© Pete McKee

Friendliness

How on earth do you describe something in-built into the characters of people from diverse communities across a city of over 600,000 people? 

The best way is just to say this: most days you’ll have a conversation with a stranger.

If that puts you off, then fair enough - but to everyone here that’s part of the charm. We might not always get on and there’ll be plenty of disagreements, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly.

David Levesley from GQ got it spot on in 2019 when he said:

“Sheffield’s particular brand of Northern kindness is worth the visit alone. It's a city of people who immediately behave as if they’ve been putting up with you for years. This is a city that isn't trying to be London.”

Some of that probably traces back to industrial times when Unions in the city were like blood ties, and the sense of community was everything. More recently it’s possibly to do with our badge of being ‘The people’s republic of South Yorkshire’, which stemmed from the left-wing leaning local politics and a stubborn, steadfast belief in doing things our own way.

As you’ll find out if you visit, and as our Neighbourhoods section starts to uncover, there are lots of distinct characteristics about the many unofficial towns and villages which make up the city. And this is all compounded by a belief to try and do the right thing. To go back to an original point, not everyone will always agree, but the State of Sheffield report tries to present things in black and white once a year so that authorities can listen and learn and ultimately work together.

On top of this there are outstanding Equality Hubs representing diversity across many communities, and around 3,300 voluntary and charitable organisations and groups in the city at last count. That’s why we feel it’s so important to highlight the role that Civil Society plays in shaping the character of the city… often people can’t put their finger on why it’s friendly here and how it feels different to other cities, but it could be down to the fact that for the most part people in Sheffield have a passion for caring, doing the right thing, and accepting those around them.

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