Thursday 8 October 2015

It was launched earlier this year as an innovative and ambitious drive to engage the best brains from around the world in driving the city forward.
And now the second of three Sheffield International Economic Commissions (SIEC) is to take place – based around Sheffield’s re-profiling as The Outdoor City.

By using the name “The Outdoor City” when describing Sheffield, the city is positioning itself as the UK’s leading destination for people seeking outdoor adventure, city culture and rural escapes.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield’s natural topography and geology is famous amongst climbers, walkers, runners and cyclists. But it is the proximity between city living and outdoor pursuits that gives Sheffield its unique identity.

“People who live in Sheffield often cite the easy access to the outdoors and their own community of climbers, walkers, runners and cyclists as reasons for staying in or coming to the city. We want to build on this, bring new tourists into the city and encourage outdoor-based businesses to base themselves here – where so many outdoor businesses have succeeded already.

“And we’ll be doing this through The Outdoor City Strategy to grow our outdoor economy; by making the name Sheffield synonymous with the outdoors; and also by showcasing our offering as The Outdoor City through a brand-new website, which will launch soon.”

In 2014 Sheffield City Council commissioned the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University to produce a report that would help understand the economic impact and potential of outdoor recreation in the city.

Since then Sheffield City Council has been working with organisations and individuals from the outdoors sector to grow and refine the city’s outdoor offering.

Now, the Sheffield International Economic Commission around the theme of The Outdoor City is set to be held around the European Outdoor Summit (EOS), which is set to welcome more than 300 delegates to Sheffield City Hall.

An event will also be held to launch the consultation of The Outdoor City strategy on Friday 16 October and will hear from a panel of experts.
This is the second Sheffield International Economic Commission, the first of which was held in January this year on the theme of Advanced Manufacturing.

Coun Bramall added: “The point of these International Economic Commissions is that they’re very much about ‘doing’ – not about meetings and presentations – but about moving forward with creativity and confidence, with input from movers and shakers across the world.

“We have all these wonderful natural assets, and it is vital that we make the most of them, which is what The Outdoor City strategy is all about.”
The 2014 Sheffield Hallam University study found that outdoor recreation in Sheffield generates more than £53m in economic output a year, in addition to engaging people in outdoor activity and generating significant health benefits.

It found that Sheffield’s passion for the outdoors generates a higher than average expenditure on trips and outdoor gear, with total consumer spending on the outdoors estimated at being around £93m a year.

Meanwhile, the city also has the highest household spend on outdoor equipment in the country, and more than 200 outdoor equipment businesses, including Go Outdoors, the UK’s largest specialist retailer of camping equipment, tents, outdoor clothing and footwear, and Planet X, which sells more than 10,000 bicycle products worldwide.

Maxine Gregory, senior research fellow for the Sport Industry Research Centre, who carried out the research into Sheffield – The Outdoor City, is one of the panel members for the forthcoming International Economic Commission.
She said: “Sheffield has recently played host to Le Grand Depart and Sheffield Grand Prix cycling, has one of the world’s best known mountain bikers in Steve Peat and a global ambassador in Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“Building on our research, the next step is to continue to enhance our reputation for outdoor activities and shout it from the rooftops.
“I’m happy to play a part in this panel to emphasise and help shape Sheffield City Region’s world class outdoor offer and to support further development.”

Other panellists, as well as Coun Bramall and Ms Gregory, are Andrew Denton, CEO of the Outdoor Industries Association; Marc Etches, Secretary of Sheffrec CC and vice chairman of British Cycling Yorkshire Region; and John Jansen, Managing Director of KEEN EMEA and President of the European Outdoor Group.

The all-new Outdoor City website will also launch during the European Outdoor Summit. Written by Sheffield’s outdoor enthusiasts, it features photographs, articles, essential information and more on what makes Sheffield the UK’s premier city for people who love the outdoors.
At the same time, a new The Outdoor City social media presence is being established across Twitter, Facebook and Instragram. Follow @TheOutdoorCity and use #TheOutdoorCity to find out more.