The innovative £2m Economic Recovery Fund has been hailed as a game-changer by business leaders. Sheffield City Council set up the fund in March 2021 to help get communities back on their feet after the pandemic.

The fund approached local businesses, traders and community groups directly to help inform how the money would be best distributed. Sheffield Chamber then assisted in the process of allocating these funds to 26 projects across the city, 15 of which were led by businesses in district centres. Taking the lead from those living in the heart of communities has enabled Sheffield City Council to direct funds with laser precision.

Sheffield Chamber interim chief executive Louisa Harrison-Walker said: “This new approach to funding in collaboration with community groups and private businesses is a real game-changer.

“Working in this way has allowed fresh ideas to emerge and Sheffield Chamber has been there to share specialist knowledge of the local economic picture and what works best for businesses.”

Firth Park is one of the areas to have benefited from the Economic Recovery Fund, which distributed £50,000 for smaller projects and up to £200,000 for larger projects.

Chamber board member Emma Marshall said: “The business community, Firth Park Community Forum, and councillors were keen to share the message that the area is family-friendly and packed with things to do.

“They used the funding for new picnic tables and benches near the shops and they’ve filled the area with flower beds and planters. New public art is also being developed in consultation with the community. They are also using some of the funding to support a programme of community events which are bringing people to the neighbourhood.”

Cllr Martin Smith, chairman of the committee overseeing the Fund, said: “Businesses and communities are best placed to come up with initiatives that help customers and visitors return. The Economic Recovery Fund was an opportunity to do things differently and I’m pleased that this dynamic relationship is proving successful and building pride in local communities.”

Funded projects across Sheffield include a new parklet and festival on Abbeydale Road, cycle parking, planting, and greenery in Hillsborough, new seating, noticeboards, and signage in Chapeltown and a promotional campaign to attract visitors to Spital Hill.

For full details of areas to receive funding visit