Gleadless Valley Sheffield: Meet the community activists contributing to a 'phenomenal community spirit'

As Sheffield’s Gleadless Valley prepares for a major transformation, we met the community activists and volunteers working to improve the area they call “phenomenal”.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 1:35 pm

The Gleadless Valley ‘Masterplan’ is a £90 million redevelopment of the suburb due to take place over the next 10 years.

Plenty of work has and is already being done by the community and activists of Gleadless Valley to make the area the best it possibly can be.

Councillors, such as Green Party councillor Paul Turpin, have contributed lots to the community and work hard each day to ensure the people’s voices are head and needs met.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sheffield's Gleadless Valley estate.

Read More

Read More
Man searching for Sheffield sister, who 'does not know he exists'

Some of the work the councillors for Gleadless Valley have participated in includes funding a woodland management plan, supporting residents to get urgent repairs and property issues sorted, identifying fly-tipping hotspots, and developing a Neighbourhood Action Group.

Many other community figures and activists are working hard behind the scenes to contribute to the community they all know and love.

Sally Pedley, chairperson of the Gleadless Valley Tenants and Residents Association, looks after tenants with housing repairs, among plenty of other work done by the TARA.

Newfield Green Library in Gleadless Valley.

The association predominantly supports residents with tenancy issues, but also organises social events, such as children’s parties, and builds social cohesion. It also works to address environmental issues in the area, and uses its voice as an association to put pressure on the authorities and get things done to help the local community.

Speaking about the Gleadless Valley community, Sally said: “Very good salt of the Earth people, they’ll call a spade a spade. If they aren’t happy with something they’ll tell you – it’s the people that make it what it is more than anything.

"You don’t have to venture off the estate if you don’t want to, there is everything there for you if you want it.”

Gleadless Valley activists and Wildlife Trust.

Sally is also really looking forward to the Masterplan, although she did have reservations when it was first announced.

"I’m really pleased about the masterplan because it’s going to modernise it and that’s the one thing I’d say Gleadless Valley needs,” she said.

May Connolly from the Heeley Trust is also a big fan of the community of Gleadless Valley, as her role means she gets to work closely each day with people living there.

The trust, which moved into Newfield Green Library two months ago, has already introduced a coffee morning, toddler and adults crafts groups, digital inclusion groups, and employment support. The trust and May are working hard to “facilitate the community”, and simply follow what the community wants.

Volunteers at Gleadless Valley foodbank.

"We make sure the thing people want to have on get put on, like if they want a toddler group,” said May.

About the community, May said: “I love how open the people are, it’s more than just being friendly, it’s being really open. I have had some great chats at the shops with people and the community are really helpful.”

Jock Stevenson is the manager at the local Gleadless Valley food bank, and his role of helping deliver food to those who really need it is something that makes Jock very happy and proud.

"We don’t just deliver food here. We deliver hope. We deliver a chance to change people’s reality. The community spirit in the valley is just phenomenal – it’s breathtaking,” he said.

"You can see the stress on them (when they arrive), and they walk out with a smile, and that makes this job, my job, worthwhile."

Jock really wishes to help the community he loves even further, and now plans to open a charity shop, community hub, and even possibly a youth club close to the food bank to ensure youngsters in the area have things to do and opportunities – something which is really important to him.

Gleadless Valley Church.

Part of the Gleadless Valley masterplan is to maintain the area’s rich green spaces whilst also using them for the better of the community.

The Gleadless Valley Wildlife Trust, made up of around 50 volunteers all from around the area, works hard to maintain and preserve the green spaces which are a real asset to the community.

The trust’s activities include regular conservation work days, spring cleans, litter clean ups, preserving and taking care of the green spaces, and running guided walks for the local residents.

Members also create wildlife surveys to ensure they complete the work and maintain the green spaces the way the community wants – showing the real community spirit and inclusion of Gleadless Valley.

William Fairhead, a volunteer at the Gleadless Valley Wildlife Trust, says the green spaces are really important to the local community and an asset.

"The majority of people value the green spaces and use them quite often, so we have volunteers out here doing all sorts,” he said,

"Over the last few years, there are more and more local people involved in volunteering and doing all sorts, and that’s what we are doing here.”

Iren Wadsworth, local litter picking organiser, is a big advocate of the green areas and loves Gleadless Valley.

"It’s a lovely area, I think it is just gorgeous. Once you leave your home you’re in the woods, in another world and it is a really special place,” she says.

The parish church of Gleadless Valley also takes part in community activities and programmes. Aly Middleton, from the Gleadless Valley Parish Church, is in love with the area and the community spirit, and believes the church reflects the community well.

"I love the green spaces, the woods, and I also enjoy the way people work together. It is a really diverse area and I believe our church reflects that,” she says.

The Gleadless Valley Masterplan is not expected to be done for another 10 years, but Paul Turpin and his fellow councillors are working hard to ensure the large sum of money granted to the area is spent how the people want to create an improved and sustainable Gleadless Valley.

Paul Turpin, Green Party Councillor for Gleadless Valley Ward.