The Owls are delighted to lend our support to the Children’s Hospital Charity Bears of Sheffield sculpture trail this summer.
The trail will begin exactly a year later than initially planned after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bringing together families and friends, local institutions and businesses, schools, artists and the community, the trail will kick-off in July and support the huge fundraising drive to build a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The trail will primarily comprise of 60 big bears, standing at 2.1m tall, one of which will be the striking Sheffield Wednesday Bear.
Event Organiser Cheryl Davidson explained: “The Bears of Sheffield will be a great opportunity for us to get outside, explore Sheffield and celebrate our wonderful city, all for a good cause. We’re delighted the trail will make its long-awaited entrance this summer.
“It will showcase the vision, creativity and generosity of our community. Whether sponsoring a bear, shouting about the trail, donating, or taking on your own challenge or bear-themed event, we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy the trail.”
Cheryl continued: “Since the postponement last year, we have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the Bears of Sheffield can be enjoyed safely. This has included assessing each location to ensure social distancing can be followed, discouraging touching of the sculptures, and limiting the amount placed closely to one other.
“We have and continue to work closely with Sheffield City Council and other key partners to ensure the project adheres to the government guidelines and I would like to place on record our thanks to them for helping to bring the Bears to Sheffield this summer.”
The Bears of Sheffield are being brought to life by artists of all ages, both amateur and professional, in isolation or in small groups. After the trail is complete, the larger bears will be auctioned off at a special event to raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “At a time when our cultural sector has suffered so many challenges the Bears will bring a fantastic collection of expression and vibrancy to Sheffield this summertime.
“It's wonderful to see how people react to the different representations of each piece of art, I can't wait to see children 'going on a bear hunt' and Sheffielders sharing photos of their favourites. Thank you to everyone behind the scenes who got their paws dirty working so hard to bring this exhibition to the streets of Sheffield!"
Sheffield BID have been announced as the official Bears of Sheffield headline sponsor once again after the success of the Herd of Sheffield in 2016, where elephants took to the streets and attracted more than 175,000 visitors.
Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID Manager added: “As a headline sponsor, we’re delighted that the BID investment is supporting the creation of another exciting and visual sculpture trail that will animate the whole of the city centre.
“Once the restrictions are eased, The Bears of Sheffield will encourage visitors and residents back into the city, benefiting our local businesses and raising the spirits of our communities.
“It demonstrates Sheffield BID’s continued commitment to delivering additional activities which support the vibrancy and economic growth of our city through collaboration.
“The trail will bring atmosphere to the city centre and provide a fun-family friendly activity to put a smile back on people’s faces, as well as driving spend onto our retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
“As one of the first major events to be held since the pandemic, The Bears of Sheffield will demonstrate that the city is once again open for business as we welcome people back safely.”
As well as providing a much-needed boost to the local economy, it is hoped the total raised will surpass the £610,000 raised for Sheffield Children’s through the Herd of Sheffield.
The fundraising could not come at a more vital time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the charity’s fundraising by around 35% in the last financial year, a decline of £1.3m. The money raised will help Sheffield Children’s where it is needed most, including the redevelopment of the Cancer and Leukaemia ward at the hospital.
A centre of excellence, the Oncology and Haematology department at Sheffield Children’s covers a population spanning an area from South Yorkshire through to Nottingham and Grimsby.
The ward provides treatment for cancer and blood disorders in children from babies through to 19-year-olds in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire. It also sees patients from across the UK for chemotherapy, operations, and bone marrow transplants.
It is hoped the new space will be fully funded by charitable donations by November time, yet how much the space can be improved will depend on how much can be raised in the intervening period.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region, added: “It’s heartening to see that so much hard work has gone into making this trail safe and so many young people, community members and businesses are dedicating their time to help raise money for such a hugely worthwhile charity. I very much look forward to it and will do what I can to support.”
CLICK HERE for more information on the project.
You can follow the Bears of Sheffield’s progress on Twitter @BearsofSheff, or @bearsofsheffield on Facebook and Instagram.