Sheffield City Council (SCC) is currently undertaking a study to determine just how significant outdoor pursuits are in Sheffield. As we’re well aware, there are loads of cyclists, climbers, runners and cavers who call this great city home. In order to guide future policy, SCC need to quantify the beneficial economic, health and social effects of that concentration of adventure nuts and this survey is part of that process.
The survey is the result of some of us wondering one day what a list of Sheffield outdoor legends would look like. That list evolved from the usual suspects, bikers Abi Taylor and Steve Peat through to climbers Steve McClure and Lucy Creamer, into a kind of “This is what outdoor pursuits contributes to Sheffield” crib sheet. Once a few influential members of the council had been made aware of our initial findings it suddenly developed a head of steam. Much of the interest was probably directly related to the fact that we managed to get turnover figures from a number of businesses that are directly or indirectly related to outdoor pursuits – 13 firms contributing just shy of £40m to Sheffield’s economy.
Now SCC have commissioned a study of which this survey forms a part. There is much for Sheffield to gain from being recognised as the Outdoor Capital of the UK in terms of greater tourism and national recognition. Equally, if they realise outdoor pursuits enthusiasts are all over the city like rash, they might be prepared to invest more heavily in the sector – there’s approx 2000ha of green space in Sheff that could form the basis for bike trails, more boulders etc etc. There are lots of economic and health benefits that could accrue from this, but the first thing is to make SCC aware of just how much is going on in their midst!
So, please take five minutes to let them know what a great place this is to be a mountain biker!