Shiregreen 'has really been transformed in the last 10 years'

Shiregreen has been transformed in the last 10 years and is a far cry from the perceptions many people have of it.

Wednesday, 15th August 2018, 9:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th August 2018, 9:18 am
Shiregreen has been transformed over the last 10 years

It is a working class area which residents admit has had its hard times, but has undergone somewhat of a transformation recently.

From the local secondary school, to residents, councillors and community groups - there is a real sense of pride with everyone working for the common purpose of improving the area for those who live and work there.

Councillors Dawn Dale, Peter Price and Garry Weatherall

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Last year Firth Park Academy was thrust into the national spotlight when it opened its doors to a camera crew for a whole term as part of the third series of CBBC’s Our School.

They filmed the school and some of its year seven pupils for a fly-on-the-wall documentary to show viewers what life is like in an inner-city secondary school and challenge some of the perceptions people had of Shiregreen.

Principal Dean Jones said one of the main reasons for taking part, as well as giving pupils a great opportunity, was to show the area wasn't full of crime.

Instead he wanted to show the world a 'beautifully wonderful and diverse school', where there is a team of great staff and students who are trying their best.

Bellhouse Road, in Shiregreen

Sheffield Council's longest ever serving councillor, Peter Price, has been representing the community for 47 years and has seen it transform over the last decade.

"It's a fabulous area and has really transformed in the last 10 years," he said.

"Across the estate we have had all the highways work done - all the roads and pavements completely re-done and trees removed to make it easier for disabled people and people with prams.

"It has improved the area, it looks amazing.

Chris Nall, who leads Forge North Football on Monday evenings, Steve Hipwell, who does one-to one-work in Firth Park Academy and James Homer, who leads the youth club on Wednesday evening at on Bellhouse Road

"It's a much more attractive place and is much more popular with people."

He too admits the area does have its occasional problems, with litter being a big issue. But as with all the problems the area faces, the community has rallied and regular litter picks are organised by volunteers.

Coun Price said: "There was a problem with parking on verges but we've put bollards up to stop that.

"There was also a problem with people drinking in the street, but the police have done a great job on sorting that issue out.

Principal Dean Jones and pupils at Firth Park Academy

"It's much more settled and there is a lot more civic pride in the area."

He added: "It's a fabulous area. I've been here 47 years - I'm the longest ever serving councillor and I've loved every minute.

"I have been heavily involved with the community centre. They are a lovely bunch who run it.

"There are quite a number of groups in the area that are run by volunteers. It's amazing what they do.

"The Shiregreen Tenants and Residents Association is also very active, which isn't the case in many areas.

"They organise some great events that bring people from different cultures together."

Dawn Dale has been a councillor in Shiregreen for the last two years and cannot speak highly enough of it.

The list of community groups and organisations - the majority of them run by volunteers who live in the area - she reals off is endless from toddler groups, to luncheon clubs and a thriving Scout group.

"There is value in the amount of people that are volunteers in the area which really makes things," she said.

"There are volunteers at the community centre, neighbourhood centre, Scouts, lunch clubs, coffee mornings, that wouldn't happen without volunteers.

"They love the area and area really passionate about where they live."

Like any area, she admits, there are problems but it is how they are resolved that makes the area so 'fantastic'.

Coun Dale said: "What makes is so special for me is the people.

"The people that I have met, despite having some issues, they are prepared to discuss and work on it.

"I have been a councillor here for two years now and there has never been a situation that we haven't been able to talk about and resolve."

The lack of facilities and activities for children and young people is often a problem for many areas, but not here.

Housing association Sanctuary Housing has teamed up with community partners to provide positive activities for youngsters over the next 12 months. It follows a public consultation which revealed residents wanted more things for young people to do.

It includes working with Forge Youth, organising events with local Scout groups and an after school club and girls’ group at Shiregreen United Reformed Church.

Sam Evans, from Forge Youth, said the project runs a range of clubs and clubs in Shiregreen as well as working closely with Firth Park Academy.

A recent social action day saw Forge Youth staff team up with teachers, pupils and volunteers to improve the outdoor area around the school.

In just a few hours they were able to build a new path, paint railings, tidy up the school entrance, clean windows and pick up litter.

Sam said: "Children in the the area really love having things to do and coming out to experience them.

"One great thing we really like to see is the positive impact we have because we are able to see them grow when we see them at multiple times a week.

"That's what we are able to do in Shiregreen because we are both in the school and in the community at youth clubs."

Forge Youth began working in the area in 2008, setting up a youth club and a children's club and has grown from there.

"We spoke with the children and they told us what they wanted in the area. They wanted a youth club," said Sam

"A few of the leaders started to build up relationships with some of the girls, and they said they would like a club just for girls.

"We have been in the community for 10 years and investing in the community and getting to know the people there.

"It's a great community where people know each other and care about each other.

"Like the rest of Sheffield, there is a real community feel and and a great atmosphere.

"The children are amazing. They all have their individual characters and we love investing in them."