The Star stood up for Sheffield charities after chiefs said they had been ‘priced out’ of advertising.
Last year Sheffield Council agreed a new licence covering advertising signs on designated sites for the next 15 years ‘in order to maximise revenues to the council’ and complement the design of the city.
The round table discussion heard prices had drastically increased, and charity chiefs were not aware of any discount, which had been available under the previous contract.
“On the council rate, if you could get in, it was just about affordable if you were doing a big campaign”, said David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity.
“There’s no way we can touch that now.”
Chiefs also asked whether the new 10k run which is coming to Sheffield could be made to benefit only local causes rather than national ones.
After The Star contacted the council it confirmed charities can still access a 50 per cent discount on the new prices ‘in recognition of the important work they do’ - although it is not clear why that had not been made known previously.
Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for communities and libraries, said: “I am really grateful to The Star for bringing this issue to my attention and for giving me the chance to clarify how charities can access discounted prices.
“It’s another example of the Pride in Sheffield campaign making our great city an even better place to live.”
He said several charities preferred the ‘improved’ service as they could pick sites and update campaigns easily with new digital advertising formats.
“This improvement means there has been an increase in charges, although many charities still receive a 50 per cent discount in recognition of the important work they do for our city”, he added.
“I recognise any price increase is difficult but comparisons show that the new prices are still competitive against other outdoor displays.”
On the 10K, Coun Scott said both local and national charities would be officially represented while runners could take part for any charity unofficially. An organiser is expected to be confirmed in the near future. He added: “Often money donated to national registered charities is spent locally in Sheffield. I’m hoping to meet with race organisers in the near future to discuss exactly how they plan to decide which charities will benefit next year and to make sure the deal remains fair.”
The council will also launch a strategy for its work with the voluntary sector, and a reformed grant aid scheme, this year.