The Manor estate in Sheffield was once dubbed ‘the worst estate in Europe’.
The infamous area, made up of nearly 4,000 homes, was built in the 1930s to ease inner-city overcrowding, but workplaces were not included in the scheme and unemployment hit the area hard.
In the 1980s, Sheffield-born Labour politician Roy Hattersley called the estate the worst in the UK.
It seems ironic that during the previous decade, residents had been willing to wait years to be housed on the Manor estate. Then by the time The Full Monty came out in 1990, the estate provided a gritty backdrop to the film, bringing to the public eye everything that was dull and depressing in a declining Sheffield.
Then, 18 years ago, somebody decided to do something about it.
Dave Clarson founded the Manor and Castle Development Trust, with the sole aim of breathing new life and optimism into the deprived Manor and Casle wards of Sheffield.
And eight years later he sparked the creation of The Quadrant, an £11.6m establishment off Sheffield Parkway at Darnall.
The Quadrant provided, and continues to provide, the Trust with an asset which provides a long-term income stream to fund regeneration in the community it strives to improve.
This year, The Quadrant marks its 10th anniversary. As it celebrates this special milestone, I hope Dave and the whole team realise just what an important role both The Quadrant and the Trust have played in helping a Sheffield community pull itself up when it had everything against it.
The Quadrant’s success goes to show how vital it is that funding continues to be pumped into areas such as this. By giving this community the funding catalyst it needed, it has been able to drag itself up and support itself through a sustainable and innovative model.
Not only that, but The Quadrant supports and encourages growth among small enterprises.
All in all, it provides the best of both worlds – an award-winning building with great facilities, combined with the bonus of supporting the community around it. All profits are channelled into local projects to create jobs, provide training and offer new, life-changing opportunities to people in some of Sheffield’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
That money really does help to build new lives. Here’s to the next 10 years of The Quadrant.