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.
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.
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:
- Green Spaces which have been derelict for over 6 months being taken over locally so that people can have areas to grow local food.
- That Sheffield gets control of Post Offices and is able to provide Post Offices based on local need.
- That Asylum Seekers who are waiting for their Asylum application to be processed can work and contribute to the local economy.
- 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.
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.
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.