People passionate about Sheffield’s wide variety of heritage are working hard to develop a strategy to bring the city together.
The Joined Up Heritage group formed to create a unified organisation that could work on behalf of the many smaller groups working to conserve Sheffield attractions.
From Sheffield Castle and Manor Lodge to disused factories like Portland Works, the idea is to have one voice shouting about the city’s rich history.
Jon Bradley is part of the group, and helped organised its first conference earlier this year, which he described as ‘very positive’,
“We had 130 people in the room and the passion and interest was palpable,” he said.
Since then, many groups have come forward and offered to help put a strategy together.
“It’s exciting and people feel that its really overdue,” said Jon. “I’m excited that we have somehow or other pulled together this bunch of passionate and very clever people to make a difference.
“That passion has always been there but it’s about getting that organised and focused.”
As well as bringing on board as many heritage groups, big and small, as possible, Joined Up Heritage is keen to work with other city organisations such as the Sheffield Culture Consortium to create a single message. This include the city council, and in particular the planning department.
“We’ve got the council’s new heritage champion Coun Ian Saunders on board,” said Jon. “We’re also building relationships with officers, particularly in planning.”
He added: “There are a lot of areas of particular and significant interest that are at risk from insensitive development. We will be looking at what are the sites and the heritage offer in the city to help sell it.
“Maybe we could mix with The Outdoor City, the City of Culture. We need to get a strong message out there and really flag up how all the different heritage venues can work together to tell that bigger story.
“In terms of the council, their role is around planning in particular. Looking after heritage and caring for it. Working sensitively in areas that have heritage value.
“That’s embedded as part of our approach.”
The group has momentum, and is already organising a follow-up conference for October 19. But there is plenty of work to be done before then.
“We are all aware that Sheffield undersells itself,” said Jon. “As an outward-facing city we don’t really say very clearly what we are to visitors.”