City has tough course to steer

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WHAT the shape of Sheffield will be in 2020 is changing as it tries to balance the years of austerity and challenges they pose with the developments and improvements that are well established.

What we don’t know is how the challenges of future years will play against those improvements.

But as the State of Sheffield annual report is published today, it is appropriate to take stock of where our city stands.

We have seen improvements in educational achievement, air quality has generally got better, the economy is still relatively resilient, and we have economic diversification and a good quality of life.

The city is focused on targets for improvement and is still making good progress in achieving those.

But let us not look at the city through rose-tinted glasses. We have significant challenges. The report paints a picture of the city that is relatively resilient but also on the cusp of changes that could blow it off course.

We have areas of high unemployment, inequality is rife with one in four households living in poverty, we do not have a good enough mix of high value businesses and we have a city council that is having to make rapid changes that could affect delivery of services to the most vulnerable.

Once again, this report is a useful milestone marking progress against key criteria that reflect the wellbeing of our city.

And in the tough years ahead, there will be a greater call and need for organisations to work closely together to continue to steer us to a better place.

Community spirit is alive and well

COMMUNITY spirit is alive and well and living in Sheffield. We know that thanks to residents who spotted a burglary in their street and took pictures on their phones of the offenders.

Thanks to their swift action, the break-in was thwarted – and two suspects were arrested a short distance away.

This paints a very different picture to The Star’s front page of January 24, when figures showed a third of people ignore burglar alarms and half take no notice of car alarms.

It prompted us to ask the question have we stopped caring?

Today’s story of a neighbour and several friends taking pictures of the thieves in action answers that. It’s clear people are still prepared to help fight crime. Nobody is asking people to put themselves in danger, but if we can be the eyes and ears of the police like the residents in Highfield, Sheffield, we’re making life more difficult for criminals..