a success.

“We’re delighted to get to the point where we can say to the public: this is what it’s all about.

“We hope the work that’s gone in over the last few months will allow people to embrace it and make it sustainable in future.”

Since getting the keys in November, Seconds Out has installed a new gym and young offenders have redecorated the place, under a restorative justice scheme.

Sherburn Parish Council and county councillors Stephen Guy and David Hall are supporting the venture, with Coun Guy saying it would help tackle obesity, worklessness and education issues.

“It’s a win-win. We keep a community building open and our young people get access to health and fitness,” he said.

Seconds Out has a 35-year peppercorn lease from the building’s owners, Durham County Council, and the venture has created nine new jobs.

The council-run leisure centre closed in October 2011 and although it was reopened by Sherburn Future in March 2012, the doors shut again last summer.

The Saturday, April 26 open day runs from 10am to 1pm, including free taster sessions, classes, demonstrations, discounts and information.

The gala evening will feature presentations, entertainment and light refreshments. It is invitation-only. But for more information, call 0191-372-2511.