Hello, Hello, Hello, What’s going on in Sheffield then!!!

September 29, 2009

 This week was a way of looking at some of the Policing issues as well as bringing an old Tardis into operation!

 No Daleks but a new Information Centre

I was lucky enough to bring back into life the old Police Box outside the Town Hall by making it an information centre for local Sheffielders and visitors alike.

It was an idea to move the old Police Box to the Museum but after I stepped in it is now an information centre for City Centre Ambassadors which is open Monday to Saturday 10.00 am – 12.00 pm and 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm.  Local, smiling, helpful, City Centre Ambassadors are on hand to help you with anything you need to have a safe and pleasant stay in Sheffield.

Off the Shelf

I was able to attend the civic reception for the Off the Shelf Festival, which is one of the largest festivals of its type in the Northof England.  It is great to see that Sheffield is being profiled like this, and such wonderful documentaries and books are highlighted in Sheffield, and that Sheffield is able to showcase such a wonderful event.  Check out what’s on at www.offtheshelf.org.uk.

New Police Station

I was able to go to the start of the work to reopen the Elm Tree Police Station at the Manor Top.  Working with local Police we have been able to hand back some land so that they can extend the Police Station and bring it back to life.  This is really a strong indication of our commitment to make sure that Sheffield is a place where everyone matters, and people feel safe and secure.

 
Boeing

Boeing

Taking Off at the Advanced Manufacturing Park! 

Just a fact – did you realise that the new Boeing liner has a piece of Sheffield in it!  This is the kind of world beating manufacturing which is taking place, and I was really impressed with the work that the University and companies are doing to make sure that Sheffield’s innovation and ingenuity stays ahead of the game.

I was able to go and look at some of the world beating companies and innovation that is taking place right here on our doorstep.  I went to the Advanced Manufacturing Park to look at companies such as Boeing who are leading in world class innovation and research into manufacturing.

 Standing Up for Sheffield’s Rail Network

I meet with Chris Moles, Government Minister, to discuss Sheffield’s needs for a better rail link between Sheffield and London.  I was also able to express that we wanted a better rail service between Liverpool and Hull which would improve Sheffield’s connection to both coasts.

At the same time, I was able to stand-up for Sheffield and Sheffielders by pointing out that we didn’t want our footbridge closing at the Railway Station.  I do hope the Minister listens, so that Sheffielders can not only get around the country better, but also keep the City as one and not cut in half.

Standing Up for Small Business

smallbusinessI attend a celebration to support the 35th Anniversary of the Federation for Small Business here in Sheffield.  At the same meeting we signed an agreement so the Council can support small businesses better, and help protect local Sheffield jobs and Sheffield businesses.  Really important that we work closely with business, and I was very pleased that the Federation for Small Business felt that the Council is now much more businesses friendly and doing more to help protect small businesses and local jobs.

Wembley!
Wembley!

 Wembley, Wembley, Wembley!!!

I went down to Wembley Stadium to discuss with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Football Association, Sheffield’s bid to be a host city for 2018 if England gets the World Cup.

 They were very impressed with Sheffield’s bid and our commitment as a City to stand up and try to make sure that Sheffield can be showcased on the World Stage.  If you have not already done so could I remind you go to on line at www.sheffield2018.co.uk or text Sheffield to 62018 and vote for Sheffield.

 

 

Finally, be assured that I am working for you and local people to ensure that Sheffield is a city where everyone matters, and that if you have got any ideas or comments, then please do not hesitate to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk.  You can also browse Sheffield City Council’s website at www.sheffield.gov.uk


Running for Sheffield…

September 16, 2009

This week has been a week where Sheffield has been promoted nationally and internationally, as well as making some cost savings for local residents.

 Concentrating on the finish lineGreat Yorkshire Run

On Sunday I was part of the Great Yorkshire Run, and saw Sheffield from a different point of view as I panted and puffed through the streets of Sheffield.  It was great to see over 8,000 runners on the route and brilliant to see the city getting national and international exposure as part of the Great Yorkshire Run.

 My own time was just over 1 hour, not bad considering I had not done any training before hand, although I now know why you need to!  I ran with ‘Backing the Bid 2018’ t-shirt to encourage people to get on to the website and vote for Sheffield to be a host city if England gets the 2018 World Cup.  www.sheffield2018.co.uk or you can text ‘Sheffield’ to 62018. So show your support!

 Large Businesses just as important as small businesses

I went to visit the store manager at Debenhams at the top of the Moor, to discuss how we can help promote the Moor during the time that it is being regenerated. 

Debenhams - The Moor

Debenhams - The Moor

Some brilliant ideas to discuss how we can use the talent of local people to help bring people on to the Moor, as well as help shops, both small and large, which are situated there.  It is important to me that at a time of this economic recession, that we do all we can to keep the city centre vibrant and buzzing, so that visitors and local sheffielders alike get a good experience within the city centre. 

 Great Museums in Sheffield

I was able to meet the new Chair of Sheffield Museums, Sandra Newton, to discuss how we could work together to promote good educational leisure opportunities around the local Museums.

Weston Park Museum

Weston Park Museum

Sheffield is blessed with brilliant Museums for both locals and visitors alike, and we were able to discuss how we can promote the Museums to a wider range of people to ensure that whatever – whether it be Weston Park Museum, Millennium Gallery, Graves Museum or the other museums in the city – we can do all we can to ensure that local people get a brilliant experience when they come and visit.  Some exciting ideas were discussed and hopefully these will come to fruition for people in the near future.

Working for the Whole of Sheffield

My monthly chairing of the Sheffield First Partnership, the Board that brings together the Police, Fire, Education, Council and Voluntary Community Sector and business, met this week.  We were discussing a number of important issues but particularly concentrated on the next city strategy, which is a plan about the key priorities for Sheffield and how we are all going to come together to improve the quality of life for local Sheffielders, and make sure that there are opportunities for all across the city.

Key issues were about improving the chances for our young people through education, and also looking at issues of health, to ensure that our health service really delivers top quality services for local people.

Presenting certificatesA Cleaner, Greener Environment

I was able to present to the City Council and City Sameday Couriers Limited certificates for their commitments to the new Eco Stars Scheme in Sheffield.  This is a unique scheme within the UK which works on an individual basis with companies who have got fleets of vehicles to reduce the Co2 emissions that they put into the environment.  It also helps the company get more value for their pounds by reducing costs on fleet management.  This has the affect of making sure that we can all breathe easier, and help reduce the number of people who suffer health problems because of vehicle emissions.

 

Buy Local, local jobs, local businesses

When I first became Leader of the Council I gave a commitment to try to improve the Council to support local businesses.

I am pleased to say that in that time we have increased the number and the amount of money spent throughout the contracting department from 28 per cent to 63 per cent with business in an ‘S’ postcode.

I have had a meeting with the Buy Local Group – which is local businesses within Sheffield to discuss how we improve supporting local businesses to get on the ladder so that they can try to bid for local contracts.

This is unique in the fact that it is not just the Council but all public sector bodies, Health Service, Fire, Police, Universities, Sheffield College are involved.  We are really committed to try to safe local jobs and give opportunities to local businesses.  www.buy4sheffield.co.uk

International Sheffield – Saying farewell to international students

We have two brilliant Universities here in Sheffield and I was delighted to say farewell to some Malaysian and Sri Lankan students who had spend three months here in Sheffield at the Hallam University.  It was wonderful to see Sheffield helping to educate, and give opportunity to international students and they love the city that they had been in for the last three months.

 I was delighted to speak to some of them and their view of Sheffield and how they will become ambassadors for us halfway around the world in promoting Sheffield in their new jobs and whatever they do.

 Really, really important that Sheffield has an international profile to ensure that not only will we get students but also international contracts and an international profile.

 I do see this as an important part of my role as Leader to make sure that Sheffielders do get opportunities internationally.

Listening to the voice of business

This week also got me in front of local businesses at the Chamber of Commerce Council.  We discussed a number of issues including transport, Buy Local, and how we are preparing Sheffield’s economy for the up-turn.  A really enjoyable dialogue with local business people who are supportive of the Council keeping our eye on the long-term future of our economy and ensuring that local Sheffielders have opportunities for jobs, training and skills.

As ever, if I can be of any help, then please do not hesitate to contact me at Leader@sheffield.gov.uk and be absolutely assured that I am still working to make sure that this city is one where everyone matters.


Showing Off Sheffield and Sheffielders to the World

September 9, 2009

This week has been a brilliant week for showing Sheffield off to both visitors and Sheffielders alike in its full glory.

Sheffield Fair Free and Great Fun

I was able to visit the wonderful Sheffield Fair at Norfolk Park and see so many Sheffielders enjoying themselves on a sunny Sunday.  Everyone from the local community groups right through to the army were there, showcasing what they do for the city.  Really delighted to be able to hand out some of the prizes in the horticultural section and see some of the green fingers that we have in this wonderful green city.

Improvements to our Services for Sheffield Citizens

Had a meeting this week to discuss how we can co-ordinate better – what is known legally as Regulatory Services.  This includes things like Planning, Licensing and Parking Services.  Looked at how we can make them work closer and better together, and improve the service so that people are not being ‘passed from pillar to post’.  This is the kind of approach that the Council is committed to make in all services, making sure that we get it right for you – our customers – first time, and ensuring that you are not having to go through a maze of bureaucracy.

Sheffield Vibrant in the Day – Buzzing and Night

Discussed the idea of trying to improve the night time economy within the city centre.  I am sure many of you over the last few weeks will have been into the city centre, whether to go on the Wheel of Sheffield or coming to one of the continental markets or music festival.  We manage to do really well during the day in terms of organising and managing the city, but we realise that we need to improve what we offer at the night time and make it a city centre that is more vibrant for a cross section of Sheffielders.  With that in mind, we are now looking at ways in which we can do that and make sure that you have just as good an experience at the night in the city centre as you can during the day.

Sheffield’s World Champion

Jessica Ennis and Me - Backing the Bid for Sheffield 2018

Jessica Ennis and Me - Backing the Bid for Sheffield 2018

It was brilliant to be able to welcome home local girl Jessica Ennis, the new Heptathlon World Champion, back to her home city.  Despite the terrible weather hundreds of people turned up to cheer Jessica back home.  I have never met such a down-to-earth person, who despite her great success, has got her feet on the ground and is a lovely warm individual.  It is great to see Sheffielders like Jessica who are an inspiration to the city, and a great role model for younger people.  I was delighted to be able to hand over to her a handbag which she has been wanting to get for 5 years – a really nice surprise and gift for such a wonderful and great World Champion right here from Sheffield.

Bravery Awarded

I was delighted to join the Lord Mayor in awarding Amevi Kouassi the first ever bravery award from the City Council. This young man who is originally from Togo didn’t think of himself and acted without hesitation when he challenged someone who was attacking a 70 year old lady in the city centre.

The Lord Mayor awards Amevi Kouassi the first ever bravery award from the City Council.

The Lord Mayor awards Amevi Kouassi the first ever bravery award from the City Council.

The attacker was bigger than him but he apprehended the individual so that an arrest could be made, and now the person has been convicted. Again another great example of a Sheffielder, who has only been here for 2 years but exactly what the true grit and spirit of Sheffield is about. The City is really proud of you Amevi.

Sheffield Eagles – 25 Years On

I was able to attend a civic reception for the Sheffield Eagles to congratulate them on 25 years of existence.  It is really good to see a Rugby team doing so well in Sheffield considering that we are at heart a footballing city.  Great to speak to some of the players and people who have been involved in the history of the Club, and really wish that the Club goes from strength to strength.

World Cup – Sheffield can do it

Young people taking part in the official recption for FIFA for Sheffield's Back the Bid 2018 campaign

Young people taking part in a reception for the FA for Sheffield's Back the Bid 2018 campaign

Backing the Bid 2018 at the Great Yorkshire Run - 2009 09 09

Backing the Bid 2018 at the Great Yorkshire Run

I was involved in leading the Inspection Team during a visit from the Football Association who came to Sheffield to check to see whether the city could be one of the host cities if England gets the World Cup in 2018.  We were able to show them, not just the Football Clubs, but what is going on across the city and our aspirations to give football players, coaches, teams as well as fans a great time if England gets the 2018 World Cup.  The team were very impressed with Sheffield’s bid and the way we had got young people involved.  We have great Ambassadors such as Gordon Banks, Howard Wilkinson and Brian Deane.  I ask all Sheffielders to go on line at www.sheffield2018.co.uk  or text ‘Sheffield’ to 62018 and vote for Sheffield and lets make sure that we get the World Cup to England and that Sheffield gets some of those games.

As always if there is anything I can do to help improve Sheffield for you, your family or neighbours then please do not hesitate to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk


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.


Staying focussed for young Sheffielders

August 10, 2009
Seeing so many young people this week makes me realise that we all have to stay focussed in giving our young Sheffielders the best future possible.

Broadfield Park – Play extravaganza

The opening of Broadfield Park in Sharrow.

The opening of Broadfield Park in Sharrow.

The excitement and buzz at the opening of Broadfield Park in the Sharrow area really was a fantastic and enjoyable experience.  A great crowd turned out to open the new play area which includes, swings, slides as well as a full court area for young adults where they can play cricket etc.

At the opening the young people were really excited, we all cut the ribbon together and basically had a great time.  Really good to see the local community turn out as well as community groups such as ACT being there – well done everybody.

Gleadless Valley Matters

I met with local Councillor, Denise Reaney, as well the housing officer and Councillor Bob McCann, Cabinet Member for Housing, to discuss a number of issues arising in Gleadless Valley.  We talked through a number of issues where we can try to help the community have an improved quality of life.  It is really important that no matter where people live in Sheffield, they are able to live in a green, safe and enjoyable environment.

Pomp and Circumstance

I was delighted to see so many Sheffielders in the Peace Gardens to listen to the free concert provided by the Kings Division Military Band.

Free concert in the Peace Gardens provided by the Kings Division Military Band

Free concert in the Peace Gardens provided by the Kings Division Military Band

This band plays for the Yorkshire Regiment who have the Freedom of the City.  Listening to the music made me realise how diverse a city we are, as well as how many of the young people within the Yorkshire Regiment come from Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

It was a wonderful evening, and I was delighted to act as host and welcome some returning soldiers from Iraq back to South Yorkshire.

Keeping Warm and Free

With the challenge of global warming and the recession, it was nice to go and visit a local resident in Walkley who had benefited from the Council’s free insulation scheme.

Talking to Dr Claire Mortimer-Griffin I realised how important it was both in terms of helping to keep her heating bills down, as well as contributing to reduction in global warming.

Visiting a local resident in Walkley who has benefited from the Council’s free insulation scheme.

Visiting a local resident in Walkley who has benefited from the Council’s free insulation scheme.

I really enjoyed the cup of tea and the chat about local issues and her love of art.

Diversity – Everyone Matters

I met with the new Chief Executive, Tariq Kataria, of the Pakistan Muslim Centre to talk about his hopes and aspirations for the centre. I found it really important that Tariq’s view is that the PMC should be a place where all the community who live in Sheffield can use, and to help breakdown some of the stereotypes that exist.

Really found Tariq to be a very forward and progressive thinking young man, and I am sure that it will help, both the Pakistan community as well as everyone in Sheffield, to breakdown some barriers.

Listening to Young People – working for the future

Young people’s views are very clear and they know how they can help to improve the future of Sheffield.

Young people’s views are very clear and they know how they can help to improve the future of Sheffield.

I was able to get around a number of youth projects this week, including some at Darnall, Woodthorpe and Arbourthorne.  I found it fascinating listening to the youth workers and young people.

Young people’s views are very clear and they know how they can help to improve, not just their lives, but the future of the city where they are going to make their future.

Getting around the city to see young people.

Getting around the city to see young people.

Some of the issues that came back were – greater youth provision, but also the desire for young people – who some times are marginalised – to have training and job opportunities.  While in Arbourthorne I gave the opportunity for a group of young men, who had been unemployed for a few years, to come into the Town Hall at some future date, to speak to me and some senior officers about how we can improve their opportunities to try to get better skills and on to the job ladder.

It was really refreshing to hear young people’s views so clearly and makes you understand as Leader of the City, just how most young people really do wish to do the best for themselves and the city, and break down the view of all young people as being ‘hoodies’ and ‘yobs’.

Mental Health – The Forgotten Health Service!

Many see mental health as a Cinderella service!   However we must not do that people with mental health should have the same opportunities as everyone else.  I was therefore delighted to meet a group of parents and people with mental health issues up at Middlewood Road North.  They were looking particularly at trying to get a crossing to ensure that people with mental health problems could get across the road safely and lead as independent lives as possible so that they could go to the shops.

I looked round the home that they lived in and was delighted to see them flourishing and desperate to lead independent lives.  With my Cabinet Member we agreed that we would look into this and get back to them as soon as possible.

Every Business Matters

Meeting Simon Wright from Hard Slog Art Studio

Meeting Simon Wright from Hard Slog Art Studio

During a recent visit down Fargate, when local new businesses were showcasing their wares, I met Simon Wright from Hard Slog Art Studio.  I promised to get him into the Town Hall and he came in this week to discuss his frustration at not receiving support to help grow his small start up business of art.  I was pleased that we were able to take him down to First for Business, which is the new service we have set up to help business grow and flourish.  I am sure that Simon, with our support, can continue to grow and hopefully his art will not just go on walls in Sheffield, but further a field.

As always if there is anything I can do to help please do not hesitate to contact me at Leader@sheffield.gov.uk and hopefully this blog is showing you that we, as a Council, are out there, and I as Leader am trying to ensure that Sheffield is a place where everyone matters.


Proud of Our Green City

August 5, 2009
 

This week just makes me realise how proud we are as Sheffielders to have such a green city.  I know that is why Sheffielders love the parks and green spaces around them.

A Quieter Night-time for All

I have had a meeting this week to discuss how we are going to address the needs of local people who want to have a dedicated night-time noise nuisance service.  It is really important that those people, who are being blighted by noise in the night, can have a response from the Council.  I am pleased to say that later on this year that is exactly what will happen.

Green and Environmental Jobs

Barry King, from Global Eco Fuel Solutions, and Me

Barry King, from Global Eco Fuel Solutions, and Me

I met Barry King this week, who is part of the Global Eco Fuel Solutions.  This is a company that is looking at using waste to make eco friendly fuel.  I talked to him about the possibility of him relocating to the city, and made it clear that Sheffield would be very interested in working with his company.  Not only will it help the environment in an innovative solution but would help to create local green jobs as well.

Broomhall Vibrant and Buzzing

I went to a meeting of local community representatives at Broomhall to listen to their views on how they want to take their community forward.  I am pleased that we were able to begin to put some ideas down which will, in particular, help the young people between 18 and 25 to get a job and training opportunities.  I have agreed to set up a session for local employers and trainers to go into the area and help local young people to find jobs.

 

 Young People – Listening to their Views

I was happy to meet with Harrison Carter, who is one of the Youth MPs for Sheffield. 

Youth MPs Harrison and Jonathan with Cllr Andrew Sangar and me in the Town Hall

Youth MPs Harrison and Jonathan with Cllr Andrew Sangar and me in the Town Hall

 
He and his deputy Jonathan talked to me about some of their hopes and ambitions in their year in office.  I was very keen to listen to some of their campaigns that they want to run, particularly about engaging more young people in the democratic process. 
 
I said I would help to do whatever I could and I am sure that in Harrison, the young people of Sheffield have a very good advocate for them at a national and local level.

Full Council

This week has also been the week of the Full Council, where all the 84 Councillors get together to discuss important issues.

Members of the public can come and ask questions and petitions without notice, which is always an important part of democracy for me.

164-6407_IMGIt is really important that I, as Leader, and my Cabinet, are held to account by Sheffield people.  Sheffielders being who they are, they let us know exactly what they think, and ask some very demanding and important questions. 

Key issues that were discussed in the Council meeting included the Sustainable Communities Act. Sheffield has asked the Government to change national law so that we can do things such  as have control over the total Post Office network within Sheffield as a Council, and also help people grow green, local food by taking over local development areas that have not been used for over six months.

Also discussed at Council was our desire to try to ensure we get more Council and affordable homes within Sheffield.  It is worth noting that already we have £69 million allocated, which will provide over a 1,000 new homes over the next few years.

Meadowhall – Important to the city!

Meadowhall Shopping Centre

Meadowhall Shopping Centre

I went to visit Darren Pearce, who is the Centre Director of Meadowhall, and discussed how we can work together to ensure that Meadowhall is not seen as a threat to the city centre but rather as complementary.  We talked through a number of issues, including how the Source, which is the training element of Meadowhall, is helping to showcase Sheffield.  This is the scheme where young people, who are looking to learn about merchandising, get the chance to dress windows within the city centre, which are currently standing empty while we are waiting for the Hammerson Development to take place.

Ten Green Flags – All in a Row

I was very pleased to go up to Weston Park to showcase Sheffield’s National Awards, known as Green Flags.  These are the gold medals for green parks and gardens awarded nationally.  Sheffield has got the most in Yorkshire, which is absolutely brilliant. 

Showcasing Sheffield's National Awards - Ten Green Flags

Showcasing Sheffield's National Awards - Ten Green Flags

I was able to thank the people who work for the Parks Department as well as local people who are part of ‘Friends Groups’ who tenderly make sure we have lots of colour across our city.

Picnic in Weston Park

Picnicking in Weston Park with young people from the Sheffield Community Church

Picnicking in Weston Park with young people from the Sheffield Community Church

While I was out at Weston Park I saw a group of young people from the Sheffield Community Church, who were enjoying the greenery and surroundings in Weston Park.  They had just been to the Museum, which is free of charge, and had some education about the city and then went on to have a picnic and a run around on the green areas in Weston Park.  It was really good to see Sheffielders enjoying the parks in the city.

Manufacturing for the Long Term

I met with the Lord Mayor of London who is the spokesperson for banking in the City of London.  We discussed key issues in the financial sector, but I made it very clear that Sheffield’s economic base was really strong and that the banks and financial institutions must take a long term view to help our manufacturing businesses to continue to grow and produce world beating products.  It is no good taking a short term view when it comes to the manufacturing strengths that we have in Sheffield.

Sheffield the real Capital of Yorkshire

Sheffield is the Real Capital of Yorkshire!

Sheffield is the Real Capital of Yorkshire!

On Saturday August 1st I was outside the Town Hall handing out white roses to passers by to celebrate Yorkshire Day.  I wore a t-shirt saying “Sheffield the real capital of Yorkshire” and was really impressed by the pride and warmth of Sheffield people for standing for their city.  We know we have a little gem in Sheffield and on Saturday we made sure that the rest of Yorkshire heard that too.

Victoria Park – Broomhill – Another Green Area

Again, another visit to a green space within a little suburb of Sheffield in the ward I represent – Broomhill.  I was able to attend the opening of the wonderful Victoria Park, by Parkers Lane. 

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

 I would like to thank the local friends group, who had really rallied round and ensured that what was becoming a derelict piece of land has become a green gem in the centre of Broomhill.

As always I am here to try to ensure that Sheffield meets your needs as local people, and if there is anything I can do to help please do not hesitate to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk.

I am always trying to make sure that Sheffield is a place where everyone matters, and that we all, as Sheffielders, meet our full potential.

 
 

What a week for Sheffield…

July 29, 2009

This week has been another week of celebrating the success of Sheffield people and exactly what Sheffield and Sheffielders are about.

Students graduating from Sheffield University this week

Students graduating from Sheffield University this week

 Graduation

I was able to celebrate with the young people of Sheffield University who graduated.  It was good to see so many people with their new degrees although I acknowledge it’s hard at the moment in terms of the economic climate.  One thing I am certain about is that with a University of Sheffield degree they will make significant contributions, not only to the city, but to our society as well.

Our Economy
The economy is very important at the moment, and I sat down for a general review with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the city’s economy, and from a Chamber of Commerce perspective how the City can help businesses in the present economic climate.  We particularly talked about our role in supporting manufacturing.

 2018 World Cup Bid – Sheffield Back the Bid

Sheffield children back the bid

Sheffield children back the bid

I would like every Sheffielder to go on the website www.sheffield2018.co.uk  to register your support as we launch the 2018 World Cup bid.  The World Cup is such a big sporting event, and I was pleased that we are looking to be a host city for the England 2018 bid.  The delegation that came to have a look was very impressed with what Sheffield has got to offer and we now have to build on this. 

It was brilliant being with the youngsters, who are the future, and who clearly will benefit from the World Cup.

City back the bid

City back the bid

 
 Out about about in local communities
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Talking to local residents in Darnall

 I went to Darnall to speak the local Bangladeshi Community who have got problems with their community building.  I listened to their concerns and tried to find a way forward to ensure that this city is a city where everyone matters, and the Bangladeshi community, like all communities in Sheffield, can flourish and meet their full potential.  I have promised to go back to them in the near future.

 

Sheffield Wheel provides a backdrop to our first ever Music Festival

Sheffield Wheel provides a backdrop to our first ever Music Festival

Reaching new heights!

One of the things about being Leader is that sometimes you have to do things that you may not wish to do, and my fear of heights is something that I have had to get over this week, as I launched the 197 feet or 60 metre Wheel of  Sheffield .  I had a wonderful interview with Charlotte, from Look North, the problem was that we were both scared of heights and therefore the interview was somewhat a nervy experience for both of us.  However, from the top there are some brilliant views of this great, great city, and I know that will be an attraction for visitors and locals alike to see their city from a very different perspective.

 Training and Skills for Sheffield people

I had a Board Meeting this week of Creative Sheffield, which is the economic board for the city to deliver jobs and prosperity.  Key issues we have looked at were training and skills and how Sheffield can really begin to move forward its training and skills.

No to bus cuts

I also met with senior managers from First Bus Group this week to talk about how the Council will not sanction bus cuts and service changes within the city.  I think it is very important that at a time of economic uncertainty like this, that we have a bus service that is clearly meeting the needs of Sheffielders.  It was an important meeting and I made it very clear that we would not support any reduction in the total bus coverage within Sheffield as a City Council. 

Crowd at Devonshire Green bask in the sunshine at the festival

Crowd at Devonshire Green

Music City

 Over the weekend Sheffield really did showcase itself

Just Jack perform for the crowd

'Just Jack' perform for the crowd

to the world, with a superb music festival in cooperation with Tramlines.  I saw many of the events, and walking around town on Saturday and Sunday the buzz was absolutely phenomenal.  People were friendly, particularly on Saturday basking in the sunshine and listening to the free music and events throughout the city.  It really shows what Sheffield can achieve when it raises its game and that Sheffielders are really up for showing their city off to the world.

 

As always you can contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk

If would like to leave a comment on my blog, then please feel free to do so.  You just need to sign up for a WordPress account and then you will be able to comment on my blog.

Paul


This week… 22nd July

July 21, 2009

“This week has been another varied week working to help bring jobs to Sheffield…”

Me with pupils at Handsworth Grange

Me with pupils at Handsworth Grange

Education is really important to me and making sure that our young people get the best possible start in life. I visited Handsworth Grange School and was impressed by some of the work that is going on there to ensure the pupils get the best possible education.

 

Showcase Sheffield

Later I went down to unveil Showcase Sheffield. I am determined to show that our city centre stays as vibrant as possible for local people and visitors alike.

Sheffield Showcase

Come and have a look at Sheffield Showcase

Showcase Sheffield brings all the talent that we have within the city – established, new artists and designers have created eye-catching displays along with young people training to work in retail. Why not take some time to go and have a look and you’ll be amazed at some of the talent that we have within Sheffield. The great thing is that these shop fronts will be changing every 6 weeks and therefore there will be something new for us all to look at.

Joe Scarborough unveils a painting for Sheffield Showcase to some of the young creative talent involved

Joe Scarborough unveils a painting for Sheffield Showcase to some of the young creative talent involved

 It is important as Leader to understand that we don’t work in isolation and have to look at issues across South Yorkshire. I met with two other local Leaders and the Mayor of Doncaster to discuss key issues for this region including transport, protecting jobs in the recession, training and housing.

As I’ve said before my focus is to try to ensure we have jobs and good employment opportunities for local people here in Sheffield, with that in mind I led a delegation including the Council’s Chief Executive and Creative Sheffield down to Kent to visit Hitachi Trains.

Hitachi Trains

Visiting Hitachi Trains in Kent

Hitachi is looking to locate a new train assembly plant within the UK and also making it its European Headquarters for this type of work. Sheffield, I am pleased to say, is still in the running. They were very impressed with Sheffielders, Sheffield skills, Universities and our approach to modern manufacturing. It all now hinges on the site Sheffield can offer and how that compares to others being offered by town and cities in this country.

Sheffielders need to know that the Council and I are fully focused on this to try to ensure that at the end of the year we will hopefully become the new European Headquarters for Hitachi trains, and are able to bring more jobs and skills to the city.

Olympic and paralympic dream

Keeping ourselves healthy and fit is really important, and I was able to launch the new Sheffield Lighting the Flame Sport Strategy which is linked to the Olympic and Paralympics Games.

Meeting Jessica Ennis

Meeting Jessica Ennis to launch the new Sheffield Lighting the Flame Sport Strategy

It was great to see Jessica Ennis, a local Sheffield girl, supporting the aim to get more people participating in sport as well as us hopefully being able to reap some of the benefits from the Olympic and Paralympics Games. It was really aimed at getting everybody, regardless of who they area, involved in some form of activity and using the Olympic Games for economic, social and health benefits for individuals within the city.

Many Sheffielders will have been angered, like I was, that there is an attempt to try to block off the footbridge through the Station. I want to ensure that Sheffielders can move around the city, and can use the footbridge without hindrance. I was therefore delighted to go along and celebrate the 7th

Birthday celebration of the footbridge with a local residents group who have been really good and active in keeping this issue alive.  I am really pleased to have been able to join in the celebrations and try to ensure that this footbridge stays fully open.

Think BIG

Big logo

Big logo

Another major event this week was to go to the BIG programme, which is a way of getting more people to set up a business in Sheffield and create local jobs. I was able to go and support this initiative on Fargate as the weekend, just to celebrate some of the great entrepreneurs, ideas and small to medium sized business that we have in the City, and the contribution they make to keeping local jobs, particularly in these hard times.

I would also be pleased to hear your comments and feedback on what I have been doing.  To leave a comment you just need to sign up for a WordPress account.

If I can ever help in any way, please feel free to contact me at leader@sheffield.gov.uk


Welcome

July 17, 2009
This is my new blog as Leader of Sheffield City Council. I’m keen to share and explain to Sheffielders the work I do on behalf of you, your family and the city.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog, and if you have any questions or comments about the work that I am doing, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Last week was a week of great diversity and some really difficult decisions have had to be made.

Skills For Young People
 Here's me at the In My Shoes event with young people from Sheffield

Here's me at the In My Shoes event with young people from Sheffield

 At the beginning of the week I met with Mark Lovell, who is one of the Directors of A4E, to discuss how we can improve skills for young people within the city, particularly in difficult economic times.  We came up with some good ideas and now these are being worked on to help our young people to have the skills they need, not just for work, but to be active citizens within the city.

Local Planning Issues

As the local Broomhill Ward Councillor I attended the Planning Board meeting to object to a Tesco store being built at Commonside.  In my view this would be a blot on the local landscape, which would not only create traffic problems, noise and nuisance problems for the local residents, but would also undermine what is becoming a thriving shopping centre within the Crookesmoor area.  I am pleased to say that the Planning Board supported local residents and the application was turned down.Local EconomyAlso I chaired the Sheffield First Partnership Board. 

This is the Board that brings together the Council, Police, Fire Service, Universities, College, private sector businesses, voluntary, faith and community sector, to work together to deal with issues that the city is facing and put forward plans to tackle them.We discussed the local economy and how we can ride out the recession without having as much damage as other cities, but also staying focussed on the long term so that when the economy improves, our city and Sheffielders can make the most of it as soon as possible.Botanical Gardens I visited the wonderful

Botanical Gardens

Me with Sue Kohler at the Botanical Gardens

Me with Sue Kohler at the Botanical Gardens

 I visited the Botanical Gardens to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Friends of the Botanical Gardens.  It was amazing to see such dedicated people who, in their spare time, like so many people in this city who volunteer, work to improve the look of the Botanical Gardens.  I presented Dr Sue Kohler a plaque to thank the Friends for all the work that they do, and it was good to see so many of them.

 Abbeydale Grange School

One of the hardest decisions I have had to make whilst being Leader of the Council was taken last week about Abbeydale Grange School. Despite trying desperately to find another school within the local area that would join up and merge with Abbeydale Grange, we so far haven’t been able to do so, and have had to take the very difficult decision to start consultation on closure for the School. 

The Cabinet meeting was full of emotion as many parents, pupils and staff argued why they wanted Abbeydale Grange to stay open.  The arguments were strong, and some of the young people’s presentations were incredibly well presented.  However, despite this, what is clear to me, and my Cabinet, is that we have to invest £14 million to improve the life of the existing and future pupils of Abbeydale Grange School. However, I am just as focussed as ever at trying to find a school that it can merge with, so that over the consultation period there may be another option available to local residents.

 In My Shoes

On a lighter note, I also attended the official launch in the Peace Gardens of the ‘In my Shoes’ event.  It was really enjoyable seeing so many different Sheffielders coming together just to take time out to talk about what it is like to be a Sheffielder in their shoes and from their perspective.  It was hosted by BBC Radio Sheffield’s wonderful Rony Robinson and Paulette Edwards. 
Me at the In My Shoes Event with Sheffield divers

Me at the In My Shoes Event with Sheffield divers

 

 
Me with Rony Robinson and Paulette Edwards at the In My Shoes event in Sheffield

Me with Rony Robinson and Paulette Edwards at the In My Shoes event in Sheffield

It was great to see so many young people there enjoying themselves.  There was some absolutely remarkable poetry from members of the Youth Council, which was both moving and very, very poignant about what it is like to be a young person in Sheffield.  I hope this becomes an annual event.

 

 
Visit to Town Hall small
  BiG 

As the Leader I try to open the Town Hall as much as possible for Sheffielders and on Thursday a group of young people from Firvale School visited me with their work as part of the BIG project.  The BIG project is a way of trying to encourage people to set up businesses within the city and to make a real go of being an entrepreneur.  Pupils tested their business and selling skills in a virtual market place and all made a profit! There’s certainly a career ahead for many of them as businessmen and women in the city. It makes me very proud to be Leader of a city with such young talent.

Charity Support

I meet so many people who contribute to this city, including those who work for charity. I presented a cheque from the Cue Ball event for more than £24,000 to two local charities – Cash for Kids and the Cathedral Archer Project helping homeless and vulnerable people.  Many of you will know that Sheffield is the home of snooker and every year a charity event is held during the World Snooker Championships to raise money for local charities.

Being Shadowed
Me with Beatrise in Sheffield Town Hall

Me with Beatrise in Sheffield Town Hall

 I have had quite a varied and busy week, and I must also mention that 15 year old Parkwood School pupil Beatrise shadowed me for a day.  This was arranged as part of the Pledge for Success campaign, which aims to raise attainment and aspiration levels for Sheffield’s young people.   She gave me feedback about the role of the Council from a young person’s view.  I was really impressed with her latching on to environmental issues, as a lot of young people do, and the work the Council needs to undertake to improve life in the future.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you have enjoyed reading this the first of my blogs, and keep looking to find out what else I am doing.  Please do leave a comment here.  All you need to do is sign up for a Word press account.

Regards

Paul