Council funding will empower communities to transform high streets

Business led community groups will deliver new event spaces, improved shopfronts and street art thanks to £2 million of investment into neighbourhoods by Sheffield City Council.

The funding will support local high streets and improve public spaces areas to create vibrant, thriving neighbourhoods. Across Sheffield, 23 projects will benefit from investment from the Economic Recovery Fund, which was developed as part of Sheffield’s Covid Business Recovery Plan and has already invested £2.2m into the city’s high streets since 2021.

Funding has been approved for projects including a new short-term event space on Northern Avenue, Arbourthorne, which will host events, workshops and drop-in sessions for local residents and businesses; a new community orchard in Crookes, and new heritage trails and events in Ecclesfield. In other areas, new bins, benches, murals and improved shop fronts will help brighten up high streets, encourage people to shop local and provide spaces for the local community to meet and socialise.

Councillor Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Development and Skills Committee, said: “It is fantastic to invest more money into our local communities and to hand over funding to groups who know their areas best and can deliver improvements to benefit local residents.

“More than half of these projects are in Sheffield’s most deprived areas and I am proud that we are awarding funding to those areas that need it most. We have seen some creative and ambitious projects, including tree planting in Firth Park, a herb garden and street art in Westfield, and a programme of events for Christmas, Eid and Lunar New Year for London Road.

“As a member of the steering group for the Economic Recovery Fund, it has been brilliant to see the passion, commitment and enthusiasm of business and community groups who are determined to create thriving high streets which residents can be proud of. I am looking forward to supporting these groups as they deliver their projects, and seeing the finished results.”  

Councillor Zahira Naz, Chair of the Finance Committee, said: “Investment from the Economic Recovery Fund will provide a much needed boost for local high streets still feeling the impact of the pandemic. By improving how neighbourhoods look, funding events and attractions, and supporting initiatives to encourage people to shop local, we’re helping to attract visitors, generate community pride and improve business confidence. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact these 23 projects have on their local area.”

On London Road, the team will create a new collective identity for the area with new banners, planters and a mural for the Alderson Road car park. They’ll also bring people together with a programme of events for Eid, Christmas and Lunar New Year.

Abdullah Khalid, who owns a business on London Road, said: “This is a really exciting time for our group. We’re planning a variety of activities to make London Road cleaner and safer for residents and businesses.

“This includes a borrow bank of equipment to keep the area tidy; multicultural events bringing the community together; improvements to the car park and shop fronts, to uplift the area; and creating a brand for London Road.

“We expect to deliver a more attractive and welcoming environment, and tackle antisocial behaviour. We want more people to use their local area and businesses, and celebrate the unique diverse community we have on London Road.”

In Greenhill, money from the Economic Recovery Fund will be used to plant new greenery to enhance the central area of Greenhill and a promotional campaign encouraging people to shop local. 

Lindy Stone, coordinator of Growing Greenhill, which will receive money from the fund, said: “This is the heart of Greenhill’s shopping area, with 35 businesses. It’s a little bit tired and we’re really pleased that Economic Recovery Fund money is going to improve the look of this through green planting and artwork. We’re also looking to the way in which we will be able to promote the area to have more people shopping local. Greenhill is a warm and friendly community, with people who use the school and library at its heart, we’d like more people to make use of our businesses.”

Funding for the latest round of Economic Recovery Fund investment was approved by Sheffield City Council’s Finance Committee on 11 September 2023. Projects are set to be completed by September 2024. Find out more at sheffield.gov.uk/business/recovery-fund.

Projects will received funding subject to due diligence and successful completion of Economic Recovery Fund One projects.

The Economic Recovery Fund is overseen by a Steering Group made up of Councillors, senior officers and four private/community sector representatives:

  • Cllr Martin Smith (Chair of Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee – EDPS)
  • Cllr Minesh Parekh (Deputy Chair of EDPS Committee)
  • Cllr Henry Nottage (Group Spokesperson on EDSP)
  • Diana Buckley (Director, Economic Development, Culture and Skills)
  • Carl Mullooly (Head of Local Area Committee Team)
  • Ben Morley (Head of Strategic Development and External Programmes)
  • Javed Khan (Metro Bank)
  • Shahida Siddique (Faith Star)
  • Amy Tingle (City Cabs)
  • Tom Wolfenden (Sheffield Technology Parks)

The full list of successful projects is as follows. Updates will be provided on the Council’s ERF webpage at quarterly intervals.

London Road: The team will create a new collective identity for the area with new banners, planters and a mural for the Alderson Road car park. They’ll also bring people together with a programme of events for Eid, Christmas and Lunar New Year.

Northern Avenue: The local project team plan to create a short-term space for a programme of events, workshops and drop-in sessions for the local community. They’ll also deliver street art to brighten shutters and gable ends, and improvements to make the high street more inviting, from new bins to Christmas lights.

Spital Hill:  The team have applied for further funding to build on their first ERF project with shutter art, murals, engagement with young people, and a documentary film about the area.

Westfield: ‘Westfield Matters’ will improve the local street scene with benches, bins, and improved green spaces, including a new herb garden. They’ll also bring new artwork to shutters and the footpath wall leading to the shops, and run events to being the community together.

Woodhouse: The Revive Woodhouse team achieved a huge amount with a smaller pot of funding in the last round, and have applied for further funding to continue the event programme and install new signage to better direct people to the  local businesses.

Abbeydale: ‘Independent Abbeydale’ seeks to give the area a fresh new identity and improvements to the public realm.

Banner Cross: The Banner cross team hope to deliver marketing activity, new benches and banners to improve the perception of their high street.

Broomhill: After a transformative first project, the team have applied for further funding to extend street greening, refresh lamp post banners and deliver some street art, all in keeping with the area’s status as a conservation area.

Chapeltown: After a successful project in ERF1, the Choose Chapeltown team have applied for further funding to keep their events programme and marketing campaign going, and commission additional new benches for the retail area.

Crookes: ‘Crookes Collective’ will create a new community orchard in their area, as well as a programme of events and improvements to the street scene including planters and street art.

Darnall: ‘Discover Darnall’ will make the area a destination with new welcome signage and artwork, street food events and a campaign to stop litter.

Ecclesfield: The team plan to reimagine the branding of the high street and create new heritage trails and events with market stalls, getting people to explore the area in new ways. They’ll also bring together a business group to help keep positive change going.

Firth Park: The team have applied for further funding to plant trees, decorate shutters and run an events programme as part of ‘Family Friendly Firth Park’.

Greenhill: The Growing Greenhill project will see new planting to enhance the central area of Greenhill and a promotional campaign encouraging people to ‘shop local’. 

Hackenthorpe: With new lamppost banners, street scene improvements, festive decorations and shutter art, the Hackenthorpe team want to give their area a lift.

Harborough Avenue: The team will bring new life to the area with events, public art, Christmas decorations, new banners and signage, as well as improving shared doors.

Heeley and Newfield Greens: The team will brighten up their high street with new greenery, improved lighting and canopies, events and shutter art.

Hillsborough: The Hillsborough team has applied for further funding to build on their events programme, extend the programme of shop front improvements and shutter art, and deliver a calendar of business workshops.

Infirmary Road: ‘Next Stop Infirmary Road’ will establish a trader and community forum to make sustainable positive change in the area, as well as brightening the parade of shops with store front improvements, benches, planters and signage.

Lowedges: Lowedges Boost will bring new double bins and benches to the high street, as well as a shutter-art project and a fresh coat of paint for the parade pillars. 

Middlewood: With new benches and bins, planting and street art, the Middlewood team want to make their high street a destination for local people.

Stannington: Connecting Stannington aims to bring locals and visitors to the high street through a promotional campaign and a programme of events. Shop front improvements, new benches and bike racks will give the shopping areas a lift and encourage people to spend time there.

Walkley: The team have applied for further funding to deliver shop front improvements, public art and signage, as well as supporting Walkley Festival and re-establishing the local business forum.

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