The great diversity, spirit and vibrancy of Sheffield

March 23, 2010

First of all I am sorry for not doing the blog, but I have been rushed off my feet – which you will be able to read about. Also to let you know with the forthcoming Elections, a period of what is known as Purdah is coming, which means that this will be the last blog I am able to do until after the Elections on May 6.

Some of the highlights since the last blog, which again shows off the great diversity, spirit and vibrancy of Sheffield.

Sheffield is looking cleaner than ever

I helped to launch the Spring Clean which is a 2 month festival of local community groups and people coming together for the annual spring clean. If you would like to help please visit our Big Spring Clean webpages.

Local Volunteers Helping with Sheffield Big Spring Clean 2010

I was involved in the Wicked Waste conference, which was encouraging school children on the theme of football to get involved in spring clean. Captain Blade and Ozzy Owl were there to help out.

Sheffield's Big Valentine Market

Showing Love for Local Business

I was able to attend the Big Valentine Market which was a celebration of local businesses. I am always impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of Sheffield people and their determination to improve local jobs.

 

The Year of the Tiger

I was really delighted to be able to share with the local Chinese Community their celebrations to welcome in the year of the Tiger. Sheffield’s Chinese Community is growing and is an important part of the growth and future of the City.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Sheffield 2010

Young People into Parliament

I was asked to announce the results of the Sheffield Youth Parliament. The astonishing thing was the number of people who voted, which shows that across the City young people are interested in politics, and do want to make sure that they have young people speaking up for them. They were delighted with the results and I hope that our young members of the Youth Parliament go on and shout up for Sheffield’s young people.

One Millionth Visitor – A Special Museum

I welcomed the one millionth visitor to the wonderful Western Park Museum. A great family museum that has been refurbished and is now a gem in Sheffield’s Museum’s crown.

Sheffield's Weston Park Museum

Crucible – A Royal Blessing

I was really delighted to be able to accompany Prince Edward to the launch of the new Crucible. It was a very relaxed time with Prince Edward, and I was really pleased that the Crucible was able to be reopened and launched. I know that Daniel and his team will allow the Theatre to go from success to success.

More Tea Vicar?

I was delighted to launch Fair Trade Fortnight with young people across Sheffield in the Winter Garden. This is a campaign to ensure that producers of goods get a fair price for the products they produce in developing countries. Sheffield is a Fair Trade City and it was great to help launch the fortnight.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010

Snow Glorious Snow

I was on the TV, radio and newspapers to launch the great snow debate in Sheffield. We promised that once the snow had gone that we would have a debate, with the people of Sheffield, about how best to improve the snow clearing operation across Sheffield. Make sure you get involved by clicking on (insert link) and helping to improve how we can all keep Sheffield moving.

Run, run, run

I was able to help launch the Great Yorkshire Run. Some great names will be running it this year in September. I have also commited to running the event as well. It is a great family day out and really brings visitors into the city, and also local people are able to join in the fun and excitement.

Launching the Great Yorkshire Run 2010 in Sheffield

50 plus – Old People Having their say

 I was delighted to be able to speak to the 50 plus elders congress here in Sheffield. These people are elected by people of the same age, to represent them on a city wide level. Really usefully questions were asked, and I am really delighted that some of the issues that they raised we will be able to look at to help to improve services for those over 50 plus living in the city.

A sticky problem

As part of the Spring Clean event I was able to get involved with removing chewing gum from the City Centre. It is amazing how much this costs to tax payers, and therefore if we can just encourage people to put their gum in the bin it would save thousand of pounds a year and help keep the city looking more spic and span.

Clearing chewing gum in the city centre as part of Sheffield's Big Spring Clean 2010

Young People Give a Thumbs up to Local Playgrounds

I was delighted to attend Broadfield Road Park to celebrate with young people the fact that there has been a 15% increase in young people’s satisfaction of local parks and playgrounds this year. We are really trying our best to ensure that across the city every young person has a quality park and/or playground to go to.

Driving the Environmentally Friendly Way

I was able to go to Polestar – a huge printing works in Darnall – to celebrate with them their 5 stars that they have received as part of the Eco Star Scheme. This encourages businesses to run their vehicles more environmentally friendly, as well as helping them to save money. It a win, win. I was really pleased that Bedfords, who work with Polestar, got 5 stars for the work they have done.

Keep our Footbridge Open

I was delighted again to be shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sheffield in the name of keeping our Railway Station open and not having the footbridge, which the public have paid for, cut in two by ticket barriers being installed.

Roundabout

I was delighted to go to Roundabout which is a charity which helps teenagers who are homeless. I am really, really impressed by the work this charity does in trying to get young people back not just a home, but also employment and training so that they can have a better start in life.

As always, I am here if you need to contact me to ensure that Sheffield is a place where everyone matters.

Best wishes

Paul


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.


Another week of visiting diverse Sheffield

October 28, 2009
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – ‘Off the Shelf’

I was delighted to introduce Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at the Cathedral as part of the ‘Off the Shelf’ event. This is now seen as one of the North’s best and biggest reading and writing festivals. It is wonderful, and in its 18th year and I was glad to introduce Hugh. However, after introducing him I realised that I kept referring to Rose Cottage rather than River Cottage!

Just say no to knives

Showroom 012

Me and with Tapton School pupils who were at the launch of the DVD. I'm pictured with: Fraser Steele, aged 16, Keziah Abbotson, 16, Oliver Kavianih, 16, Lauren Henry, 17 and Harriet Dearden, 16.

I went to the launch of a very moving and shocking DVD about the effects that knives have on young people. I met some mothers who had lost their sons and it really brought home the stupidity of young people carrying knives. It’s really, really shocking that so many people in the UK lose their lives in this way and we need to do everything possible to work with young people so that they can lead fulfilling and positive futures.

Cricket, Football, Badminton

Cricket Badminton

Meeting with representatives from the Pakistani Muslim Centre to talk about sport bring people together.

As part of promoting Sheffield as a place to get active, I met with a number of people from the Pakistani Muslim Centre, to discuss how they wanted to pursue sport across cultures and across different groups within Sheffield as a way of bringing people together. I was very pleased to hear their ideas and just hope they can come to fruition.

Hopes and dreams of homeless young people

I was able to visit Roundabout, which is a wonderful charity in the Highfield area, which works with homeless young people. I was really inspired by the young people’s stories of how they are turning their lives around supported by Roundabout. I agreed to see them again and hopefully next time play a game of basketball with them which I was unable to do this time because of the rain!

Roundabout 2

Visiting homeless young people at Roundabout in Highfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is a coming – save energy and help the environment

OWL Smart Meter

Relaunching the OWL smart meter - available from your local library

Last week I relaunched the smart meters in the city. These are free from all libraries and help you reduce the amount of electricity you are using and help your CO² output as well. For further information, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/smartmeters.

St Wilfrids ‘The One and Only’

I visited St Wilfids and spoke to some of the people who use the service. I was really inspired and blown over by some of the work that is done here and the positive work of both the staff and those who are using the Centre. I had a great discussion about football, but also about the hopes and dreams of some of the people who use the Centre. I agreed to go back for their Christmas meal and support them.

St Wilfrids

Visiting St Wilfrids Centre to meet service users

Backing the Bid

This week I helped kick off the business part of Back the Bid. This is about trying to get business to make sure that they promote, both amongst their customers and employees, going online and voting for Sheffield and the World Cup. It was a really wonderful event and for those of you who haven’t yet voted, please visit http://www.sheffield2018.co.uk or text ‘Sheffield’ to 62018.

As always I am here to listen to the views of local people and if you need anything then please do not hesitate to contact me as I am really trying to make this city a place where everyone does matter.


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.