Outdoor City plan to boost business

Business Sheffield meeting at JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre. Picture: Andrew Roe

Business Sheffield meeting at JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre. Picture: Andrew Roe

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Sheffield has been an outdoor Mecca for decades - attracting thousands of enthusiasts and creating a booming sector - now the city council says: “We get it.”

Officials have created a new brand - Outdoor City - and launched it with a plan to boost the sector - worth £52m-a-year to the city.

The authority also organised an event attended by more than 100 businesspeople who were urged to take advantage of free advice and grants of up to £3,000.

Di Buckley, of Creative Sheffield - the council’s business arm - told an audience at JG Graves Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods the outdoor economy was now a “signature sector.”

She added: “People choose to live, work and play in Sheffield because of the outdoor offering.

“Sheffield City Council has got it. We want to help, you are very entrepreneurial and can move faster than the council, we want to get out of your way.

“We are re-profiling Sheffield as the Outdoor City - it’s already taking on a life of its own.”

In December, 71 per cent of those polled in BBC Countryfile Magazine said Sheffield was the best UK city for countryside lovers.

Residents spend £93m-a-year on outdoor recreation and there are more than 225 businesses in the sector, employing 2,000, she added.

But ‘Outdoor Capital’ will not be used - it was claimed by Fort William in the Scottish Highlands more than a decade ago.

Zoe Spriggins, centre manager of Awesome Walls climbing wall in Brightside, said: “We’ve only been open 18 months but we really want to get involved in helping to promote the city.

“We bring in international competitors from all over the world and a lot of the British climbing team members have chosen to live in the city.”

Outdoor clothing designer Tim Fish employs seven at his studio and workshop on Alderson Road near Bramall Lane. Clients include Adidas and Salomon.

Titanium climbing safety bolt manufacturer, Martin Roberts, of Oughtibridge, received a £3,000 Business Sheffield grant and is planning his first hire, he said.

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