Small changes help you and support businesses

Richard Pilgrim of Sheffield BIDRichard Pilgrim of Sheffield BID
Richard Pilgrim of Sheffield BID
It’s time to step out and explore the new city centre, said Richard Pilgrim of Sheffield BID. “Why not come in and see how it’s changed?”

Since late 2017, the Sheffield Business Improvement District (BID) has encouraged Sheffielders to shop at local city centre businesses via the Sheffield Gift Card. And throughout November, there’ll be a daily prize draw to win a Sheffield Gift Card worth £10 if you make a walking, cycling, wheeling or public transport journey of half a mile or more after signing up to the city’s free BetterPoints Sheffield scheme at

The scheme, supported by Sheffield Council, the University of Sheffield and local NHS trusts, encourages people to try healthier and sustainable journeys throughout the city by awarding points for every car-free travel trip recorded on the free BetterPoints app.

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Points are then redeemed as vouchers at local cafes and businesses, or switched to financial donations to local and national charities.

Space for Cycling ride in Sheffield centreSpace for Cycling ride in Sheffield centre
Space for Cycling ride in Sheffield centre

The daily November prize draws for users will also support city centre businesses in the run up to Christmas, said Richard Pilgrim.

“It’s about rewarding people for making a positive choice when they get around, if they can,”he said. “It’s good for the local area, and more walking, cycling and public transport use frees up space on the roads and in car parks for those people who may need to use their cars to come to the city centre.”

It’s now widely recognised that walkers and cyclists visit more smaller local shops, and often spend more when they visit, so the link with BetterPoints will reduce air pollution and congestion as well as increase trade.

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Richard added that travelling around on foot or by bike is a good way to see how the city centre is changing following the Heart of the City investment over the last two years. Next week Sheffield BID will launch their Sheffield Christmas Trail initiative to help visitors explore the new Sheffield centre.

Richard Pilgrim with Ruth Maher-Heslip of Sheffield Gift Card venue 1554 Cafe at Sheffield CathedralRichard Pilgrim with Ruth Maher-Heslip of Sheffield Gift Card venue 1554 Cafe at Sheffield Cathedral
Richard Pilgrim with Ruth Maher-Heslip of Sheffield Gift Card venue 1554 Cafe at Sheffield Cathedral

“We're delighted with the response to BetterPoints Sheffield so far, with 4,600 Sheffielders earning rewards for making healthier journeys,” said Jack Windle of BetterPoints Sheffield, adding that the scheme is linking up with other shops and cafes around Sheffield too.

Several of Sheffield’s park-based cafes will soon be joining BetterPoints by offering hot drinks or other discounts for BetterPoints vouchers, with Endcliffe Park Cafe set to be the first in early November.

“One participant told us they have started parking fifteen minutes' walk from work so they move more every day,” said Jack Windle. “Another said they have noticed more going on in their area since replacing their shorter car journeys by walking instead. These small changes have big benefits for individuals, neighbourhoods and for the city as a whole.”

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The Sheffield Gift Card was launched pre Covid and the lockdowns which kept people away from the city centre, but interest in the scheme is now growing again among city centre traders, with subtle differences mirroring the changing role of the city centre in Sheffield, said Richard.

Heart of the City in constructionHeart of the City in construction
Heart of the City in construction

“Although people still use the card for buying in shops, we think there’s been a change towards more people using it for entertainment and experiences, for a treat like visiting the theatres or eating out,” he said. “The city centre is changing, you have people coming here to go bowling or play crazy golf, or even axe throwing!”

There are currently 85 traders within the Inner Ring Road taking part in the gift card scheme, and Sheffield BID is keen to see more joining in, with a digital version of the card coming soon. The card must be spent at the store or venue (not online) and organisers are keen for local independent traders to take part, with 50% of participating businesses already in that category.

“In November people will be able to build up points by walking around the city centre, and discovering lots of new places,” said Richard Pilgrim. “These days, there’s always something new to see.”


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