Paul gets ‘the best job in Sheffield’

16/7/09 'The Sheffield Lighting the Flame for Sport group launch at the Electric Works. Paul Billington, director of culture, speaking at the event''PICTURE: SARAH WASHBOURN
16/7/09 'The Sheffield Lighting the Flame for Sport group launch at the Electric Works. Paul Billington, director of culture, speaking at the event''PICTURE: SARAH WASHBOURN

SHEFFIELD has appointed its first Director of Culture and Environment.

Paul Billington will head a wide-ranging council department encompassing sport, arts and culture, parks, countryside and woodlands, events and festivals, city centre management and even bereavement services.

The new job is the result of a council reshuffle, combining the departments of culture and parks and countryside.

Mr Billington has been acting Director of Culture for two years and played a leading role in the city’s bid to become City of Culture in 2013, which reached the shortlist but eventually lost out to Derry. He is also heavily involved in Sheffield’s strategy of securing sports and cultural benefits for the city on the back of next year’s London Olympic Games.

He described his appointment as getting “the best job in Sheffield”. He said: “The role covers many of the things that make Sheffield a great place to live – it’s a green, active and creative city.

“The work is vital to the quality of everyday life in the city but is also really important in terms of attracting visitors, influencing the decisions of potential investors in the city and promoting Sheffield’s national and international image.

“We have a great team at the council but our success will depend on working closely with organisations and communities outside the council.

“It’s our job to continue to increase the quality of life for everyone living in Sheffield.”

Mr Billington’s appointment coincides with the toughest local government financial climate in decades, when all aspects of council spending are under scrutiny.