African Heritage Culture Forum Sheffield

Working in partnership to help the city of Sheffield raise awareness, educate and support the recognition of the city’s diverse history and African heritage culture.

About AHCF Sheffield

In late 2021 a group of individuals came together with a shared view of creating a voluntary, politically neutral and independent Forum where like-minded ‘diverse’ group of members could meet, share ideas and discuss and contribute to Sheffield’s celebration of Black British history and African heritage cultural themes.

The Forum was officially launched in co-partnership with Sheffield City Council and joined the Sheffield Culture Consortium in May 2022.


As a Forum they embrace a diverse network of people, communities, businesses and organisations who share the Forum’s passion to work in mutual partnership to help showcase the outstanding achievements and contributions being made to the city by members of its African heritage community.

Consistent with their values the Forum’s vision is to leave a positive and lasting legacy for the enjoyment and benefit of everyone who respects and enjoys Black British history and African heritage culture.

AHCF’s Values = to leave a lasting legacy

Love – Excellence – Growth – Ambition – Culture – Youth


The Forum has five objectives all inspired by the Forum’s mission to help raise awareness, educate, recognise and celebrate the city’s rich and diverse heritage:

  1.  To provide a free, publicly accessible source of cultural information (via the Forum’s website and links to other key websites) on Black British history and African heritage inspired places to go and things to do in the city of Sheffield – for use by all Sheffielders, visitors to the city and members of the public generally.

  2. To work in partnership – via the Forum’s Executive (Steering) Committee – with key stakeholders inc the wider community, Sheffield City Council, and other members of the Sheffield Culture Consortium (the Consortium) to ensure the city’s cultural celebrations of key African heritage themed events, and positive recognition of the key contributions made to the city by individuals from the African heritage community, are positive, authentic, diverse, equitably funded and fully accessible for all Sheffielders to enjoy.

  3. To raise awareness and enhance understanding of Black British history and African heritage culture in Sheffield’s primary and secondary schools (amongst pupils, staff, parents and governors) by identifying and promoting appropriate supplementary education materials.

  4. To provide a contact point for organisations (whether as donors, funders or service providers) who wish to support, consult and develop African heritage themed events in the city of Sheffield and are seeking further information, guidance and introductions.

  5. To provide oversight, maintenance and governance of Sheffield’s African heritage themed annual cultural calendar inc supporting organisations with developing their ideas and proposals for celebrating ‘Black History Month Sheffield’.

What AHCF does

AHCF serve as a key contact point for organisations (whether as donors, funders or service providers) who wish to support, consult upon and develop African heritage themed events in the city of Sheffield and are seeking further information, guidance and introductions.

They can also partner with organisations and institutions that are planning and promoting their Black History Month events. Their partners will benefit from:

  • improved ‘accessibility’ and ‘increased audience participation’ from under-represented ethnic communities;
  • having direct access to African heritage creative practitioners who can provide professional input throughout the key stages (in terms of design authenticity, planning, cultural appropriateness and effective promotions);
  • having their events listed on our culture calendar (ongoing development in partnership with Our Fave Places and Sheffield City Council).



The Forum is an independent, non-partisan advisory and voluntary body comprised of an unlimited number of voluntary member ambassadors (all of whom are resident adults in the city of Sheffield) with executive oversight provided by the Forum’s appointed Steering Committee – which meets bi-monthly and is currently lead by an interim Chair and Vice-chair. With Secretariat support provided by Sheffield City Council.

The Forum operates in accordance with its documented Terms of Reference and Forum members are bound by a Code of Conduct and related policies and procedures.


Des Smith


Des currently serves as presiding specialist lay-member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal and Employment Appeal; ‘disability qualified’ member of the Social Security and Child Support Tribunals; Chairman of Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association ‘Inclusion and Diversity Group’; and Chairman of Sheffield Caribbean Sports and Social Club. He is also a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire.

Sonia Gayle


Sonia currently chairs a number of committees and is a presenter and mentor for Women on Boards UK. She also sits on the boards for Breast Cancer Now and Steel City Academy Trust; and additionally serves as a Commissioner for the Sheffield Race Equality Commission.

Celebrating Black History Month

Across the UK, Black History Month takes place in October every year and is an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of African heritage people in the UK. People from many different backgrounds come together during this month to celebrate the positive role of African heritage people in shaping local communities.

The aims of Black History Month (BHM) are to:

  • promote knowledge and understanding (both locally and nationally) of Black History and culture;
  • acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by African heritage people to the cultural and economic development of the UK and more locally, here in Sheffield.

How is your organisation planning to celebrate BHM Sheffield 2022?

If your organisation is currently planning for BHM Sheffield 2022 we can help and support. Even if your organisation is well advanced in its planning, or simply wishes to list its BHM event (and any other African heritage themed events) on our BHM calendar (under development) we would still like to hear from you.

Learning Matters

For teachers, educators and parents, and pupils and students; you can find a wealth of ‘age appropriate’ educational materials and related information on black history month and other African heritage theme freely available online:

BBC Teach / The Black Curriculum / Mentally Healthy Schools / 100 Great Black Britons /
Stonewall LGBTQ+ black history / Teachwire / TES

Contact AHCF

Whether you are interested in partnering with the African Heritage Culture Forum (or wish to join us as an ambassador member) or are looking for further information or need support (e.g. planning a Black History Month event); we would love to hear from you.

Click here to get in touch