Shiregreen Community Homes with Sanctuary Housing

the Shiregreen Neighbourhood Challenge

Moving news!

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We are moving our news, calendar and other groovy stuff to our new website:  Shiregreen.net.  You can use the RSS feed to the right to connect – so go see and get involved!   We will continue to use this blog for monthly updates for Neighbourhood Challenge.  See you at Shiregreen.net!


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Written by colleenshiregreen

November 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm

March 2012 Update

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What are we most proud of this month?

We are definitely most proud of the 300 people who celebrated the collective strength of people power within the Shiregreen neighbourhood with a spectacular and emotional night at the Shiregreen Community Awards evening.

The pictures below show the presentations for winners of the ‘making a difference’, ‘good neighbour’ and ‘badminton-athon awards at the  event, which marked in fine style the culmination of our Neighbourhood Challenge year.  A thanks was also extended from Sanctuary to the voluntary and Councillor members of Shiregreen Community Homes Board for their volunteering.

There is a full gallery of pictures to view at www.shiregreen.net

What has happened this month and what have we learnt from it?

Reward is a concept that we learn about all through life, either through the joy of achieving good things or sometimes through frustration or disappointment when we feel we have not been recognised.  Also sometimes that we have somehow not done enough to be rewarded or fail to feel personally rewarded. Throughout the Nesta Neighbourhood Challenge year we have held various debates about different ways of applying reward to incentivise and motivate community action.  We have looked at methods such as time banking, points-based system, on-line systems all of which have a degree of complexity and require administering somehow.  When you are applying reward to community action, you have to think “what do we value?”  and actually you start to realise (as we identified throughout this process) it is quite often the small or less visible things that people do in neighbourhoods that add up to the biggest difference; being a kind neighbour, chatting over the garden fence, considerate driving,  providing a good service in your shop, fixing a problem, putting out a hanging basket, including others in your games and activities or just a friendly smile as you pass people by on the street.

Throughout this process we feel we have tried to celebrate all that is good about our neighbourhood as a way of highlighting that which is often overlooked.  Celebration is a kind of reward for all and also helps people refocus on positives.  The two biggest events we have held this year have been all about celebrating local skills and local efforts large and small and we think that by supporting and rewarding activity in different ways, you can be more inclusive.

Having an annual event, also provides a platform for reflection.  Many people fed back that they were amazed at the volume of action within Shiregreen and just having captured it in one place at one time, people could make connections with groups that they didn’t necessarily know were just on the doorstep.

We have thought about inclusivity and how some systems inevitably leave people out.. At our awards night we asked all community groups and schools to give special mentions which got read out on the night – each group were acknowledged and invited as a reward for their work.  Some groups identified people who had for one reason or another made a significant difference and it was wonderful that these efforts were recognised. Through advertising across the neighbourhood, we identified people who were good neighbours and therefore reached out a little beyond co-ordinated community action into everyday life.

However, reward is never without its issues.  We can still think of people who didn’t get the flowers and chocolates who might have done.  The positive of this is that there are very many people doing great things – and if we continue to commit to this approach for years to come then we become more inclusive.    Also, in relation to our neighbourliness award  we had a good number of people who told us they didn’t know their neighbours, or felt that they ticked along just fine without making a fuss about neighbourliness. Some people said it was just a natural thing to be neighbourly and others said they would rather keep themselves to themselves.   By championing neighbourliness we are  at least starting a conversation about its value and showing how to some people, it can be a lifeline.

Going forward into the future we have many ways of rewarding that we are going to continue to develop, from sponsorship of local fetes and sports clubs, right through to organising large annual award events; from planting bulbs for all to enjoy to implementing fun on-line to off-line systems that encourage young people to volunteer.  This year has been hugely beneficial in both bringing people together to debate these things, and more importantly bringing people together to share and celebrate.

Loving Where you Live: Tree Planting

We continue to support groups who are improving the lovable factor about Shiregreen.  Here is Hannah planting trees with the friends of Concord Park and Woolley Woods

Communication

Our second issue of the Shiregreen Neighbourhood Network Newsletter is in editorial – its packed full and we have been honing our skills of keeping stories meaningful but short!

Sophie is back on two legs and one of her first jobs was sorting out a rather packed community information stand.  When we started this process a year ago, we had a very limited resource and now we have a job keeping it in some kind of order!

Mission Shiregereen is live and loaded with 40 Shiregreen risk assessed missions of a helpful or purely fun nature! We are working with the local youth club as pilot points collectors!

We also felt the benefit of having a communications post in place this month. We had full page coverage in the Sheffield Star, which not only covered the Awards night but presented interviews with winners, promoted the new Hub Cafe and some roving reporting to find out people’s views about neighbourliness.

Taster Events at the Hub

The hub has been holding a series of food events including this breakfast club taster event, facilitated by local business PJ Taste and Milestone Restaurants.  Yummy healthy breakfasts yipee!

Fund Raising for Others

Allan Ogle was presented with this certificate for leading the fund raising activities for NSPCC for which he raised an enormous £5000 for the charity (and counting).

Strategies for Employment at the Neighbourhood Centre

We were also delighted to turn our Neighbourhood Centre into a conference centre for the day!  Over 50 people from organisations all over Sheffield gathered in Shiregreen to create an action plan for inter-agency support for creating employment and training opportunities locally.  The centre proved a great venue with four break out spaces and the large hall conveniently opening up to the kitchen where coffee, fruit and gingerbread bunnies were served!  Well done to all who helped set up the centre so well.

Preparing for Environment Week

Hannah Smith has been supporting the neighbourhood centre committee with business planning, budgeting and all things property management.  She also launched a new battery recyling project in Shiregreen.  The bucket is now half full (not half empty!)

What has been most challenging?

I am trying to work out whether blowing balloons up is harder than popping them after the awards.  At least the helium filled balloons were largely recycled by parents who lasted until the early hours and wanted to take something home to share with their loved ones at home who were tucked up in bed!

It is also hard to say fairwell to this blog after a packed year of action – but the good news is you can keep up with all our continued progress at Shiregreen.net!  Bye for now.  Colleen

Written by colleenshiregreen

March 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

Posted in Project Updates

February Update

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What are we most proud of this month

We are most proud of our new team!  Welcome to Hannah Smith and Allan Ogle, who joined us this month, bringing a wealth of expertise and oodles of enthusiasm which will ensure our Neighbourhood Challenge work continues to grow and develop in the future.

Allan, lives in Shiregreen and was formerly a volunteer who led on the highly successful Badmintonathon initiative. Allan will be working to support communications and information across Shiregreen, helping us capture and assess the impact of the work, helping people tell their stories and promoting and organising our community events.  Hannah will lead on putting the strategy we have developed for Community Investment in Shiregreen in place, supporting  groups and partners to initiate enterprise and community action.  This will give us a solid base for taking our work forward beyond our NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge year.  The year has provided us with many opportunities from which we have learnt what might work and what is less likely to work in our Neighbourhood.  We now have a solid foundation on which to deepen the impact of our work – it is all very exciting.

What has happened this month and what have we learnt from it?

Rose Gardens

We have learnt  that it is often the small things that count and also that spending some quality time focusing on the aspirations of one individual has wider benefits for a group.  Roz lives in Shiregreen and is a valuable member of staff at our new Care Home – Park View, Shiregreen.  Recognising the talent and abilities of residents in a care home and helping them achieve new things is what makes a new environment homely and inclusive, and Roz helped us achieve that for new resident Dennis.  Dennis has been helping with an art project at Park View out of which a piece of public art will be informed by the input of residents.  While talking to the artist and staff about his previous home we recognised that he was a keen gardener and loved roses.   We had been looking for opportunities to do something more creative with the outside space  and were well aware that Rose gardens were a big part of Shiregreen’s history.  We asked Dennis if he would help us pick out some roses and help design a small rose garden.  Our apprentices heard about this and wanted to learn more so we had a few hours trip out to the local garden centre to share our knowledge and ideas and within those hours for very little cost had designed, procured and (a few days after the frost had gone) planted up our first small rose garden.   This led us to think about the merits of connections with the outdoors and gardening and Park View linked up with Groundwork to plan a larger gardening project which will provide 25 learning sessions with a view to holding two community garden parties at Park View for all to enjoy…..  How fast a small seed grows in spring!

Neighbourhood Enterprise

Each month Sophie Bell, calls up to check on progress with our Dragon’s Den winners. This month Computers United have received a new printer and laptops will be arriving before month end. Bernadette has had a consultation with the Workshop about a design for a new website for her business and the craft team have produced a flyer for a clothes swap event in April in order to promote fabric skills, sharing and swapping.

Community Design

Engaging the community in designing public art is the ultimate way of gaining buy in and acceptance of what (given the very subjective nature of what people like as art) can be a controversial project.  Since Park View was a recent acquisition, we decided that it should not only have its own public art, but we would like to link it to the public realm art project and create one our now signature victorian lamposts.  These pictures shows members of Shiregreen Community Homes board members in the design session for the final lampost.  I think they show the struggles of artistic minds, culminating in an an epic olympic themed ensamble! Lesson leant:  Often the best results form from the meeting of minds.

New Volunteers

Our newsletter and web promotion has led to two new volunteers coming forward this month. This has resulted in a further member interested in linking with gardening initiatives and also a new volunteer who wishes to help with running the neighbourhood centre. This is a great result and shows that efforts to improve communication and marketing do pay off. We have dedicated lots of time this year to developing better channels of communication and these significant benefits make it clear that it is time well spent.

The hub cafe team and volunteers are opening increased hours since half term, with a bigger menu. Time has been sent sorting out art work for the cafe to make it more welcoming. Creating a pricing structure that is affordable, tempting and yet will help the hub bring in income has been key to launching the cafe. There is realisation that other income generating initiatives within the hub will help subsidise the cafe getting off the ground and plans are beind developed to roll this out in the next few months.

Planning for Awards Night

Our biggest job this month has been co-ordinating our awards night. We had no idea when we started promoting this that the idea would be so popular. Our venue has a maximum capacity of 300 – beleive me when I say we are very nearly full! Local church, sports, schools, support, interest, scouts and campaign groups are all coming together for a night of celebration and recognition for those who have worked hard and are commited to Shiregreen. Next month we hope to bring you all the pictures and news from the night.

Nominate a Neighbour

One of our awards on the evening is to celebrate and recognise the value of neighbourliness. It has been interesting promoting this initiative where by the community have been asked to put forward a nomination for their neighbour if they have been a particularly good and helpful neighbour. To make this work, the neighbour who has been put forward also has to agree to this recognition – and we are really happy to say that people have come forward and been thrilled for this opportunity to take part in our evening of celebration. I also wish to acknowledge that here is also a significant number of shy and helpful neighbours who, while anonymous – are helping keep this community healthy and strong. It is great that we can focus on positive neghbourliness. The initiative has also given root to ideas for projects that seek to support people who are isolated and lonely in their homes.

Knowledge Exchange

Our aspiration to support schools has led to an initiative to work with staff who regularly meet with families. A simple knowledge exchange event has been organised to help staff from Hinde House (one of our local secondary schools), share their expertise and knowledge with housing staff at Sanctuary.

We have also kept our links strong with Hinde House School – the other major secondary school in the area.  By being invited to sit on their ‘Friends of’ group our links with the parents and teachers who participate in extended school activities are strong.  This month we have been talking about the group adopting the talent spotting methods we have used in the community to build volunteering.  They want to use the fairground attraction we used at last year’s festival!

This form of collaboration means we can reach parents and school staff easily,  learn from each other and talk about practical ways we can help each other in our neighbourhoods.

What was the most challenging aspect?

We have lost our dear Sophie Lejeune (business administration apprentice extraordinaire) for a few weeks as she had a fall and broken her leg. This has been a challenge for us as we realised how precious it is to have the support that her post has brought to the project. It has been a challenge for Sophie as her toes have been itching (literally!) to participate in the Awards evening. We have just had news that all will be healed just in time for her to attend – but if the pot is not off we think she would look absolutely fabulous in sparkly, customised plaster! Get well soon Sophie x

Written by colleenshiregreen

February 29, 2012 at 6:29 am

Posted in Project Updates

January Update

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What we are most proud of this month…..

While we might not be quite Northern enough to see the Northern Lights,  our January skies have been quite spectacular!

One such evening inspired a local resident to design a lampost dedicated to a Shiregreen sunset and this month we have seen our vast gallery of victorian lamposts crowned with useful information!  Well done to Helen Wright, Rednile and all the community artists who designed over 80 of these lamposts which now also signpost fantastic places across Shiregreen.  Whoever said that practical can’t be beautiful?

What else has been happening this month and what have we learnt from it…

Of course, signposting is hugely important in our communities.  Getting  up-to-date information is  the key to unlocking new experiences and gaining valuable knowledge.  As we have found out during the Neighbourhood Challenge process, sometimes we are totally unaware of what is happening just outside our doorstep.  The Shiregreen Neighbourhood Network wanted to tackle this head on – which is where the fully launched and active http://www.shiregreen.net has grown from.  Also this month, the group circulated their very first newsletter to promote wwws.shiregreen.net and also provide information in a snappy, concise format to those who are not on line.  Here is the first edition:

Local jobs for local people  Hits on our http://www.shiregreen.net website  are encouraging, even prior to widely promoting the website.  Last week we held a recruitment drive at the neighbourhood centre for jobs which are available at our new Park View Care Home.  The two day event saw 48 people attend which has was great to see.  Because the newly formed job club provides support and training as well as matching people to vacancies, it allows people with little, prior experience to start building up their expertise and confidence.  Thanks to all involved for making this so successful and good luck to all those who showed interest and commitment by attending over the two days.

Spotlight on the hub and food enterprise…Over the last few months, a small group of people and organisations have met and started to develop exciting new possible uses for the Hub at Hartley Brook School. Convened by the school and Sanctuary, the meetings respond to some of the first thoughts and ideas that people came forward with at the big meal at the Hub during the Summer and were discussed afterwards in informal small meetings of local people. The development team includes representatives from The Milestone restaurant and P J Taste in the city who are keen to support and grow new catering talent in the area. And the ideas build off the back of the new cafe – now starting to do a roaring trade! Food growing, a bigger cafe and a new takeaway and home delivery service, themed to home cooking, are just some of things being discussed. Over the next few months, there will be a series of food events at the Hub which will be a new opportunity for people to not just enjoy the Hub but also get involved in how and what the Hub might do and offer people in Shiregreen in the future. What we’ve learned so far is that we need to have a middle and long-term plan for the Hub that can grow a service that people will value long in to the future…so that’s what we’re doing!

Community Training and volunteer journalists We have also had further training provided for budding local journalists who are developing local skills including writing for the web.  Tony Blackbourn put his skills into action when he attended a weekend of environmental work in Woolley Woods, where traditional methods, (including having help from the wonderful heavy horses to tow broken branches) were applied to conserving this ancient woodland .  It was a bright, cold frosty weekend – perfect for hard work.  Tony filmed the horses and volunteers and his film will shortly be uploaded to Shiregreen.net.  Thanks to Green Estate and all the team who provided this fantastic work in the woods  also to Wendy Gallagher for providing the journalism training to the  Shiregreen Neighbourhood Network .

Everyday inspired Sheffield Wednesday have been very active this month too.  They extended their initiative “Everyday Inspired” initiative which is a joint initiative between ourselves and the club with the purpose of providing free, physical activity for young people in the area.  Matt Bray from Sheffield Wednesday said “Events like this which run regularly, help young people in many ways.  Its not only the health and social benefits of the sport that are important but we get to know each other and talk about learning, and employment too.  We have taken some of the older young people to the job club to get support and advice following the events and can talk about the learning and training opportunities we can provide at the SWFC community project”.  You can read more on shiregreen.net about what some of the young people got up to…

Caring for new neighbours Park view care home has not only been recruiting new staff, but also welcoming new residents too.  We are meeting regularly at the home to talk about initiatives to welcome and involve new residents moving into the area.  For many of the residents this move might be the first time they have lived in Shiregreen and we want to welcome them and introduce them to the new accommodation, and the new area in the most positive way.  The staff at Park View are extremely caring and willing to work with volunteers through neighbourhood challenge.  We have plans to make a rose garden with one of the residents and also are working with a Sheffield artist to design public art that is informed by the creativity and imagination of people who live, work and visit Park View.  Plans to get the cafe (which leads out into a winter garden area) are also underway.

Telling our Story

We were also excited to be invited by Integrate Plus http://www.integreatplus.com/ to share our neighbourhood challenge story with others at a learning lunch.  Jon Wellard joined me to talk about our creative partnership and to update on Mission Shiregreen which goes live in March.   There were many people interested in sharing their knowledge and working in collaboration.   Many questions asked about the project.  Integrate plus will shortly add an article and film to capture some of the learning from the day.  Thanks for the opportunity – really appreciated!

What was the most challenging aspect this month….

Broken boilers and flooded floors at the neighbourhood centre were a challenge this month.  Thanks to a combination of people power (Debbie you are becoming a very handy, technical woman indeed and Eva the diamond with her mopping crew!) and speedy technical assistance from Sanctuary’s maintenance team and advice and help from Sheffield City Council – we were dry and toasty warm again fairly soon without having to close the centre.   These “don’t panic” type events do flag up the degree of responsibility required, and rapid response needed for running and maintaining community buildings.  The volunteer key holders have had a fair few early morning calls when the alarm has gone off for (thank goodness) fairly non-alarming happenings!  Thanks are also due to our Michelle and Richard our Sanctuary ‘guardians’ of the centre who have been locking up in the evenings after youth club and ensuring a safe environment for all.

Trying to organise another big event is also quite a challenge – our reward event on the 9th of March is looming and we keep adding to the exciting ideas to make it a memorable evening.  Wonderful volunteers are keeping this initiative on the road at the moment and we also  have (subject to formal agreements) appointed two new people to work with us on Neighbourhood challenge.  This means that we have a firm commitment for the future of our work.  Icarus and NCVO are helping us  capture our plans for the future.  We just cannot wait for our new people to start work with us and we hope to introduce them next month!

Written by colleenshiregreen

January 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Project Updates

December Update

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What happened this month and what we have learned from it….

“We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

This month has certainly been dominated by Shiregreen community events with a festive theme! We’ve had carols round the tree and a  Christmas meal for local residents – aided by TARA, Victorian Christmas Fayre and not forgetting the annual pantomime at Shiregreen Community Centre. We’ve also had the pleasure of Firth Park Christmas Fair, Santa visiting The Hub, mince pies at Concord Park with the Friends of Concord Park & Woolley Woods, Neighbourhood Centre’s Christmas Fair, Christmas Fair at United Reformed Church,  Shiregreen Children’s Centre Winter Festival, TARA’s trip to Skipton Medieval Market and Shiregreen Scout’s Christmas Fayre. There was festive activity going on at Park View Care Home where the children of Beck School went to sing carols for the residents and their family. Roman Ridge extra care scheme was a hive of activity with Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir and two other singers bringing some festive cheer. We have learnt that it isn’t actually all that important to ‘avoid’ the dates that other groups have chosen to hold your festive event – actually on one Saturday there were two large events in Shiregreen and both were extremely well attended with people meeting new friends and old by popping in and out of the two venues.   Santa was very busy that day!

Many people have commented how useful it is to map all events on one community calendar as we have done on Shiregreen.net. We have also sent off our draft newsletter for designing and printing.  The idea is for it to contain very short news clips and stories to raise awareness about what is going on in Shiregreen and how to get involved.  The first edition will be distributed in January.  We are determined to keep the newsletter both effective and affordable,  so writing concisely and choosing the most relevant stories for this short publication is important.  There is no shortage of news which is fantastic.  To get the right balance of stories we have put together a list of important questions to ask of our stories within the publication such as; Is there a good balance of stories from across community projects and centres? Have we included all projects and centres in the “What’s on?”  We also need to ask of each story;  What is the reader going to get out of this story/information?  What are we hoping to get out of telling this story? Do we want a response?  These questions will help us make a very short publication meaningful.

Further progress has been made at the Neighbourhood Centre with an agreement reached for a new service for people with learning disabilities locating here.  This is really significant as it will not only bring income to the centre but will also bring new friends and vibrancy.  We have also relocated The Hub Club to the Neighbourhood Centre, the service will continue to be run by Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.  Below are some pictures from the first session of the club at the new venue.

The University of Sheffield Students taking part in the “Making Ideas Happen” module, presented their Shiregreen business ideas at an evening event attended by an external and internal judging panel.  Each project group displayed posters and leaflets which supported full business plans.  The quality of the submissions was quite astounding, with particular highlights being the market research one group had conducted where they interviewed over 100 people from Shiregreen, and another group who had priced every single vegetable they would stock in a greengrocers shop.  The level of detail and commitment that was shown by the students is really inspiring and we are determined to put the best of their business ideas into action in Shiregreen.  Here are some photos from the event

Sheffield City Council have also chosen Shiregreen to be one of its pilot areas for developing dementia aware communities.  The first meeting was held this month in Shiregreen Neighbourhood Centre and was attended by local partners and volunteers who will work together to make a contribution to this initiative.  People who suffer from dementia, and those who care for people with dementia are an increasing number in our communities. The work we have already done in Neighbourhood Challenge to improve communications in the area, and also Sanctuary’s local investment for housing and care for people with dementia, puts us in a good place to make a strong contribution locally.

There is also continuing progression regarding the Hub at Hartley Brook School. David Barrie is leading this work and has secured on-going support from businesses such as the Milestone Restaurant in Sheffield. Ideas for work in the new year include using the hub space as a ‘pop up restaurant’ once a month for local people to go out and have a meal. The Milestone could provide apprentice chefs to help cater for the event alongside Hub Community Café workers.  The Ministry of Food are continuing with providing their cooking course in the new year and will use the kitchens at Hatfield School.

Concord Park is also shaping up nicely thanks to the Friends of Firth Park & Woolley Woods. There have been further discussions regarding phase two of the Multi Use Gaming Area planting and construction scheme. The ideas are to keep the areas colourful all year long as well as keeping them informal. Work is expected to start in February 2012 with a provisional date for a launch in May 2012

In the summer we met up with Nicolette Williams, who sadly lost her son in Afghanistan.  Since her tragic loss Nicolette has worked  tirelessly to raise money for charities such as Help For Heroes.  With the help of family and friends, she has also has raised £35,000 for the construction of a War Memorial in Shiregreen Cemetery.  We caught up with Nicolette just before Christmas and  have offered to help with the final preparations for the construction for the base of the memorial.  Nicolette is pictured here in action raising money near Shiregreen’s Nethershire shops.  Three cheers for Nicolette!

What was most challenging aspect of this month?

Sanctuary is a large registered provider of housing, and as I mentioned in last month’s blog we have a strong desire to capture what we are learning from our Neighbourhood Challenge year and produce a model of working in communities which can be used across our organisation.  Last month I raised the issue of capturing impact ‘scientifically’, and as a result of discussing this with NESTA,  I was kindly offered a meeting at NESTA with Alice Casey and John Whatmore to discuss developing our ideas as a model relevant for housing.  We discussed that not all results can be pinned down to statistics – but where we can show impact this way, it is powerful to do so.  Impact also seems to be driven by the will of people to “just do it” without particularly prior concern about how “it” is measured! We also discussed the importance of continuity, resilience and asset-based approaches as an effective way of directive positive action.  Sincere thanks to John for sharing some wisdom from his many years in Social Housing.

In the spirit of sharing pearls of wisdom, Sanctuary colleagues from Torbay visited Shiregreen this month and I followed this up by visiting them two weeks later. While Torbay and Shiregreen may not immediately seem similar, the areas in which we have significant housing stock have similar profiles, many assets, opportunities and many people who want to make a difference in their community.  It was wonderful to see how empty properties such as that pictured below can be turned into a community asset such as this charity shop which was opened for the first day on the day I visited!   Thanks to all the team and volunteers for sharing their ideas, gardening tips and enthusiasm – we are planning to keep the relationship strong between the two areas to feed into the development of an effective approach to working in our neighbourhoods.

One other wonder of this exchange was the realisation that the wonderful Brixham Youth Enquiry Service was just down the road!  I decided to pay a surprise visit and was AMAZED at the hive of activity that I happened upon!  Piano playing, elf costume ironing, garden tool manufacturing, Santa’s grotto construction….!  It was lovely to see Chris and the gang at Brixham.  Thanks to Ross for sharing grotto construction secrets and Graham and Alan for selling me a very useful moss removal implement that they had designed and made on the premises!  Sanctuary staff in Torbay are going to their Dare to Dream event – the wonder of linking-up eh?!

What are we most proud of?

This month we are definitely most proud of Beck Primary school Yr 5 children who volunteered to sing for the residents at Park View Care Home.  How wonderful it was  to hear these talented youngsters sharing few hours with us, visiting new places and meeting new friends within our community.  This is one simple but essential ingredient of strong communities.


Written by colleenshiregreen

December 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Project Updates

November update

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What happened this month and what we have learned from it….

Typically, a theme emerges each month, which summarises our action. Unless ‘variety’ could be deemed a theme, it is too difficult to summarise this month!  Variety has included; listening and learning in workshops, to walking up steps upside down; from dressing up as witches and pumpkins to appraising social enterprise ideas….


In all this mêlée, it has become increasingly apparent that the mantra “there’s not much goes on round here” is a myth.  In mapping some of the groups and activities on Shiregreeen.net (see ‘groups’ and ‘calendar’) action is being captured.  There is still much to add and I guess, much more to be discovered.

The neighbourhood news network team are uploading news and information to Shiregreen.net regularly. At regular physical and virtual meetings, we edit each other’s articles, debate new ideas and test out new skills such as interviewing and writing for the web.  The group has also developed a template to import our web news into paper newsletter format.  This will be delivered to all 5000 Shiregreen homes.

The newsletter will promote Shiregreen.net and also provide information and news to those who are not connected to the internet.  We are working closely with our partners to look at Digital inclusion.  This month South Yorkshire’s research and strategy for digital inclusion was launched at Sheffield Hallam University and we have been debating how we can make a strong contribution to digital inclusion in Shiregreen.  One small way is to install an IT resource room in the Neighbourhood Centre. This week we had a new line installed to improve connectivity and we are aiming to get the best deal we can on laptops and other kit.  The hub is already broadband connected and young people from SWFC’s NVQ programme recently used the main room to hold a session on searching for funding for community activities. The hub is revitalising the whole facility, not only making room for food enterprise but also for more adult and family learning.

Internet connectivity is essential for facilitating all kind of activities including accessing fun things to do – such as Mission Shiregreen!

You may have been wondering what the picture of the upside down man climbing the steps is all about.  This was a part of the mission explore training that was facilitated for us by the Geography Collective.  It was designed for local people who work with children and young people.  The day-long training was attended by Sheffield Futures youth workers who have in recent weeks opened up a new Shiregreen youth club, Activity Sheffield, Hub Club workers, Hartley Brook School employees and trainees.  The workshop was a training-the-trainer style workshop which is to be followed by a workshop in the community for young people and volunteers.

Mission Shiregreen is all about using online games to connect young people to real life activities!

•            Young people create their own favourite missions.

•            They upload their mission and suggest points for completing missions.

•            Others go explore and collect  points

We can then reward young people for collecting the most points, or creating the most exciting or helpful missions. Missions can be purely for fun or be incredibly worthy and helpful.  We want to show the world how much fun we can have in and out of Shiregreen – Yippee!

The workshop started with an ice breaker, making us more aware of our environment by sending us out on the streets to do tasks such as doing something difficult upside-down and finding something beautiful but wrong. This gave us an idea of how missions can come to life, simply by thinking of your own surroundings in a different way.

Beautiful but wrong? (discuss)

We thought about Shiregreen’s spaces – the many community centres, all the green space, the new art lampposts and came up with new ways of using these with just a little imagination. From the ridiculous– have you heard about the famous Wooly Mammoth that used to inhabit Woolley Woods? To the sublime – find a way to play football golf in four green spaces in Shiregreen.

The next steps are for us to do some market research with young people, see which missions work and which wouldn’t be so good. Mission Shiregreen is a fantastic way for young people to get out and about doing fun things that help broaden horizons and minds for free or next to nothing. These ideas can also be applied to existing groups that are already in swing such as Activity Sheffield’s ‘Blast Off’ football program that runs in the dark evenings and would help encourage children to keep attending these events and to work up to an achievable goal.

New people have also got involved this month challenging us to assist in; promoting activities for older people; marketing a cake making business; increasing volunteering opportunities for youth work; developing a clothes and fashion event.   It is also true to say that as the wave of energy rises, so has our need and desire to grow what we are doing.  We have finally reached a tipping point where we feel the need to grow our staff base to support this work.  We are really pleased to announce that we have developed two posts; Neighbourhood Challenge Co-ordinator and Research and Public Relations officer, to take our work to another level. This will enable us to not only support more people, but to broaden our partnerships and capture what works and what doesn’t in order to achieve our goal of a transferable model of facilitating effective community investment by housing associations.

Our aspiration has always been to support local people and partnerships rather than to build an unsustainable infrastructure for delivering community investment and therefore we want to keep our staff base slim and efficient.  A learning point has been that some aspects of the work need intensive co-ordination and professional infrastructure to support volunteers and take forward development and promotion – in particular in supporting more complex projects like asset transfer.

The most challenging aspect this month?

Apart from walking up stairs upside down, we have been challenging ourselves to come up with a strong and popular concept for our rewards event to be held in February or March next year.  We have come up with an innovative partnership idea, which may or may not come to fruition (watch this space).  We are also struggling with the concept of a “rewards event” Do we want ‘The Oscars’ or do we want a fun event to reward everyone and no one in particular….  We need to keep talking to people to find out the right approach.

In Shiregreen we have seen on a micro-level that celebration, positivity, focus on assets, focus on what is great about your neighbourhood and what can be achieved with imagination and friendship (maybe an alternative word for partnership) leads to marvelous happenings.   The ultimate challenge is to see if this can develop and endure across all services in one place, and be maintained through hard times, through times when things go wrong etc.  We want to see if, in the longer term, this approach makes a real difference.

This month I have been reviewing recent socio-economic data for Shiregreen.  This is always a challenge due to the ever-evolving methods used to collect data, the many different ways of defining “neighbourhood” and in isolating findings for a particular area at a particular time.  Research is however, an essential element of understanding place – we shall persevere!

What are we most proud of this month?

We are proud of Shiregreen.net and anyone who can solve Pete’s on-line quiz!

We are very proud of our volunteers who are working extremely hard to keep our centres thriving and growing.  The neighbourhood centre committe are ticking things off their wish list as every week goes by. The Shiregreen Community centre have shared their expertise again to help us develop the neighbourhood centre in a way that is informed by their experience as well as testing out our own new ideas.

We are proud of Eva Stanley’s new Games Group, which was really well attended at its first meeting – it is a great opportunity to meet new people and have fun.

We are proud of Maureen Shipley and all members of the Friends of Concord Park for planting bulbs that we can all enjoy next spring.

We are proud of our gallery and the wonderful new exhibition by talented local artist Mick Hague

We are proud of the hub’s new signage and new (but traditional) notice board

We are proud of our University of Sheffield partnership and the young people who met with us three times this month and emailed us many searching questions about the area in order to polish up their enterprising ideas.  We are also proud that they are so very confident about one of their ideas that they have approached us for a business loan to get it going – I feel another Dragons Den moment coming on ….


Written by colleenshiregreen

November 30, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Project Updates

Everything (including the kitchen sink!) for Shiregreen Scout Hut

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The scout hut in Shiregreen has been a hive of activity over the past few months following a complete makeover to the building. The major refurbishment was necessary after a leaking pipe damaged the whole building last Christmas, sadly making it unfit for use.

Following the clean up of its grounds by Shiregreen Community Homes and 40 volunteers, a brand new kitchen has been donated and fitted – free of charge – by Frank Haslam Milan (FHM). This means that once up and running, the hut will be capable of catering for birthday parties, lunches, day activities and much more.

Danny Levick, the scout leader for Shiregreen told us what had been going on: “At the beginning of the year the hut was ruined because of a water leak. A pipe burst over Christmas and caused so much damage to the structure that everything had to be stripped right back. The total building work to make the hut good again will be £10,000. We have done lots of fundraising to raise the money, but FHM saved us over £3,000 by donating the kitchen and fitting it free of charge.

“The work began in August and we’ve been using temporary venues for our 90 scout members. Throughout the summer the scout group have been talking about the work taking place at their hut.”

The kitchen was fitted by local Shiregreen lads Connor Bramford, aged 19, and 18-year-old Ed Hamilton. Both are apprentices for the building company Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) and are currently working on Sicey Pavilion Apartments – a £2.2 million housing development from Shiregreen Community Homes, part of Sanctuary Group, which will provide accommodation for older people in the surrounding communities.

We asked Connor why he wanted to help fit the new scout hut kitchen, he told us: “I know people who have used this scout hut. Its really important to the young people here, and it feels good using the skills I’ve learnt on the Sicey Avenue building site to help them.”

Connor and Ed were joined at Shiregreen scout hut by Chris Goddard from FHM. Chris organised all the kitchen supplies and helped save the project £3,000 by donating it. He said, “After the structural work was finished, the building was just an empty shell. FHM offered to help and arranged for the new kitchen to be fitted. Now the kitchen is finished it means more activities can be put on for local people – like exercise classes and birthday parties. It’s a good job all round.”

The project has been a great success for everyone involved. We caught up with Peter Martin, Sanctuary’s Group Director to ask him what he thought of the apprentices work. He said: “These young apprentices are not only getting the opportunity to learn a real trade, they are also being given the chance to get closer to the community and it has been a thoroughly motivating experience for everyone involved.”

Fitting the new kitchen was one of the last big jobs to be done on the scout hut. There are still a few small things which need sorting out, but the plan is to officially open the scout hut in the New Year.

1.  Scout Leader Danny Levick, Trainee Joiner Connor Bamford,19, Trainee Joiner Edward Hamilton,18, and FHM Site Manager Chris Goddard

2.  Connor and Edward fitting the new kitchen in the scout hut

3.  Connor fits a unit

Written by colleenshiregreen

November 3, 2011 at 8:17 am