Support growing for Sheffield City Region of Culture bid

Dan Jarvis MP.
Dan Jarvis MP.

Business, community and civic leaders have backed a proposal for the Sheffield City Region to bid for UK City of Culture status.

Prior to his election as Sheffield City Region mayor in May, Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis MBE outlined plans to put forward a Sheffield City Region of Culture bid to celebrate the best of the Steel City, plus Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley.

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Sheffield bid for the accolade in 2013 but lost out to Londonderry. However, there are hopes that a fresh bid could bring in millions of pounds of investment and create thousands of jobs.

While The Star understands talks are yet to get underway between Mr Jarvis and Sheffield Council, the idea is picking up momentum as a number of key figures have today voiced their support for the bid.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield is confident the city could win the bid.

He said: "There’s no doubt that being a ‘City of Culture’ brings huge benefits and, with the breadth and strength of our cultural offer, we are well placed to win the designation.

"Hull’s year as City of Culture in 2017 produced more than 2,800 events, activities, installations and exhibitions - with a total audience of 5.3 million people adding more than ¬£300 million to the economy.

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"Being a ‘City of Culture’ would not only be a huge boost to our economy for a year. It would also help market the city as an attraction for visitors and leave a lasting legacy."

Helen Featherstone, director of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, highlighted attractions such as Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust. Kelham Island Museum and the mighty River Don Engine as things that could bring in visitors.

She said: "Bidding for City of Culture is undoubtedly a great opportunity to highlight the culture that already exists in a place, to galvanise community interest and enthusiasm, and attract investment."

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Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes a bid could help to unify the city.

He said: "We think it could act as a great catalyst to getting some of our political leaders to work together on a common objective which is both exciting, visible and forward looking."

Alex Deadman, a representative for Sheffield's Tramlines Festival, said a bid would help the "creative industries" to "engage and inspire our youth."

Hannah Chaplin, aged 32, who represents Oughtibridge on Bradfield Parish Council, believes becoming UK City of Culture would "firmly place the spotlight on the diverse and welcoming city we are lucky enough to be part of."

Mr Jarvis said Sheffield's bid to bring a Creative Hub for Channel 4 to the city, plus its industrial heritage and creative output was reason to celebrate - and reason to put a bid in.

He said: "Being Sheffield City Region of Culture would demonstrate our incredible assets on a national and international scale.

"There's a real drive to make this happen. And that drive begins now."

Coventry has been announced as the first independent UK city of Culture post-Brexit in 2021, and it is expected that Sheffield would bid for the accolade for 2025.