Venue visitors are on the rise in Sheffield

Lionel Richie performing at the Sheffield Arena

Lionel Richie performing at the Sheffield Arena

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VISITOR numbers for Sheffield’s cultural and sporting attractions are mostly on the up – despite people tightening their purse strings in the economic climate.

A Sheffield Council report predicts – based on figures so far this financial year – that total visitor numbers to facilities run by Sheffield International Venues, ranging from sports centres and Don Valley Stadium to the Motorpoint Arena, are expected to rise to 3,695,078 in 2012-13, up from 3,692,629 last year.

Recent big names to visit the Arena include Lionel Richie and The Killers, while the sporting venues hosted pre-Olympic training camps for athletes.

Meanwhile, Museums Sheffield has released figures showing 1,473,000 visits were made to Weston Park Museum, Millennium Gallery and Graves Gallery in 2011-12, compared with 1,440,055 in 2010-11.

Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust recorded 69,225 visits in 2011-12, up from 60,675 in 2010-11.

The organisation, which runs Kelham Island and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet museums, is expecting visitors to increase to 72,454 in 2012-13.

The only fall was recorded by Sheffield Theatres, where visitors were slightly lower last year, at 402,388, than in 2010-11, when 402,620 people attended performances at The Crucible Theatre, Crucible Studio and Lyceum Theatre.

The theatres are expecting a further fall to 390,000 visits in 2012-13.

Of the SIV venues, City Hall and Ponds Forge are expecting lower visitor numbers in 2012-13 compared with 2011-12.

Paul Billington, council director of culture, said: “The trusts play a major role in marketing the city, attract many visitors and are an important element in the quality of life for citizens of the city and indeed the region.”

He said the council currently provides a subsidy of £8.6 million a year for the four trusts, equating to £1.40 per visit, while funding is also received from the Arts Council and other national sources.

He said Sheffield Theatres is aiming to attract more crowds by providing a ‘more commercial programme’ at the Lyceum, subsidising The Crucible and Crucible Studio.

Attractions in numbers:

Total number of visitors at Sheffield venues this year - 5.9m

Annual Sheffield Council subsidy to sports anbd cultural facilities - £8.6m

Number of annual visits to sites run by Sheffield International Venues - 3.69m

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