Covid archive and trail planned for Sheffield – and pandemic memorial a possibility for Peace Gardens

Sheffield could have a trail and an archive to mark the pandemic but there are still no firm plans for a city centre Covid memorial.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 9:56 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:41 pm

A Covid Memorial Group, made up of different organisations in the city, has come up with two ideas.

A memorial archive will allow people to leave memories of loved ones lost during the pandemic or celebrate the coming together of communities.

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Sheffield Council has no detailed plans for a Covid memorial in the city

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Sheffield Peace Gardens is one possible location for a Covid memorial to mark the pandemic

And a memorial trail will be created covering a number of geographical areas, overseen by the council’s Local Area Committees working with communities.

Plans for a city centre memorial, its design and a site still need to be finalised.

How will the memorials be paid for?

Paul Taylor, of Sheffield Council, says memorial activity needs to leave a legacy: “The group is mindful of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain communities and geographical areas of Sheffield and that this should be reflected in memorial activity.

“Timing has also been important to the group, given that the pandemic appears to have no tangible end point in sight.”

A £357,000 underspend of public health money will be used – £25,000 for the Archive, £132,000 for the Trail and £200,000 for a memorial.

The report adds: “There’s a suggestion that some form of public subscription could enable citizens to make a contribution to the costs of the memorial and plans could be scoped up and extended. This will be considered further.”

Memorial trail

The report says: “The trail can be followed and will end up at any centralised memorial site.

“There is still some discussion as to whether the memorial sites should be assigned some sort of blank template, similar to the Bears of Sheffield model, or each site be given a free hand.”

One suggestion is that each Local Area Committee commissions an artist to work with them on what their element of the memorial trail might look like. Tree planting is also an option.

The group is considering how the points on the trail can be used for “reflection and contemplation” possibly with QR codes that can be scanned into mobiles, although that is an added cost.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals would like the Northern General and Hallamshire to form part of the trail and their charities may be willing to help fund these.

City centre memorial

The report says: “The city centre memorial is a key aspect and will be of major importance to citizens and the group envisages a good deal of discussion with communities as to what any site should look like

“Once the general principles of the memorial are agreed then a tendering process will commence for the design and build.”

The proposed Pounds Park site was originally discussed but discarded as the tone of the site seemed out of step with a memorial.

The Peace Gardens is a possibility, but the council says there are a range of other options.

The aim is that all memorial activities should be completed by Autumn 2022. Once the memorial is in place, the group says there should be some sort of Covid commemoration event to mark its launch.