A unique project which aims to fill vacant retail spaces is helping to breathe new life into Sheffield city centre.
A number of businesses have had to move out of their premises through compulsory purchase orders to make way for major new building projects in recent years.
This has left several empty units - but ReNew Sheffield is helping to provide funding for start-up businesses to fill these void spaces.
The idea is to fill these empty buildings with temporary projects and pop-up firms until the time comes that they need to move on to make way for construction work.
This means that the empty units are at least filled in the interim with businesses to ensure the city centre retains its vibrant appeal.
There are currently five start-up firms operating thanks to help from ReNew.
Felicity Hoy, who is involved with the ReNew Sheffield project, said: “Every city goes through periods of time where development is halted or delayed.
“Sheffield unfortunately has seen a lot of this, waiting for over 10 years to see the beginnings of the New Retail Quarter.
“These times mean compulsory purchase orders leave many buildings empty and unused. There’s nothing worse for a city centre than empty shops. Temporary projects fill these voids and keep the city centre vibrant.”
The project was set up two years ago and is supported by Sheffield City Council, Sheffield BID, Wake Smith Solicitors, Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield. It was inspired by similar initiatives across the UK and the world, such as Gap Filler in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was set up in response to the September 2010 earthquake which destroyed much of the city centre.
Felicity added: “So far many projects have been funded by ReNew.
“They are start up businesses and they need the support of the public. Again, as Christmas creeps upon us it’s important to realise that this is the time to support the people making in our city. These projects can only survive if they are supported financially by Sheffield people.”
Women’s fashion and jewellery store Roseannah was the first shop to open with the support of ReNew funding in Orchard Square.
In addition No. 70 book store opened and gig ticketing and events store Alt Seen Eye recently opened in Pinstone Street. The Sheffield Makers shop in the Winter Gardens and ‘pay as you feel’ cafe Food Hall opened in Eyre Street.