Community faces wall together now

The Savile Street site
The Savile Street site
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REMEMBER these faces. They’re going to be big. Literally.

This eight are among more than 70 Sheffielders who are to have their images plastered two metres tall along one of the main roads into the city.

The group - residents, shop-owners, community leaders and business people from Burngreave - will be featured on panelling stretching 110 metres down Savile Street for the next three years.

Why? Because it gives a better impression of Sheffield than the building site which will be behind it.

“The idea is that as you drive or walk into the city, you’re greeted by a real Sheffield community rather than what will basically be a construction site,” says Richard Hanson, the Pitsmoor photographer behind the project.

“Burngreave does get the odd bit of bad press but this is saying ‘Hey, this is a great, friendly place to live and work and be a part of, don’t just drive through, come and visit us’.”

The £5,000 work - called A Common Thread - has been commissioned by Sheffield City Council with money secured as part of the planning agreement linked to the area’s new Tesco.

Eventually, a public square will open in the space behind the panelling but, while the work is prepared, it is hoped this panelling will encourage Sheffielders to visit Burngreave. A patterned background, still being finalised, will run along the entire 110 metre stretch linking the photos.

“What have people said when we’ve asked them to appear?” muses Richard, 43, of Roe Lane.

“Well, yes or no, mainly. There’s not much middle ground is there?”

Holmfirth designer Paul Slater and Huddersfield photographer Yvonne Roberts are working on the project with him.

“We went to community days and into shops, told people what we were doing and asked them to be part of it - and mainly the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People love this area and they are proud to be associated with and I think they like the idea that there faces will be welcoming people on their way in or out of Sheffield.

“I jog through Burngreave every morning and it’s a great place. If we can get just a few people coming up there after they see the panelling then I think it will have been a success.”

So too does Yvonne Hayes.

The manager of Rainbow’s End charity shop in Sorby House, Spital Hill, is set to feature in the artwork.

“It will keep the burglars out of Burngreave having my picture up there if nothing else,” says the 60-year-old of Nottingham Street.

“It’s a great idea, though.

“This is a fabulous area to live but it is looking a bit run down at the moment.

“This should make things better.”

Richard, Paul and Yvonne are keeping a blog about the project at www.acommonthreadsheffield.blogspot.co.uk

What else is happening?

A COMMON Thread is part of £1 million of regeneration work being carried out in Burngreave.

The money has been secured partially through a planning agreement linked to the new Tesco store in Spital Hill and partially through central government’s Local Growth Fund.

The work is expected to include improving shop fronts and street scenes, the opening of a new square and improvements to the run-down Ellesmere Green.

“We are determined to improve the street scene,” says Harry Harpham, Sheffield City Council cabinet member for regeneration. “Burngreave is a busy gateway into the city centre that is in need of a major makeover.”