Katie helps families get out of the house

Sheffield mum Katie Hayward who launched 'Little Sheffield' - a free information website providing details of things for children in the city. Katie is pictured with her two boys Owen and Edan
Sheffield mum Katie Hayward who launched 'Little Sheffield' - a free information website providing details of things for children in the city. Katie is pictured with her two boys Owen and Edan
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Busy mum Katie Hayward spends her life on the internet.

Whether trawling through forums and message boards, checking out local websites or researching events and groups, her work never seems to be done.

Because Katie, mum to two-year-old Edan and five-month-old Owen and a full-time processing compliance manager, also runs Little Sheffield – a free website jam-packed with information, links, details and a million other essential titbits for city mums.

“It can be exhausting at times, but I love it,” said the 30-year-old, who lives with her boys and husband Kim in Crookes.

“I just want to provide as much information to mums around Sheffield as I can and the hunting is addictive, so my search is never really over!”

Katie started Little Sheffield with the aim of helping parents get out of the house, find local support groups, access local information and, ultimately, enjoy time with their children.

She was inspired to start the site last year, while on maternity leave with Owen, after she struggled to locate a lot of the information she wanted herself as a new mum.

“One day I decided to build a free website and just started pasting information in about local events I thought would be nice for mums looking for something fun – and free – to do with their children,” she explained.

“When I was on maternity leave, my babies and I were always happier when we were out of the house – away from any jobs that wanted doing around the house and surrounded by other people – so I knew there were other mums out there on the lookout for the same things.

“The details just weren’t that easy to track down, so I made it my mission to provide a one-stop-shop for information, all pulled together in one accessible location.”

And nine months on, Little Sheffield has taken on a life of its own, with more than 2,000 followers and backing from prominent local figures, including former Home Secretary and Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett.

Katie said: “I’ve had a couple of emails from Mr Blunkett, encouraging the work I’m doing, which he described as ‘extraordinarily interesting.’ That meant an awful lot.

“I’m meeting with the Lord Mayor of Sheffield who is keen to hear more about what Little Sheffield is doing which, again, is a lovely boost when I spend so much of my time on my own in front of my computer, hoping I’m managing to make a difference – however small.

“I have had lovely emails and comments and messages from people thanking me for the information and telling me how much they enjoy the various events they’ve found through the site and it really does mean so much.

“I still get excited and have a little dance around my kitchen when I get lovely feedback. I’m so passionate about helping parents access vital information and, what’s really great is that, people or places running events are now starting to seek me out and let me know when things are going to be happening, which is an absolute dream.”

Katie is even hoping to run her own regular free events in the city, which she took a step towards last month with a family fun trail at the Winter Garden.

She has also launched a series of pushchair walks in the local area and – later in the year – is planning a ‘baby and toddler’ event, which she is working to organise in conjunction with a whole host of independent local businesses.

Katie added: “I don’t plan to take any money from the site and all costs are currently paid for by myself. There is, however, a small advertising space which has proven really successful with local advertisers and if that can form an established income to cover costs or fund future free events for children, I’ll be really pleased with that.”

Most of all, Katie says she is keen to keep Little Sheffield thriving and doing what it does best once she returns to work later this year, at Go Outdoors on Bramall Lane.

She added: “The primary goal is to provide everything for Sheffield mums under one roof and I think our Help Centre is another particularly important feature – where mums can access information on breastfeeding and post-natal depression as well as support groups and links to important articles.”

Visit the website at littlesheffield.org.uk or check them out on facebook.com/littlesheffield