New strategy to celebrate and understand Sheffield's heritage like Robin Hood and sword dancing

Sword dance performed on Boxing Day in Grenoside, Sheffield.Sword dance performed on Boxing Day in Grenoside, Sheffield.
Sword dance performed on Boxing Day in Grenoside, Sheffield.
Sheffield Council has adopted a new heritage strategy to “understand the city’s past” and “influence the future”, celebrating elements like Robin Hood and sword dancing.

At last week’s strategy and resources policy committee meeting, members were asked to adopt a brand new heritage strategy, developed by Joined Up Heritage Sheffield, a charitable organisation championing the city’s rich heritage.

A document published ahead of the meeting stated that last February, a full council motion on “driving forward the heritage strategy for Sheffield” was endorsed – and the development of an city council heritage action plan arising from the Sheffield heritage strategy was agreed.

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The Joined Up Sheffield Heritage Strategy vision is that by 2030, Sheffield will come to:

Understand and celebrate its heritage

Champion a diverse heritage reflecting diverse Sheffield

Exploit the economic potential of heritage

Support the educational value of heritage

Strengthen the resonance of heritage with people today, and recognise its relevance to the future

At the meeting last week (February 21), a statement from Robin Hughes, of Joined Up Heritage Sheffield, was read out.

In that, Mr Hughes said: “To give last year’s decision and today’s resolution full force, that energy must be explicit in every plan and strategy of the council, recognising the impact on the heritage of the council’s work; but heritage must and will earn its keep.

“The question is not just what the council can do for heritage, but what benefits heritage can bring to the council’s work.

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“Heritage already threads its way, sometimes invisibly, through all the work of the council.

“The council Plan for 2024-2028 is driven by people, prosperity and planet. Heritage matters because people matter. Knowing our heritage gives us our sense of identity and belonging.

“Our valued stories and traditions connect us within and between our communities, anchor us in the places that we call home, and underpin our wellbeing.”

Mr Hughes finished his letter by adding “heritage is much more than who we were in the past: it defines who we will be in the future”.

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In Sheffield, a report added, intangible heritage includes Sheffield Carols, sword dancing, Carnival, traditions of Little Mesters and industry, sporting heritages, outdoor heritage, Robin Hood and much more.

As part of the strategy, a dedicated heritage officer post “would create a step-change” in the focus and energy which the council could apply to heritage issues.

Members of the strategy and resources policy committee voted for the proposal (and the recommendations) unanimously.