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.

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  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 and as always I am committed to making this a city 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

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.


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