Members of a Sheffield community group are hoping to use an empty shop to improve the lives of residents.
The Link Community Group in Stradbroke has taken over a former hair salon – which had been empty for two years – on Stradbroke Drive, and plan to convert it into a community hub.
Helen Eadon, aged 47, one of the founders of the initiative, said: “Everyone was fed up because there’s nothing to do around here. There is a need for something like this in the community. “
So in April, Helen, Frances Taylor, 37, and 32-year-old Nicola Quibell ‘got together to do something’.
Half of the building now houses a ‘nearly new’ shop, whose profits will fund the development of the rest of the building, which will become a community space with meeting rooms and a kitchen.
Helen said the Salvation Army wants to create a community garden behind the building, growing vegetables and herbs.
Helen said: “We have a lot of projects coming up, so we would love volunteers to come and help and take ownership of this space.
“I hope what we’ve done might show people in other areas what you can do when people come together to help their community.”
The group has been supported by a range of partners, including Stradbroke Tenants’ Association, Woodthorpe Development Trust and construction firm Kier.
Helen hopes the new hub will bring people together.
She said: “Intergenerational understanding between people is something we want to see.
“Sometimes you see a group of young people on the street and you automatically think they’re trouble but they’ve just got nowhere else to go.
“We want to bring everyone together and give them somewhere to go.”
Future plans include a sensory garden, health workshops and chiropody service.
Helen said: “There’s a real feel-good factor to it.
“Our strapline for the initiative is Stronger Together, because we really are better when we all work together.”