Over 160 bear sculptures, will be taking to the streets of Sheffield this summer and it’s attracted the city’s biggest business names, from law firms to taxi firms and everything in between.

This mass-participation arts project is set to be the biggest the city has ever seen – even bigger than The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Herd of Sheffield which raised an incredible £610,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

With 60 Big Bears sponsored by local businesses and 100 Little Bears supported by local schools and community groups there will be bear hugs all round as the sculptures will be on public display, forming a bear trail for 12 weeks from July to September.

Dozens of firms from across Sheffield and the wider region have signed up to sponsor one or more of the 7ft tall bear sculptures as part of the event which will see will be individually designed and decorated by local, regional and national artists.

10 businesses had the opportunity to become a ‘Premium Sponsor’ for the trail, which meant donating additional funds to help transform the Cancer and Leukaemia Ward, those successful were:

  • Ackroyd and Abbot
  • GRI Group
  • City Estates
  • City Taxis
  • Special Steel Group
  • Ancon
  • Sheffield Year of Reading
  • CMS (Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)
  • Fragoman
  • Nationwide

Some of these firms sponsoring a bear wanted to share their thoughts about the project and the impact it will have on their business and the city of Sheffield.

Graham Royal, chairman CEO at GRI Group, said: “I am fortunate to have spent many years on the board of trustees for The Children’s Hospital Charity and I have seen the hospital from its inner working, it is superbly well-equipped and has the most amazing staff to whom you could hope to trust the well-being of your children to. The hospital still needs more funding to continue its investments so it is essential that the charitable journey continues.

“Charitable giving is philanthropic and is geared solely to the purpose and success of the charity on behalf of the children who require help and support from Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The only gain as a sponsor is the pleasure of knowing that you have helped to facilitate that purpose.”

Ancon’s Managing Director, Peter McDermott, said:“W e are delighted to be sponsoring a bear for the Bears of Sheffield 2020, providing much needed support for Sheffield Children’s Hospital whilst engaging with our local community.

“We have supported this excellent charity several times over recent years, including the ‘Make it Better’ campaign and the ‘Herd of Sheffield’ which enabled us to see first-hand how the funds raised benefit children from all over our region and beyond. This deserving charity resonates in some way with most of our employees and we hope we can inspire other businesses to support this appeal and raise the profile of this remarkable hospital.”

Andria Marsden, Head of Residential at City Estates, said: “We’re really excited and honoured to be involved in the Bears of Sheffield initiative, which is raising vital funds for a fantastic cause.

“Corporate social responsibility is a big part of our core company ethos here at West One Student Accommodation – and initiatives such as this are crucial in raising awareness of the amazing work which The Children’s Hospital Charity does every day. We feel that it is important that the business community in Sheffield, which has so much power both individually and collectively, supports such a worthy cause like this.”

Mark Haywood, Senior Partner, CMS, said: “CMS is delighted to sponsor a bear and we look forward to seeing the streets of Sheffield brought to life when the Bears of Sheffield make their entrance. They will be a very welcome addition to the city later this year and we are confident they will help bring even more visitors to the city which has been our home for three decades.

“Supporting projects like the Bears of Sheffield is important to CMS. Sheffield has been good to CMS, so getting involved in this kind of initiative is part of our way of showing our appreciation. CMS has an active Corporate Social Responsibility programme and we have been supporting numerous Sheffield charities for many years; we are delighted to add The Children’s Hospital Charity to the list.”

Tom Rusling, Director of Ackroyd and Abbot, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring a bear along with providing the bears with a home to live in at one of our industrial units until the trail commences in July. Supporting our local charities is something we are passionate about as not only do events like this benefit the charity and businesses involved, it brings a huge sense of community to the city.

“Bringing more visitors to Sheffield and showcasing its vibrancy will aid the city in its endeavour to showcase its talent of bringing the public together to work towards a clear consensus– making sure children access the best paediatric care in the country.”

Arnie Singh, Owner of City Taxis, said: “City Taxis has always been a proud supporter of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and we feel so privileged to have such a world renowned and leading specialist children’s hospital on our doorstep.

“Both my children loved finding the original Herd of Sheffield, and over that summer in 2016 they found each and every one of the elephants on the app and we went to see them all as a family before they went to auction,

“They still often mention the Herd and I thought it was such a fantastic and innovative way to engage and raise money with the communities of Sheffield. I love the way it was educational and made people visit locations in Sheffield that they might not have been to before.

“We believe that sponsoring a bear is a great way to raise money for the charity whilst demonstrating our commitment to give back to local charity initiatives. Charities like the Children’s Hospital Charity rely on partnerships and relationships with businesses like ours and I feel as though City Taxis has a responsibility to ensure that projects like this sculpture trail can happen.”

The project aims to raise money to transform The Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The ward treats children with cancer and blood disorders from babies through to 19-year olds from South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and as far south as Northampton.

Whilst the care patients receive on the ward is world-class, the facilities need our help, which is why funds raised will help improve the space for both patients and families.

There is still time to become a sponsor for this project, simply email sculptures@tchc.org.uk or call our corporate team on: 0114 321 2474.