FROM THE EDITOR: Why the brightest city lights will need help to emerge stronger after the coronvirus crisis
None of us will be surprised to see the devastation caused to our city centre attractions during lockdown.
The figures are staggering and, while we are not alone in this fight, the answers will only come from within our city as it will take every one of us to pull together towards a solution. But even that won’t be enough without heavyweight national backing.
It is easy to dismiss cultural attractions as mere entertainment and a bit of sparkle but we are talking thousands of jobs and a severe dent in our economy if we don’t help them to thrive, or even survive.
I still think Sheffielders are a little bit guilty of holding our favourite things too tightly to our chest.
Do we shout enough about the amazing places on offer in our own city?
Are we still half a million bashful folk who don’t like to show off when it comes to the best bits, even though in keeping quiet we miss out on one of the most powerful promotion tools in Sheffield’s armour?
With the best will in the world, we can’t do this without help.
We need to attract people into the city to spend their money, to visit our venues and to enjoy our shows.
As we emerge from lockdown we also need the government to appreciate how important culture is to economies in the north and invest.
I have written many times in The Star about how Sheffield is always bottom of the pile for this kind of national cash.
If ever we needed local politicians, businesses and institutions to step up and lead this fight for us, it is now.
It is great to see the University of Sheffield pushing this vitally important agenda but we must acknowledge that, when it comes to investment, we were on the back foot long before the word coronavirus was added to our vocabulary.
There were some green shoots of unity in this sector just before the pandemic closed everything down but it wasn’t enough then and it most certainly needs more now.
None of us want to imagine what our city centre would be like without the wonderful twinkling lights of our theatres or the ever changing faces of Sheffield pride that our museums and galleries display so marvellously.
We want more not less and we can do this if we have one coordinated voice… oh, yes we can.