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

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.