Community focus: Nether Edge - friendly residents united in their passion to protect and preserve their community
If ever there was an area that epitomised the word community in Sheffield, Nether Edge would reign supreme.
The south-western suburb is famed for its luscious, tree-lined streets which in recent years have been a backdrop for activism and anger during protests against the council’s tree-felling and replacement programme.
Aside from sparking debate, the sight of campaigners standing arm-in-arm in Nether Edge demonstrated a community united in its fight to protect and preserve the trees, not only for the health of the people in the area but also the history the greenery represents.
However, that spirit existed in Nether Edge long before the tree felling began.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Nether Edge Farmers’ market, a place where local traders and craftspeople can sell their wares at an event that attracts hundreds of visitors to the suburb each quarter.
Situated around the old Nether Edge Market Place, the well-established market is run by the Nether Edge Neighbourhood Group and has something to suit every age with a varied programme of live entertainment, stalls and music.
David Pierce, aged 82 and former chair of the NENG, said: “I was one of the four who gave birth to the market but I’ve no doubt that the hundreds that come are extremely supportive and appreciative of the fact it’s here.
“We never have any trouble or violence, there is just a sense of community. People stop and talk to each other, it is a big community event and I believe we have got the frequency just right. It happens four times a year so people look forward to it.”
Since its inception in 2008, the market has gone ahead every quarter come rain or shine.
However, when heavy snowfall looked to end that record last year, undeterred residents were on hand to save the day.
Nicola Smith, 69, has lived in Nether Edge for over 30 years. She says her favourite things about the area are a combination of how green it is, along with the friendliness and generosity of those who live there.
She added: “There is a friendly and neighbourly feel in Nether Edge. It is very relaxed and people are generally helpful, they are not just concerned about themselves but their neighbours as well and there is a sense of valuing what we have.
“There is an Only in Nether Edge Facebook group and people will post on that. I’m a keen gardener and I regularly put plants outside my gate for people. It is that sharing mentality that those who live here possess.
“We also held a big lunch on our street which everyone got involved with. My street has a nice mix of people – some have lived there as long as I have, others are students or young families.
“Everyone will chat and they’ll help each other out whether it be babysit, cat-sit, or look after your garden That’s nice as that is what my generation did.
“People are also generally concerned about the environment. Many people choose to live here for the trees and the wildlife that brings.
“Everyone wants to protect and preserve the area, there are regular litter picks and, even though there is the odd graffiti on street signs, people paint over that.”
Nether Edge has plenty on offer for those who choose to live there, with a bustling shopping district featuring a growing range of independent business and attractions such as wholefood grocers Zeds, Cafe #9 and Wickwire, a card and gift shop.
Across the road people can find one of the most well-established Nether Edge groups – the 150-year-old bowling club.
Hidden away behind houses and a tall stone wall, it is not immediately noticeable but it is an important part of the area’s social life, particularly for older generations.
The suburb also boasts a history group, numerous book clubs and groups for parents with toddlers.
David Pierce, who moved to Sheffield in 1975, added: “The area itself has been popular for many years.
“Cafe #9 is amazing and the shopping centre is a good little place. People choose to live here because there is a perceived image of Nether Edge, it has a mix of everything.
“I used to live on Carterknowle Road but it wasn’t quite Nether Edge. People here value the community, it is tight-knit. There are lots of people who live here, academics, young families, a real mix. Ethnically too, but that adds to the diversity of the area.
“Nether Edge is one on its own, you’ve got places such as Crookes and Hunters Bar which are similar but don’t come close.”
Each year NENG also organises an Open Gardens Day, which is taking place on June 23. It will feature horticultural planters on the railings at the crossroads and a larger one near the bus stop.