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Stars are aligned for city centre dual slalom MTB race

22 Feb

After the success of the inaugural Howard Street Dual last year, the dual slalom race will once again challenge the stars of the UK mountain bike scene when it comes to the city centre on Saturday 10 March.

And spectators are in for an extra treat this year as, among the impressive talent set to participate, are mountain bike legend Steve Peat and one of his most successful protégés, Craig Evans.

This exhilarating dual slalom race – similar to skiing – sees riders battle head to head down a purpose-built course on Howard Street in Sheffield city centre. It brings Sheffield’s thriving mountain biking scene out of the woods and into the heart of the city.

It is one of four headline events at The Outdoor City Weekender, an action-packed adventure festival taking place at locations across Sheffield from 9 to 11 March 2018.

The event is being held later in the day than last year – from around 4pm to 7pm – making the final rounds even more dramatic as darkness falls and the course is lit up.

Entry to the competition is by invitation only, with around 64 men and women taking to the track on the day. Alongside Steve Peat (aka Sheffield Steel) and 50:01’s Craig Evans, the racing line-up includes last year’s winners Brett Penfold, Ben Moore, Carrie Poole and Anya Tolwinska. Sam Dale, national 4X champion, and Joe Wallbridge are also ones to watch.

Craig missed out on the competition last year due to schedule clashes but is now raring to race on the track he first helped design in 2017.

He has competed all over the world and won the hardest ever Red Bull Hardline in 2017 but Wharncliffe in Sheffield remains his favourite place to ride.

He sees the Dual as a brilliant way to showcase The Outdoor City’s unique mountain bike scene, and many of the people who make it possible.

“Sheffield is cool because of the proximity of the trails to the city centre, being able to ride out to the Peak and to Wharncliffe,” he said. “There aren’t many cities where you can do that.

“There is a lot of support from the Council and local business who are pushing hard to get stuff done and make it accessible.

“In dual you go head to head, so you have another person next to you who you are trying to compete with or not get taken out by. As for where I would rank myself, not very highly! I’ll be the one trying too hard and crashing!

“Watch out for the slippy carnage corner, I think that could be where it’s won or lost.”

The Dual is organised by two stalwarts of the Sheffield scene, Nick Hamilton and Jon Dallow.

Nick, a sports engineer at Sheffield Hallam University and co-founder of digital bike hub This is Sheffield, organises a host of races in the region as well as sharing his experiences and reporting on events for the international mountain bike press.

Jon, from Sheffield City Council’s Parks and Countryside team, is behind the creation of a number of Sheffield’s purpose-built mountain bike tracks, including Parkwood Springs and Lady Canning’s Plantation. Over recent years, he has worked with communities, business, governing bodies and local athletes to create them.

With the Howard Street Dual, they shine a spotlight on Sheffield’s thriving mountain bike scene – recognised as one of the world’s best – and bring it to the wider public.

Nick said: “We’re really excited to be bringing the Howard Street Dual to Sheffield City Centre for another year.

“It blows my mind that the Council is forward-thinking enough to put on a dual slalom race in the city centre. We, Sheffield, are The Outdoor City and this is just one way they show that to the world. There is also a great bike industry in Sheffield with manufactures like Cotic, Airdrop and Planet X.

“People love the idea of the race and are happy to be involved in any way they can. I think that speaks volumes for mountain biking, riders and Sheffield.

“We’ve invited the best riders we know to put on the best show possible to demonstrate to Sheffield what racing mountain bikes is about. Last year was just incredible; passers-by didn’t know what they were watching and hung around for hours.

“This year, there are also a load of mountain bike films playing at the Showroom for the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival – another element of the Weekender – so we’ll head over there when the racing’s finished.

“The stars really have aligned over Sheffield on 10 March.”

Jon said: “People might wonder why a woodland officer at Sheffield City Council is running a city centre mountain bike event, and at 6am on race day I am sure I may be asking myself the same question.

“But the Sheffield landscape that mountain bikers use is the countryside we manage, one shared by wildlife and a host of recreational users.

“I work with businesses, volunteers, and other land managers so we can all enjoy what’s on our doorstep.

“Working as a collective, we have created fantastic facilities such as the dual slalom course available at Parkwood Springs for anyone to use. And events like the Howard Street Dual lights the spark that gets other people to participate.

“So our message is: come and see the race but also get involved in the scene. Buy the merchandise, support campaigns to improve facilities and access, get involved in nature conservation, and then get on your bike and enjoy what we’re lucky to have on our doorstep.”

Riders will race two at a time from the top of Hallam Square, across the front of Sheffield Hallam University’s main building and down to the bottom of Howard Street. Along the way they’ll negotiate a series of obstacles, from man-made constructions and street furniture to flat grass corners and custom wooden features.

It’s a knockout-style event so the fastest two riders of the day will then take each other on in the grand final.

This dual slalom style of riding has its roots in the Sheffield ‘mates racing’ scene. These informal races see everyone from world champions to amateurs pitch up and race each other. The success of these events is thanks in large part to the profound sense of community in Sheffield’s mountain bike scene – which will certainly be in force on the day of the Dual.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We’re really proud of our status as The Outdoor City and everything it means for the people who live in and visit Sheffield.

“Sheffield is bursting with opportunities for those who love city culture and the great outdoors in equal measure.

“And events like the Weekender are not only brilliant ways of inspiring local people to watch these stars in action – or even take part themselves – but they also recognise the dedicated people, like Jon and Nick, who ensure outdoor adventure in Sheffield continues to thrive.”

As well as the Howard Street Dual, the headline events of The Outdoor City Weekender will be the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), the Rab Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) and The Magnificent Seven cycle challenge, alongside a host of fringe events.

For more information on the Weekender, visit the website at www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/outdoor-city-weekender

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Our Hopes & Dreams exhibition

22 Feb

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“CircUs!” Weekend at Greentop Circus

13 Feb

24th and 25th March 1.00 – 5.00pm. A weekend of circus celebrating Circus’s 250th anniversary for all the family.

2018 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of circus in London in 1768 and Sheffield’s Greentop Circus centre is joining national celebrations with a packed open weekend of spectacular shows and chances for you to join in.

Performances include:

“The Boulderers”: a new outdoor show by dance/acrobatic company Kapow commissioned by Greentop and The Civic, Barnsley.

“Cirque de la Lune”: a brand new show by Greentop Youth Circus celebrating circus’s history. An exquisite and commodious circus from a bygone “golden” era. See daring, aerial agility. Witness unimaginable menageries and … admire equestrian exploits! All re-imagined through the eyes of the Victorian child apprentices.

Family circus cabaret: professional artists and youth circus stars with spectacular acts that stun and surprise.

Performances will be accompanied by special open workshops including juggling, acrobatic balance and stilt walking, sideshows of food and Greentop films of projects with young people from the Grimesthorpe neighbourhood.

CircUs! weekend is supported by Arts Council England and is part of a national programme of events celebrating the birth of circus circus250.org

For more information please visit: www.greentop.org

Survey reveals what people think of West street area of the city centre

9 Feb

People across Sheffield have revealed what they think of the West Street and Devonshire Green area of the city centre in a survey published today.

 

Over half of them, 56 per cent, said they would recommend a visit to the West Street and Devonshire Green area of the city centre.

 

The same number agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed visiting the area before 5pm at the weekend. Fewer thought the same from 5pm to 11pm, with only 46 per cent agreeing that it was enjoyable. This dropped to 22 per cent after 11pm.

 

More than 800 people responded to the online survey that is part of an exercise in gathering evidence, to decide what further measures need to be taken to improve the area.

 

The majority said they visited the area for leisure. Nearly 90 per cent wanted to see more boutique and independent shops, and 75 per cent wanted more high quality restaurants.

 

When asked what they would like to see less of in the area people opted for the following:

 

  • Off licenses  (74 per cent)
  • Licensed casinos  (64 per cent)
  • Student oriented venues (59 per cent)
  • Adult entertainment venues (58 per cent)
  • Fast food outlets (56 per cent)

 

Views were also sought on what action should be taken to make the area better. The top five suggestions, in order of preference are:

 

  • Greater support for homeless people
  • CCTV linked to the City Centre monitoring station
  • A stronger police presence
  • More lighting in side streets
  • Responsible retailers scheme for off licences and supermarkets selling alcohol

 

 

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene said:  “We are really grateful to those of you who took the time to let us know your views.

 

“We will be sharing these findings with our colleagues in the council who are responsible for tackling the social issues this survey has identified as needing further work.

 

“The findings are invaluable in helping us decide what we need to do in the future to address the concerns expressed by people who have told us that whilst they enjoy the area they think certain behaviours need to be tackled.”

 

Director of Public Health, Greg Fell added:  “West Street and Devonshire Green are well represented in the city’s Best Bar None scheme for responsible alcohol retailers and Sheffield as a whole has Purple Flag status for a safer night-time economy.

 

“Our response will also need to focus on the health and welfare of people whose street behaviour may make visiting the area less pleasant.”

 

The evidence from the survey, along with local crime and disorder figures and other factors including complaints recorded by local authorities and health related statistics will be used to decide whether or not a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) should be introduced.

 

These create an assumption that new licenses to sell alcohol, in a designated zone, will be refused unless the applicant can show they will not add to existing problems. A CIP does not stop licences from being issued but can require the licence holder to put in place specific measures, including shorter opening hours, to reduce any harm.

 

The next step will be to present the evidence to Licensing Committee for their deliberation as to whether or not a CIP should be applied to this area.

Sheffield Volunteering Fair

6 Feb

Our Volunteering Fair is only a month away! There are still a few stalls available for our event on Thursday 1st March, at Sheffield Town Hall. Book a stall for your organisation here.

The event will be held on Thursday 1st March from 10am-4pm in the Reception Rooms at the Town Hall, which are on the first floor and wheelchair accessible with lift access.

Our Volunteering Fair, last October, was the first one that we’d had at the Town Hall and also our first joint fair with Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union. There were over 500 visitors and 64 charities on the day looking for volunteers, with the Lord Mayor speaking about the importance of volunteering in Sheffield. The Lord Mayor will be opening our event this time.

The Volunteering Fair will be a great way for you to recruit volunteers, and is free for visitors and open for everyone to attend. The Students’ Union will be publicising the event, and The Volunteer Centre and VAS will also be advertising the fair to make sure a wide range of people attend.

You can book a table for the full day, for 10am-1pm (AM option) or for 1-4pm (PM option). If you are not able to book using Eventbrite, please contact us.

Click here to book and for more information!

Booking Deadline: Friday 9th February

If you need any more details, or have a problem booking, please contact me at a.anyika@vas.org.uk

Very best wishes

Amala Anyika
Volunteering Co-ordinator 
Sheffield Volunteer Centre

SheFest: Celebrating International Women’s Day Celebration

6 Feb

The city-wide fringe festival celebrating International Women’s Day runs 5th-11th March and features art exhibitions, live music, theatre, sport, comedy and a variety of workshops.  As always, lots of the events are free and many are open to all genders and all ages.

The SheFest Brochure is now live and should be in cafes, community centres and venues near you in the next few days (if not already).

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Love Cheese

6 Feb

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