Founder of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
Sheffield is The Outdoor City:
The historic and spiritual home of the Peak National Park, UK climbing; unrivalled downhill mountain biking; infamous road cycling and a hive of activity for kayakers, cavers , walkers and runners of all ability. We recognise that this is not only part of our local character, but it also is about community, health and wellbeing, and we are incredibly lucky to have this resource as part of our urban landscape.
It has not all happened by design - it is partly the result of the city's unique geography (of which 1/3 sits in the Peak District National Park) but also the amazing clubs, facilities and communities and people who live there because of it. On top of this there is a thriving cultural scene around music, art and beer, which means the nights are as much fun as the days.
The Outdoor City is focussed on making sure more people have access and ability to engage with the unique green spaces around and increasingly at the centre of our city, as well as promoting adventure breaks for national and international visitors who want an authentic experience interacting with local people. Every March The Outdoor City plays host to its flagship event, The Festival of the Outdoors, which showcases Sheffield's amazing opportunities and tries to get as many people as involved as possible.
Matt has been involved in The Outdoor City project before it even started - his creation of the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) 15 years ago really saw a different dimension added to the way the city perceives the outdoors, and draws great crowds whilst also engaging with artists in a progressive and thought provoking way to make us all engage with issues, passions and desires in a truly wonderful way. He continues to put back into the city beyond this, having helped to start up Cliffhanger and now working with public and private sector organisations at a grass roots level to help stage community events and initiate education projects that go beyond his source of income and put back into people and neighbourhoods.
Although these activities are associated mainly with the wild countryside of the Peaks, they are increasingly finding a new home in the regenerating inner city through top class climbing walls, urban kayak courses, mountain bike trails, urban caving/exploration and the soon-to be relaunched dry ski slope (Europe’s highest and training ground of most of the UK Olympic freestyle team) at Parkwood Springs.