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.


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.


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.


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