A THRIVING sports centre will get a raft of improvements to make it a hub of excellence, inspiring the next generation of athletes.

The Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Cudworth has experienced significant increases of use following the development of new Football Association-accredited all-weather football pitches in 2018.

The pitch cost £350,000 and was delivered by the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and although it is suitable for 11-a-side matches, the centre, on Snydale Road, accommodates smaller training sessions to attract nine, seven and five-a-side teams in an effort to boost grassroots football in Barnsley.

The success of the venue has seen teams from across the region coming to train and play bringing a significant increase in participation in football, but more sports will be included in the latest package of work paid for through

Section 106 funds, cash set aside by housing developers for loss of amenity.

A Barnsley Council statement said: “To make sure the venue can to continue to thrive and grow, both the council and site operator Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) are pleased to announce that further investment will be made.

“Plans are in place to replace the athletics track, enhance the field sports facilities including a new throwing cage, upgrade the spectator stand, create additional team changing facilities and implement new energy-efficient lighting.

“Due to the continued success of the facility and the need to provide additional parking to ease congestion on event days, the car park for the site will also be increased with the current skate park facility being removed, with funding secured for a new skate and BMX facility at The Valley, a recreation ground on nearby Barnsley Road.”

The venue is named after former European and Commonwealth champion Dorothy Hyman, the Cudworth-born sprinter who also won a silver and two bronze medals at two Olympics in Rome, 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.

Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, added: “This investment is fantastic news for the Cudworth community and anyone who uses this facility.

“We hope these improvements, which are made possible by Section 106 money, will provide even more opportunities for our residents to move more and lead healthy, active lives.”

The work is set to begin in the spring, the Chronicle can reveal, and BPL chief executive Tim Wilson hailed the improvements as a big step forward for the venue’s ability to nurture home-grown talent.

“They will enable more people access to fantastic sporting facilities,” he added.

“The venue continues to attract sporting events from across the region which has a tremendous benefit for our borough, and these investments will ensure that this continues.

“With 2020 being an Olympic year, we’re delighted that Barnsley will continue to have first-class athletics facilities which will enable our future Olympians the chance to develop.”

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton, who also represents the Cudworth ward, praised the facility’s contribution to improving health and fitness of residents.

“It really is a fantastic facility – not just for Cudworth but the rest of Barnsley, too,” he added.

“What will be done here in the coming months presses all the right buttons because it boosts health and gets people involved in sport at a first-class venue.”