Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre (LSAC) faces permanent closure under a cost saving proposal by Active Leeds, which is run by Leeds City Council.
The centre provides a large array of watersports and outdoor activities including canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing, as well as archery, an orienteering course, off site climbing, an indoor caving experience, off road and mountain biking, and a park with classroom space.
But the council faces a £119m budget shortfall for 2021/22, due partly to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on council services and revenue collection, as well as funding cuts from successive governments since 2010.
Campaigners are now planning a community takeover of the centre, which is inclusive and caters for people with disabilities, if the council chooses to stop funding it.
They are calling businesses, community organisations and social enterprises to join them in forming a bid for a community asset transfer.
Jackie Friend, of Save LSAC, said: “Our group has been pushing for the council to retain the centre.
"If they refuse to keep this irreplaceable resource, we must find a different way forward.
"Schools, community organisations, and local residents of all ages are desperate to get back to the activities they love.
"Keeping active outside has never been so important to people.”
An online event to discuss a possible asset transfer is scheduled for Thursday, February 11, at 7pm.
Businesses and social enterprises are encouraged to register their interest by emailing [email protected]
Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel, who has previous experience of developing similar community bids for council assets, is backing the campaign.
He said: “LSAC is a hugely important resource in our community, and we cannot let it close without a fight.
"The Save LSAC campaign have been effective and strategic in the way they have gone about their campaigning efforts so far.
"We need a joined-up approach and make a big push for community ownership in order to save the sailing centre for all its current and future users.
"If you are a business, community organisation or social enterprise who might be able to join our group, please do register your interest for the event.”
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “The activities at LSAC are used by many schools and young people across the city and provide excellent facilities for those with disabilities and also BAME communities to become water confident and enjoy water based sports.
"There is no other service like it in Leeds, to close the centre would deprive many of the opportunity to learn about water safety and to enjoy open water activities.
"We will work together to try to secure a future for the much loved and much used LSAC.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.