Community focus: Greenhill – a ‘friendly’ place with a great community spirit
There is no power for change greater than a community, or so the saying goes. And that certainly seems to be the case in Greenhill.
Take the thriving Greenhill Community Library, a place that was once at risk of closure.
After a cash-strapped Sheffield Council announced they could no longer run the library over five years ago, it seemed the area may lose the vital facility for good.
However, it was nothing the tight-knit community couldn’t handle.
Step forward a small group of volunteers who, determined to not let it fall by the wayside, posted letters through hundreds of doors asking for help to keep the library going.
Dozens answered the call and as they say, the rest is history.
A group of more than 120 now volunteer their time and the library continues to go from strength to strength solidifying itself as a hub for the community.
Chris Brown, chair of Friends of Greenhill Library said they host a number of events, including regular talks from local people, and have a great partnership with the Greenhill Village History Society.
He said: “We use the word community a lot here. In the near future we are looking to extend the building and the largest piece of that will be something called a community room.”
Once a small Derbyshire settlement which became part of Sheffield in 1934, today it is a bustling suburb with a ‘village feel’, home to a mix of young professionals, families and those who have spent decades here.
The area boasts a plethora of independent shops and is undeniably unique compared to neighbouring districts such as Lowedges, Bradway and Beauchief.
There is something on offer for each and every person living in Greenhill - or ‘gren-ell’ as it is known to some locals.
Greenhill Methodist Church also plays a major role in that, facilitating a number of groups.
Suzanne Morton, community outreach worker at Greenhill Methodist Church, said the space is always busy offering three toddler group sessions a week and a gender specific group for fathers to give dads the space to chat with others about their experiences but also build relationships with their children.
She added: “We’re also looking at post-retired guys and what we can do for them, so we’re in the process of trying to set up a Sheffield memory group.
“I’m looking for local people to come and facilitate that group, we want volunteers who can spark off conversations.
“The other thing we do is something called messy church once a month. It is not overtly Christian but it follows the values.
“We run coffee morning twice a week, line dancing, two art groups for the over 50s, over 50s silver swans ballet class – we cater for everyone from the cradle to grave and everything in between!”
Irene Colley, aged 86, who lives in nearby Batemoor has been visiting the coffee morning at the church since 1963.
She said: “Greenhill is a friendly place and I come here because of the people. It is nice to come here if you’re on your own like some of my friends. There is a lot going on in the area and lots advertised.”
It is hoped that the church will soon undergo an expansion, which will see a larger meeting space added, a restructure of the current building and a outdoor play area built - thanks marginally to donations from the community.
Suzanne said: “I think people are really trying in Greenhill. I regularly go down and visit all the shopkeepers and see how things are going. Particularly the guy in the DIY shop, Chris. I spent quite a lot of time talking with him about when St James’ was being open and his concerns.
“These are small little independent businesses, people are stuck in their shop all day on their own. There is a good community feel in that sense.”
The White Swan, based in Greenhill Main Road also host a number of events including live music which Suzanne said is packed with those who are post-retired.
The community spirit also shone through when members united to raise money for a live-saving defibrillator which is now in place at the Westwick Crescent shops.
Tasha Louise, 28, of Norton, recently moved back to Sheffield after living away for 13 years and was appalled to see the state of the city.
She now organises a litter pick in Greenhill and the surrounding area, every Wednesday at 10am and said she will be there come rain or shine with a smile on her face.
“I wanted to set up the litter pick for the environment mainly which I care about,” she added. “I noticed there is a lack of bins in the area and have. There are things thrown all over the streets to collect but how can people get rid of rubbish when there are hardly any bins in the area?
“I believe I can make a difference – just one small person with a loud voice and lots of energy and I should definitely use it to make a change.”