How to support Sheffield’s independent scene

Before all the cool places disappear

In February, The Guardian published their alt city guide to Sheffield, showcasing the steel city’s richness of independent culture. Since then, The Night Kitchen, The Moor Theatre Delicatessen and Rare and Racy have all announced their closure.

Sheffield is regularly praised for being a thriving city of independence, with many blogs and websites such as Independent Sheffield, Now Then and Our Favourite Places dedicated to promoting the vibrant indie scene in the city.

 Closed for business

The recent closures are as a result of redevelopment, which sadly means that there is little students can do to save these places. The Moor Theatre Delicatessen, a versatile venue hosting everything from nights out to poetry workshops, is being turned into an H&M. Clearly, the situation is dire.

We spoke to Independent Sheffield about what students can do to support the city’s independent businesses: “To us, independents are the heart and soul of the city, they give us a personality, a culture and a diversity that is unique to each street. This identity is documented as having a huge economic impact on the city but is sadly often forgotten by the corporate world. So it’s our duty to get out there, support our local businesses and keep the independent movement alive.”

Rare and Racy has been a Sheffield landmark since 1969. The ‘Phlegm’ street art murals on its walls make the building iconic. Despite a petition against the redevelopment of the building gaining 18,000 signatures, Sheffield Council still approved the scheme. There is still time to head down there and pick up a book or a record in their 50% sale though.

You can donate to The Night Kitchen’s Crowdfunder to help them set up their new venue. The Night Kitchen’s revival shows that Sheffield’s underground music club culture continues to thrive. It’s still a shame that they were forced to change venue, but we can hope that NK’s next chapter will include just as much cool artwork and comfy sofas.

What you can do to help independent Sheffield businesses

For now, there are no signs of The Moor or Rare and Racy popping up somewhere else. Whilst they will be sorely missed, their closure is an opportunity to explore other independent places across Sheffield. Try a night out at DINA Venue or The Audacious Art Experiment. Head to La Biblioteka or one of Sheffield’s other brilliant independent book shops.

The past months have proved that just following these businesses on Instagram isn’t enough. It’s all well and good liking a picture of a handmade doughnut, or a dress from Vulgar, but we have to start going out and making conscious decisions to support our city’s businesses. Choosing local over chains, swapping your Domino’s for a delivery from a local restaurant like Italia Uno or Luna Rossa, swap your Starbucks for a Steam Yard, swap your £35 mock vintage dress from Topshop for the real thing, choose an independent mag from La Biblioteka instead of a Cosmopolitan.

We may be helpless to stop redevelopment, but we can still support independent businesses. It is time for our love of the city to be reflected in our spending habits.