Sheffield shooting estate determined to bounce back from bad headlines

The Corner House community centre on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.
The Corner House community centre on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.
0
Have your say

When a ‘drive-by’ shooting took place on the Wybourn estate in January, some residents feared the worst.

A car was shot at on Boundary Road by gunmen in another vehicle, terrifying residents and propelling the area into the spotlight.

Community activist, Steve Savory.

Community activist, Steve Savory.

The estate has had a problem with anti-social behaviour for some time - but it had largely been spared the kind of violence that some other areas of the city had suffered.

Following the shooting, some in the area feared a repeat of the month-long period of unrest that took place following a sawn-off shotgun attack in 2013.

Thankfully, however, it seems that the most recent shooting was a one off, and was, according to some in the community, possibly even a case of mistaken identity.

Nevertheless, it was another black mark in the copybook of an estate that too often finds itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Emmaus Primary School and fields.

Emmaus Primary School and fields.

Despite this, a quick look around the estate reveals much to admire, and a community determined to overcome the setbacks that can come its way.

Steve Savory, 61, is a community activist on the estate he has lived on for 42 years.

A full-time carer, he is also chair of a residents’ forum which both tackles the problems it faces and attempts to improve it through the power of collective action.

“We had the police up and down here for a couple of days afterwards but it has been quiet since,” says Steve of the drive-by.

The Corner House community centre on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.

The Corner House community centre on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.

“We have had our fair share of violent crime and we used to get these turf wars.

“But the lads who were causing the trouble are growing up a bit more so we don’t see as much as we used to.

“Now we are just waiting for the next generation to come through.”

Despite its recent troubles, Steve says the estate has a lot going for it, not least the residents’ group which he chairs.

Wybourn Children's Centre.

Wybourn Children's Centre.

This forum, which was set up by housing association Great Places, only has around four or five regular members but certainly makes it presence felt.

“The group virtually died four or five years ago,” says Steve.

“Then about six months ago there was talk about getting it up and running again.”

A bigger problem for residents than violence, Steve says, was youngsters riding motor scooters on the estate with little regard for other people who lived there.

“The motor scooters were a massive issue,” he says.

“We had a meeting at Skye Edge which was attended by the local detective constable and Paul Blomfield.

The former Windsor pub on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.

The former Windsor pub on the Wybourn estate in Sheffield.

“People threw some pretty serious questions at the detective.”

Since their intervention, the issue has become noticeably better and the estate also has new barriers which make it more difficult for riders to cause problems.

Steve is full of praise for Great Places, who he says have put a lot of money into the estate and also take an interest in how it looks by demanding residents maintain well looked after gardens.

He also says the Premier shop at the top of Boundary Road strikes the right balance between allowing youths to congregate and moving them on.

The Wybourn losing its pub, however, has left a huge hole in the community, according to Steve.

In his view, institutions like the Windsor act as a bulwark against the problems of the area and as such was a real asset to the estate.

“The Windsor used to be a focal point for people on the Wybourn,” he says.

“It used to be a cracking pub but the police shut it down two or three years ago.”

Since closing down the building has become disused and derelict and has left a hole in the estate’s social life that has not been adequately replaced.

Luckily, the estate still has two good primary schools, a children’s centre and a community centre from which activities like litter picks and cooking and painting classes are organised.

The Corner House on Manor Oaks Road - which was provided to the community by Great Places - was even home to a Santa’s Grotto over the festive period.

And the brick and mortar community centre has also spawned a virtual equivalent on Facebook.

‘Wybourn Be Heard’ currently boasts more than 600 members and acts as a forum to encourage community action and hold service providers to account.

To the west, the estate is bounded by the beautiful open space which separate it from the nearby Manor estate, including the Lodge, the fields surrounding Emmaus Primary School and Manor Oaks Farm.

And the Wybourn will soon have another park itself, as an area at the top of Whites Lane is transformed into a communal play space, again thanks to Great Places.

The area, which will be known as Memory Point, will be opened on Thursday, April 12 between 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

The Memory Point park will be situated on open space at the top of White's Lane.

The Memory Point park will be situated on open space at the top of White's Lane.