Some of the region’s most influential political figures have given their backing to our Know Your Neighbour campaign.
Lord Nazir Ahmed, who was appointed to the House of Lords as the UK’s first Muslim life peer in 1998, called initiative ‘fantastic’ and said he was pleased to support it.
He said: “If we take the time to get to know each other - across different faiths and in different areas - we will find that there are not that many differences between us.
“Respect for our neighbours is so important because these are the people who will look out for you and your home, when you are on holiday for example. You don’t have to be the same as each other, but you can have respect.
Lord Ahmed visited The Star offices last week along with representatives from Link FM - the radio station who are running the campaign alongside us.
He reflected on memories of his own neighbours as a young child.
“I remember when I first came to the UK I lived on St Stephens Road in Rotherham with my family. We lived next door to a wonderful couple. We didn’t have a TV at that time, so whenever the football was on he would come and ask us if we wanted to come round and watch it.
“I’d go round and his wife would always bake her own fruit cake and give me some. They were such small gestures, but they have stuck with me. Now, when my wife cooks she makes extra samoas and takes them to our neighbours.”
The campaign has also been supported by some MP candidates.
Angela Smith, MP candidate for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: “I back the campaign for the most obvious reasons - loneliness is a growing problem in all communities and we can all help to reduce the problem by helping our neighbours and maintaining friendships with those who live near by.”
Paul Bloomfield, MP candidate for Sheffield Central, said: “It’s a great campaign, which plays to our strengths as a city. Everybody talks about Sheffield’s friendliness. Let’s use it to good effect. Loneliness can have a devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health.
“We can all make a difference by reaching out to others who are on their own. Building understanding between communities strengthens the city.”
Louise Haigh, MP candidate for Sheffield Heeley, said that she was ‘really happy’ to support the campaign.