The great diversity, spirit and vibrancy of Sheffield

March 23, 2010

First of all I am sorry for not doing the blog, but I have been rushed off my feet – which you will be able to read about. Also to let you know with the forthcoming Elections, a period of what is known as Purdah is coming, which means that this will be the last blog I am able to do until after the Elections on May 6.

Some of the highlights since the last blog, which again shows off the great diversity, spirit and vibrancy of Sheffield.

Sheffield is looking cleaner than ever

I helped to launch the Spring Clean which is a 2 month festival of local community groups and people coming together for the annual spring clean. If you would like to help please visit our Big Spring Clean webpages.

Local Volunteers Helping with Sheffield Big Spring Clean 2010

I was involved in the Wicked Waste conference, which was encouraging school children on the theme of football to get involved in spring clean. Captain Blade and Ozzy Owl were there to help out.

Sheffield's Big Valentine Market

Showing Love for Local Business

I was able to attend the Big Valentine Market which was a celebration of local businesses. I am always impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of Sheffield people and their determination to improve local jobs.

 

The Year of the Tiger

I was really delighted to be able to share with the local Chinese Community their celebrations to welcome in the year of the Tiger. Sheffield’s Chinese Community is growing and is an important part of the growth and future of the City.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Sheffield 2010

Young People into Parliament

I was asked to announce the results of the Sheffield Youth Parliament. The astonishing thing was the number of people who voted, which shows that across the City young people are interested in politics, and do want to make sure that they have young people speaking up for them. They were delighted with the results and I hope that our young members of the Youth Parliament go on and shout up for Sheffield’s young people.

One Millionth Visitor – A Special Museum

I welcomed the one millionth visitor to the wonderful Western Park Museum. A great family museum that has been refurbished and is now a gem in Sheffield’s Museum’s crown.

Sheffield's Weston Park Museum

Crucible – A Royal Blessing

I was really delighted to be able to accompany Prince Edward to the launch of the new Crucible. It was a very relaxed time with Prince Edward, and I was really pleased that the Crucible was able to be reopened and launched. I know that Daniel and his team will allow the Theatre to go from success to success.

More Tea Vicar?

I was delighted to launch Fair Trade Fortnight with young people across Sheffield in the Winter Garden. This is a campaign to ensure that producers of goods get a fair price for the products they produce in developing countries. Sheffield is a Fair Trade City and it was great to help launch the fortnight.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010

Snow Glorious Snow

I was on the TV, radio and newspapers to launch the great snow debate in Sheffield. We promised that once the snow had gone that we would have a debate, with the people of Sheffield, about how best to improve the snow clearing operation across Sheffield. Make sure you get involved by clicking on (insert link) and helping to improve how we can all keep Sheffield moving.

Run, run, run

I was able to help launch the Great Yorkshire Run. Some great names will be running it this year in September. I have also commited to running the event as well. It is a great family day out and really brings visitors into the city, and also local people are able to join in the fun and excitement.

Launching the Great Yorkshire Run 2010 in Sheffield

50 plus – Old People Having their say

 I was delighted to be able to speak to the 50 plus elders congress here in Sheffield. These people are elected by people of the same age, to represent them on a city wide level. Really usefully questions were asked, and I am really delighted that some of the issues that they raised we will be able to look at to help to improve services for those over 50 plus living in the city.

A sticky problem

As part of the Spring Clean event I was able to get involved with removing chewing gum from the City Centre. It is amazing how much this costs to tax payers, and therefore if we can just encourage people to put their gum in the bin it would save thousand of pounds a year and help keep the city looking more spic and span.

Clearing chewing gum in the city centre as part of Sheffield's Big Spring Clean 2010

Young People Give a Thumbs up to Local Playgrounds

I was delighted to attend Broadfield Road Park to celebrate with young people the fact that there has been a 15% increase in young people’s satisfaction of local parks and playgrounds this year. We are really trying our best to ensure that across the city every young person has a quality park and/or playground to go to.

Driving the Environmentally Friendly Way

I was able to go to Polestar – a huge printing works in Darnall – to celebrate with them their 5 stars that they have received as part of the Eco Star Scheme. This encourages businesses to run their vehicles more environmentally friendly, as well as helping them to save money. It a win, win. I was really pleased that Bedfords, who work with Polestar, got 5 stars for the work they have done.

Keep our Footbridge Open

I was delighted again to be shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sheffield in the name of keeping our Railway Station open and not having the footbridge, which the public have paid for, cut in two by ticket barriers being installed.

Roundabout

I was delighted to go to Roundabout which is a charity which helps teenagers who are homeless. I am really, really impressed by the work this charity does in trying to get young people back not just a home, but also employment and training so that they can have a better start in life.

As always, I am here if you need to contact me to ensure that Sheffield is a place where everyone matters.

Best wishes

Paul


We are Back!

February 4, 2010

Can I first of all apologise for not doing this Blog for a while – so here are the highlights of what I have been involved with as Leader of the Council over the last few weeks.

I went to BBC Sports Personality of the Year.  It was brilliant to show Sheffield Showcase to the world through the BBC as Sheffield hosted this prestigious event.   Those of you who saw would have seen a great event and Sheffield mentioned on many occasions.   The only sad bit of the evening was that our Jessica Ennis didn’t come first, but we were really pleased that she got third place, a great honour for Jessica.

I went to the Adoption Christmas party at Sheffield United.   It was great to see so many young people and their adopted parents having a great time in the City, and thanking them for the great work that they do.   It was a wonderful family event and very pleased to attend on behalf of the City Council.  

World Cup 2018

We did it! We celebrated great news for Sheffield in terms of us now being chosen as a Candidate Host City for the 2018 World Cup as part of England’s bid.  Sad it wasn’t both grounds that were chosen, but I am sure we will all get behind the bid now to get England and Sheffield as part of the World Cup in 2018.   Well done to all concerned and lets keep shouting up for Sheffield.

Midland Mainland

As Leader of the Council, I was down in London to make the case in Westminster for why Midland Mainline should be improved.   I was able to speak to the Transport Minister and other influential people to highlight the fact that Midland Mainline should be improved and electrified as it would bring great economic and environmental benefits to Sheffield and the local region.

Keeping Sheffield moving

Could I thank local Sheffielders for doing their bit to try and keep Sheffield moving, in the really bad snow and ice which we have had.  I went out with the local gritters to see the work they do and see at first hand what improvements could be made.   While Sheffield City Council has not been able to grit every road and pavement, the staff did their best to keep Sheffield moving, and some great work was done by the gritting team who worked round the clock since mid-December.

New Entrepreneurs

I was delighted to go to the DLA Offices to present certificates to some young people who are taking part in the enterprise scheme across Sheffield, called ‘Big’.   These are school teams who were given £25 and have started a business within school to give them entrepreneurial skills.   It was great to see so many good ideas from Sheffield young people.  We were blown away by the main prize donated by DLA – a five day trip to their Hong Kong office for the winning teams, this is something for them all to aspire to.

Sustainable Communities Act

Sheffield ideas have been taken up.   I chaired the Sustainable Communities Panel and the ideas that Sheffield people had come up with have now been presented to Government to change national laws to try to get some new initiatives here in Sheffield.   They include:

  1. Green Spaces which have been derelict for over 6 months being taken over locally so that people can have areas to grow local food.
  2. That Sheffield gets control of Post Offices and is able to provide Post Offices based on local need.
  3. That Asylum Seekers who are waiting for their Asylum application to be processed can work and contribute to the local economy.
  4. For skills we are able to get our own approach to providing apprentiships and skills courses based on Sheffield’s needs rather than through a range of other organisations.

Great ideas and we wait to see what happens.

Dr Ennis 

I was able to attend, on behalf of the City Council, the graduation ceremony at the University of Sheffield.   It was great to see so many young people who have been educated in Sheffield and have got that “made in sheffield” stamp in them from their degree, getting their certificates at the University.   Also Dr Jessica Ennis was getting her own doctorate, and I was glad to see a Sheffield girl who was educated at Sheffield University being recognised by the City.

Volunteering

I was able to launch the Volunteering Strategy at the Circle on Rockingham Lane.    Seeing so many people who have given their time and effort free to help others was very inspiring.  It is really good that we have now launched  a strategy in the City to try and get more people to volunteer, and I would encourage anybody who wishes to join to click onto the link and join up to Volunteering within Sheffield. (link to be inserted)

Keeping Services Running Despite the Snow

I was able to go down to the Love Street day centre to visit some young people with learning disabilities who had kept their day centre open during the harsh weather.  I listened to some of the stories of hopes and aspirations of people of this centre and great to know that they really enjoy their work and contribute so much to the City.

As always, the Council is here to try and make Sheffield a better place for everyone and if you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Shouting Up for Sheffield

December 16, 2009

This week was another case of showing that Sheffield is both an international city and one that cares about local people.

CHENGDU – SISTER CITY

I met with people from Chengdu, which is the 17th largest economy in China, to discuss Sheffield arranging a sister city agreement.  It is agreed that this is the right way forward and subsequently will help jobs, the economy, culture and leisure activities by sharing and learning from both cities.

HEALTHIER AND MORE INDEPENDENT SHEFFIELD

With other councillors, I met the Primary Care Trust which provides health care to discuss ways in which we can make Sheffielders even healthier.  We discussed ways of working together closely and ensuring that we try to promote ways of preventing people becoming unhealthy and keeping them independent.

PROMOTING SHEFFIELD TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

I held a meeting with the universities and the member of the Malaysian community within Sheffield.  We talked about possibly working with the Trade Union in Malaysia on building student accommodation for Malaysian students within Sheffield.  This would obviously help the universities promote themselves as well as ensuring that Sheffield keeps its special relationship with international students.

2018 – BANGING THE DRUM FOR SHEFFIELD

We were able to push our chests out and beat the drum for Sheffield last week by delivering the 2018 bid document to Wembley.  Sheffield wants to be part of the England bid for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.  It was an absolutely brilliant ‘Team Sheffield’ event with the band and everyone from 10 year old youngsters, right through to ex-footballers.  We really were able to show off Sheffield at its best and say that we could be a great city to host the 2018 World Cup.


Preparing for Sheffield’s Future

November 23, 2009

Last week was a great week for making sure that both, in terms of our environment as well young people ,we are preparing for Sheffield’s future.

Recycling – An Award for Sheffield

I was happy to celebrate Sheffielders great passion for recycling.  Sheffield has won a national award for our plastic recycling sites such as the one I visited in Waitrose.  It is really great that Sheffielders are rolling up their sleeves and recycling for the future as well as the Council providing such sites with local private sector businesses to ensure that people can recycle easily.

Eating for Sheffield

I was delighted to attend the Eat Sheffield Restaurant Awards.  No matter what your tastes in food, Sheffield has some great eateries, whether it be a slight snack or a great gourmet meal.  These awards celebrate the restaurants and eateries within Sheffield and I was very happy to present a prize as well as celebrate the wonderful work that the hospitality industry does for our city.

My Place, My Future, My Voice

Listening to Young People at a new development in Lowfields, Sheffield

I was really happy to listen to some young people who are spreading the voice of young people at the centre of the new development in the Lowfields areas of Sheffield.  I listened to their views and was absolutely bowled over by their determination and their vision about what they want.  I will make sure that their vision is listened to and part of the vision for the new My Place development in the area.

Celebrating Young People Leaving Care

I was delighted to be invited to share the success of a number of Sheffield young people who have been in care and now, having left care, have developed fruitful and successful lives.  It was really heart warming to hear the stories of young people who have started work, started families and really making a difference, not only to themselves but also the area of the city they live in.  Absolutely bowled over by the fact that this was hosted and developed by young people who had left care and a real, real credit to the determination and spirit of young people.

Future Jobs

I hosted some Senior Executives over from the Hitachi Group and spend an evening with them to discuss Sheffield’s approach to try to ensure that the Hitachi train development which will be their European Headquarters comes to Sheffield.  They fed back how much they enjoyed the city and I just hope that for Sheffield jobs and the future of hi-tech manufacturing in Sheffield, that we can get Hitachi to locate here.

Dreaming Bigger Dreams

I showcased the positive work that many students do in Sheffield.  Quietly behind the scenes students from the two wonderful Universities we have, day and day out volunteer and raise money for charities and organisations in Sheffield.  I was able to hand over cheques for £117.00 to local charities and listen to the heart-warming stories of how students volunteer and making real differences every day to local people.

Bag a Book

Painting a plant pot as part of Bag a Book Week activities, with children in Sheffield

I was delighted to go down to an event we have in Sheffield to give each young person who has either been adopted, or been fostered, a book token to improve their reading skills.  A number of activities took place including me painting a spotty plant pot as part of showing my creative side.  I was really pleased to join so many young people as well as their carers and adopted parents.


Another week of visiting diverse Sheffield

October 28, 2009
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – ‘Off the Shelf’

I was delighted to introduce Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at the Cathedral as part of the ‘Off the Shelf’ event. This is now seen as one of the North’s best and biggest reading and writing festivals. It is wonderful, and in its 18th year and I was glad to introduce Hugh. However, after introducing him I realised that I kept referring to Rose Cottage rather than River Cottage!

Just say no to knives

Showroom 012

Me and with Tapton School pupils who were at the launch of the DVD. I'm pictured with: Fraser Steele, aged 16, Keziah Abbotson, 16, Oliver Kavianih, 16, Lauren Henry, 17 and Harriet Dearden, 16.

I went to the launch of a very moving and shocking DVD about the effects that knives have on young people. I met some mothers who had lost their sons and it really brought home the stupidity of young people carrying knives. It’s really, really shocking that so many people in the UK lose their lives in this way and we need to do everything possible to work with young people so that they can lead fulfilling and positive futures.

Cricket, Football, Badminton

Cricket Badminton

Meeting with representatives from the Pakistani Muslim Centre to talk about sport bring people together.

As part of promoting Sheffield as a place to get active, I met with a number of people from the Pakistani Muslim Centre, to discuss how they wanted to pursue sport across cultures and across different groups within Sheffield as a way of bringing people together. I was very pleased to hear their ideas and just hope they can come to fruition.

Hopes and dreams of homeless young people

I was able to visit Roundabout, which is a wonderful charity in the Highfield area, which works with homeless young people. I was really inspired by the young people’s stories of how they are turning their lives around supported by Roundabout. I agreed to see them again and hopefully next time play a game of basketball with them which I was unable to do this time because of the rain!

Roundabout 2

Visiting homeless young people at Roundabout in Highfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is a coming – save energy and help the environment

OWL Smart Meter

Relaunching the OWL smart meter - available from your local library

Last week I relaunched the smart meters in the city. These are free from all libraries and help you reduce the amount of electricity you are using and help your CO² output as well. For further information, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/smartmeters.

St Wilfrids ‘The One and Only’

I visited St Wilfids and spoke to some of the people who use the service. I was really inspired and blown over by some of the work that is done here and the positive work of both the staff and those who are using the Centre. I had a great discussion about football, but also about the hopes and dreams of some of the people who use the Centre. I agreed to go back for their Christmas meal and support them.

St Wilfrids

Visiting St Wilfrids Centre to meet service users

Backing the Bid

This week I helped kick off the business part of Back the Bid. This is about trying to get business to make sure that they promote, both amongst their customers and employees, going online and voting for Sheffield and the World Cup. It was a really wonderful event and for those of you who haven’t yet voted, please visit http://www.sheffield2018.co.uk or text ‘Sheffield’ to 62018.

As always I am here to listen to the views of local people and if you need anything then please do not hesitate to contact me as I am really trying to make this city a place where everyone does matter.


Celebrating the Success of Local Sheffielders

August 25, 2009
This week has been a week where we have been able to celebrate the success of Sheffield people from the World Champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis through to many of our local students who have had wonderful A Level successes.  As a City Council we are really proud of them all.

Celebrating Diversity in Sheffield

Visiting members of the Sheffield Pakistani Community as part of celebrating Independence Day for Pakistan

Visiting members of the Sheffield Pakistani Community as part of celebrating Independence Day for Pakistan

I was invited to be a guest at the 62nd Independence Day for Pakistan.  It was wonderful to see so many British Muslims celebrating their Britishness, as well as wanting to share with friends in Pakistan the independence of that country.  I was really delighted at the number of young people who contribute significantly from the Pakistani Community to Sheffield, and showcasing some of their talents and skills.

Independence Day for Pakistan

Having a bite to eat at Independence Day for Pakistan celebrations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building Schools for the Future – Community Buildings not just Education

Newfield and Talbot School - part of the city's Building Schools for the Future Programme

Newfield and Talbot School - part of the city's Building Schools for the Future Programme

I had a meeting with the project officer and the Director of Children’s Services, Dr Sonia Sharp, to discuss how we can make new school buildings a community resource.  It would be nice to try to ensure that such things as libraries, and other local community resources, are built as part of the new school building programme.

We discussed options and ideas and we are going to see what can be done.

Trying to cut red tape and bureaucracy

Meeting with people from Stuffing Oakcakes to talk about creating local jobs

Meeting with people from Stuffing Oakcakes to talk about creating local jobs

I know like many Sheffielders, I get frustrated by red tape and bureaucracy, in light of this I met with Nathan Roper and Ian Adams from a social enterprise called Stuffing Oatcakes to try and see whether we can help create more local jobs as well as helping homeless people getting employment.  They were frustrated at some of the barriers between planning and licensing within the Council.  We are going to look at their case and see how we can improve services to local businesses so that they can help create jobs.

I am particularly keen to support Stuffing Oatcakes which won the social enterprise of the year award in Sheffield, and their commitment to employment training opportunities here in Sheffield for some people who have fallen on hard times.

Going for Gold

I was able to see Paul Deighton, who is leading the organisation of the 2012 London Olympics.  We were able to showcase the strength of Sheffield businesses which could benefit from winning contacts to help him make London 2012 the best Olympics ever. I am confident that Sheffield businesses can succeed and help promote, not just Sheffield, but the UK on an international stage.

Meeting young people from Sheffield and Bradford to discuss the Olympics 2012

Meeting young people from Sheffield and Bradford to discuss the Olympics 2012

Also as part of the cultural part of the Olympics I met some young people from Sheffield and Bradford who are looking at the Olympics as a way forward to help in education and bringing young people together.  This was showcased at the Graves Gallery in the Central Library.

Green Jobs for Sheffield

Earthmine visit Sheffield

Earthmine visits Sheffield

I had another business visit, this time from Earthmine.  We discussed how the company could help cut people’s bills and also how better energy efficient homes and businesses would be in Sheffield.  We all know that Sheffielders reducing carbon is important and therefore this company can give advice, to not only save money, but reduce carbon output, is well worth looking at to see what they can do.  This is clearly the type of company we want to encourage in Sheffield which helps, not just to create local green jobs, but helps internationally reduce climate change problems.  See for yourself at www.earthmine.co.uk

 Tramlines – Feedback

Jon McClure aka 'The Reverend'

Jon McClure aka 'The Reverend'

Late this week I met with Jon McClure otherwise known as ‘The Reverend’, a Sheffielder who heads the band Reverend and The Makers, an indie rock band which performed at the Tramlines Festival which I mentioned in an earlier blog.  We discussed the recent Festival, how it went, and how the city was buzzing during that weekend and what a great success it had been.  I wished him and the band well with their current tour supporting Oasis.

As always I am looking to get feedback from local Sheffielders to try to ensure that we get things right first time for you and your family as a Council.

Please feel free to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk , and be assured that I am doing everything I can to ensure that Sheffield is a city where everyone matters.


Getting things right first time for our customers

August 17, 2009

“As the Council Leader I really want to make sure that we re-shape our services to get things right first time for you and your family.  This week has shown me – at the coal face – how we can improve things for you”.

Checking out the lights

Checking out the lights

Let there be light

As part of a ‘back to the floor’ exercise, where I go out to meet front-line staff and our customers, I have literally been providing services to the people of Sheffield.  I was able to go out on my first day and work with Street Lighting to see how they keep Sheffield safe and light.  I found the team to be dedicated and really trying to ensure that our street lights are kept on for you.  There was clear frustration at times when due to the responsibility of the Electricity Company it takes longer than we would want to endure.  However, the facts are that at any one time 97% of Sheffield street lights are working for you to keep you and your family safe.

 

On the beat

I shadowed an Ambassador whose patch includes Kelham Island, city centre and St Edwards flats area.  A fascinating insight into how City Centre Ambassadors are not only out there to help people with problems, but able to report issues such as graffiti, bad street services etc, and try to improve safety.

Out with City Centre Ambassadors near Kelham Island

Out with City Centre Ambassadors near Kelham Island

 I met a number of really committed residents and tenants at St Edwards’s flats.  Talked to Moira about her plans for the children’s play area. 

 Went down to Kelham Island area and discussed some of the issues for local businesses, as well as speaking to some of the local residents about their concerns and hopes for the area.

Raising ambition and attainment of our young people

I met with a few people this week to discuss the Pledge for Success Campaign (see www.sheffieldfirst.org.uk/pledgeforsuccess).  It is really important that we help individual young people to raise their ambition so they’re able to succeed at school.  One of the ways we are doing this is to try to get businesses and individuals to pledge to make a difference to an individual child.  I am pleased to see that so many businesses and individuals are pledging time and effort to raise the ambition and hopefully, the attainment of our young people so they can lead fulfilling lives.

Environment, economy and green jobs

This week we had Cabinet, where the 10 senior councillors come together to make policy decisions for local people in the city.  One of the key papers to be discussed was the green new deal approach, ensuring that we use our research and development at Sheffield’s world class universities to help create Sheffield as a centre of excellence for green technology and environmental jobs. 

What we aim to do is to ensure that we tap into the knowledge of the local universities and the innovation and enterprise of local businesses to begin to find solutions to some of the problems that we have with regards to carbon emission. 

 I am pleased that the Council is prepared to support this, and we have got national recognition to say that we are beginning to be forward thinking.  I am committed to make sure that Sheffielders have a city of enterprise, and local jobs are created and this is an innovative way to help look at how we deal with the problem in the future, as well as look at new jobs here in Sheffield.

Make sure the bugs don’t bite

Setting a rat-trap!

Setting a rat-trap!

Continuing with my ‘back to the floor’, I went out with the Pest Control Service to look at how the Council tries to ensure that local people don’t have to endure bugs and rats in the city.  I went to a number of places where, free of charge, the Council day-in-day-out help to get rid of some of the pests that are around us.  Again, interesting to speak to customers and staff to find out ways to improve the service.

Local Jobs – Listening to Business

As part of my approach to get me out of the Town Hall and listening to Sheffielders, as well as going to local groups, I also visit businesses.  This week I went to City Cars on City Road and discussed how they wish to ensure that local jobs are preserved in the economic climate.  Having spoken to the owners of the business it became quite clear to me that they are committed to improving the service to the people of Sheffield, and particularly ensuring that taxi drivers’ customer care is centre to everything they do.  I came away with some good ideas and promised that we would follow them through to try to ensure that local jobs are protected, as well as the service to the people of Sheffield improved.

 

Every Local Neighbourhood Matters

I chaired the Strong Economy Board which brings together the Council, local businesses and voluntary sector to set out the vision for Sheffield’s economy for now and the future.  At this meeting we were clear that one of the things that Sheffield needs to do, as well as concentrate on the improvement of the city centre, is to ensure that every local area has improvement and can have job and enterprise opportunity.  The Board agreed that a major piece of work needs to be done around this to see what investment needs to be made in local areas to improve them and ensure that local people have good leisure, shopping facilities as well as opportunities for jobs and enterprise across the city.  This fits in with my view that we have really got to ensure that local businesses and local jobs are improved and enhanced.  

 

'Rascal Babies' - Grand Opening

'Rascal Babies' - Grand Opening

Showcasing Sheffield – New Shop Open

 Those of you that have been to the city centre recently will have noticed the wonderful talent being showcased in some of the shop windows in Sheffield that have been brought back to life.  As part of this Showcasing Sheffield event we are committed to try to bring some of these shops back to life.  I was delighted therefore to go down to Furnival Gate and open a local shop for baby clothes and accessories.  It was really good to see the shop opening, bringing it back to life within the city centre, and giving extra choice to Sheffield shoppers.

 As always I am here to try to improve the services that we provide to you and improve the city for everyone. 

Face Painting at Rascal Babies

Face Painting at Rascal Babies

Please feel free to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk and as always I am committed to making this a city where everyone matters.