The city is proud, creative, welcoming and authentic and offers event organisers a fusion of urban and outdoor options.
The breath of fress air is literal: three years ago Sheffield rebranded itself as The Outdoor City, a recognition of its unique position as the only major UK city to have a national park within its boundary (a third of the city lies within the Peak District National Park known locally as Sheffield’s back garden).
An outdoor DNA also runs through the city’s population. Sheffield boasts more than 10,000 climbers and spends 3.2 times more per head on outdoor equipment than anywhere else in the UK.
Conference organisers can leverage this tradition for events and take advantage of the proximity of country beauty spots such as Chatsworth for gala dinners and receptions (14 miles from the city centre), either separately or in combination with a city centre venue or hotel.
Creating new conference specialisms
Emma France, head of business visits and events at Marketing Sheffield, says the city is very much back in the meetings business
2017 was a big year for Sheffield. The value of conference business to the city had increased again and the 10th year of our ambassador programme saw us celebrating some fantastic ambassador-led events and recruiting the next generation.
Increased success in the international market saw us join the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and proactively target events in our key sectors in partnership with our ambassadors.
Our role as a bureau is even more focused on attracting events that support, develop and cement our intellectual capital.
We are a city with a reputation for internationally recognised research in both of our universities, and across our teaching hospitals and the development of new research centres is fast paced.
Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre is set to become the world’s most advanced R&D centre for physical activity. It is making ground-breaking research into health problems like obesity and dementia.
The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre specialises in aerospace, automotive and healthcare and has partnerships with Boeing, McLaren Automotive and Rolls Royce – exciting catalysts for winning events.
It’s so interesting to work with experts across the city who lead the way in such a variety of areas-from child health technology to orthopaedics (it makes sense that the city that gave you steel also gives you joints!), healthcare technology, coeliac disease and gluten-related disorders… I could keep going. And we’re not just looking at attracting conferences. Some of our specialisms are so new we’re looking at creating events, too.
Six of the best
Sheffield City Hall: This Grade II listed building is a firm favourite for organisers. The venue seats 2,271 delegates and offers a variety of flexible event space in the heart of the city.
FlyDSA Arena: Sheffield’s 12,500-seater Arena has hosted conferences and exhibitions on behalf of organisations such as HSBC and UCAS but is equally at home hosting major entertainment and sporting events.
University of Sheffield: The Diamond Building is still making its mark with its modern architecture and seven lecture theatres. This is supported by a portfolio of venues including the 1,250-seater Octagon Centre, a boutique hotel and fine dining at Firth Court.
Sheffield Hallam University: Central facilities for up to 446 delegates. The new STEM Atrium space is near the train station and connects to a large auditorium and hundreds of flexible meeting rooms.
The Cutlers Hall: A venue steeped in history and grandeur and home to the Master Cutler. Famous for gala dinners, the space is adaptable for conferences up to 500. The smaller rooms suit drinks receptions and private dining and showcase the history of Sheffield’s cutlery industry throughout the ages.
Magna: Formerly one of the world’s largest steelworks, the venue now offers 4,000sqm of flexible space. Elements of the original building are still preserved adding a special feel to this blank canvas.
Source: Conference News
Author: Paul Colston