‘There is a social emergency in Sheffield. It needs a city-wide response’
Plus, a bird's eye view from 1987
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
It may sound like something out of a dystopian novel, but unfortunately it’s the reality of life at the moment. Last week the first batch of 81 “welcoming spaces” were unveiled by Voluntary Action Sheffield: places where people in need can sit and stay warm at no cost to themselves. The spaces are the city’s response to the cost of living crisis as food and fuel bills continue to rise. But will they be enough? At a summit last week, business leaders were also asked what they could do to help meet the tsunami of need expected this winter.
As well as that, we have a wonderful photo of two veterans from Sheffield's Remembrance Day service, details of a fascinating sounding talk about the city’s early cutlery industry, and a striking new development in Kelham Island finally comes on the market.
Catch up and coming up
Thanks to everyone who read and shared our weekend read about the radical feminist film co-operative that blazed a trail through 1970s Sheffield. You can still read that piece here.
Last week we sent out two great newsletters to our 913 paying members. The first was my inaugural editor’s edition in which I dunked on “adult’s-only crazy golf” venue Glory Holes and outed myself as a middle-aged techno fan. And the second was a piece by our regular contributor David Bocking about the danger a new era of austerity could pose to beloved green spaces in Sheffield like Ecclesall Woods. An extract from that first piece is below.
In news that will surprise no one, my favourite pub in the city has to be the Sheffield Tap. Everything about the Tap oozes class, from the ornate brass fittings to the wood-panelled walls and the incredible selection of beers. The political commentator Ash Sarkar recently asked whether there was “any better train station pub than the Sheffield Tap”. I think it’s fair to say that Ash and I might not see eye-to-eye on every issue, but on this we are as one.
This week we’ll send out two more including a piece about a visit I made to last weekend’s Grand Prix figure skating and another about what needs to happen for Sheffield to meet its target of becoming Net Zero by 2030. To get both of those and help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield focused on serving readers rather than advertisers, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs just £1.34 a week if you pay upfront for a year.
Editor’s note: We’ve now got 913 members, but there are more than 11,000 of you on our email list. This means that fewer than 1 in every 15 of you become paying members. If we are to become a newspaper that can serve Sheffield for years to come, we need to convert many more of the people we know read and love our journalism every week into paying members. Please join us.
The big picture: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎄
It’s obviously still way too early but Chatsworth is already in the festive spirit with its Christmas markets opening last week. This picture, taken by top Press Association snapper Danny Lawson, shows Nia Evans putting the finishing touches to the house’s magnificent tree in the Painted Hall.
This week’s weather 🌦
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say a strong North-Atlantic jet continues to power up low pressure systems to the west of the UK, so another unsettled week of weather is expected.
Monday ☁️ A continuation of Sunday's dullness, with light winds and persistent low cloud providing the odd outbreak of drizzly rain. Highs of 12°C.
Tuesday ☔ A stronger cold front brings moderate to heavy outbreaks of rain across the country, along with gusty southerly winds. Highs of 11°C.
Wednesday 🌦️ A fresher but breezy day with some sunshine but also the likelihood of heavy and squally showers. Highs of 11°C.
Thursday 🌦️ Still the risk of showers blowing through on the keen west-southwest breeze, but more scattered than Wednesday with bright spells too. Highs of 10°C.
Friday 🌤️ A chilly start leads to a chilly day. A better chance of staying dry with showers more isolated. Good sunny spells, but highs of just 9°C.
Outlook: The timing of the next low pressure from the Atlantic will be crucial, but it looks like we'll turn less settled again, with temperatures around average.
The big story: ‘There is a social emergency in Sheffield. It needs a city-wide response’
Top line: More details have emerged about how Sheffield is intending to combat the cost of living crisis this winter. A network of “welcoming spaces” and community hubs have been unveiled across Sheffield and the city’s business people are also being urged to help.
Welcoming spaces: 81 welcoming spaces have already been set up across Sheffield in libraries, community centres, churches, sports centres and cafes. People who attend them are promised a “friendly smile” and a “place to sit and get warm”.
A map of all the welcoming spaces available can be found by clicking here. There is also a list which contains the details of what each venue offers.
What can businesses do? At a meeting for business leaders at the Zest Centre in Upperthorpe last week, members of the Sheffield Property Association, an organisation which represents 90 businesses in the city, were asked to think about what they could do to help make sure vulnerable people in Sheffield survive the cost of living crisis this winter.
Food banks: Helen Sims, the chief executive of Voluntary Action Sheffield, told the business leaders that currently the most pressing need were the city’s food banks and appealed for help with the “huge” food supply issues people in Sheffield were currently experiencing.
Earlier this year, figures from the Trussell Trust showed that demand for food banks was higher in Sheffield than in any other part of the country.
Sims added that food banks' vulnerability to inflation, in terms of higher prices and lower donations, meant some were on the verge of closure.
Pro bono: However, this help doesn’t have to just be limited to money. Many businesses have skills in marketing or logistics that they could share with voluntary organisations. One small business owner, town planner Paul Bedwell, said he recently did some pro bono work for a city foodbank by helping them appeal a council decision that had gone against them.
Walkley councillor Tom Hunt, who along with SPA helped organise the event, spoke to the business leaders about the challenge organisations like Zest were facing. He said:
People are hurting and we know that it is set to get worse. The S6 Foodbank feeds 60,000 people in our area every year and more working people are having to use it all the time. There is a social emergency in Sheffield at the moment — we need a city wide response.
Our take: Some might say that by relying on the voluntary sector, or asking wealthy business people for help, runs the risk of letting the government off the hook. But when faced with such pressing need, we clearly need to do something as a city to help. With further spending cuts set to be announced by the government this week, the voluntary sector is once again going to be left to pick up the slack. If you can help get in touch with Voluntary Action Sheffield.
Home of the week 🏡
This spacious two-bedroom and two-bathroom top-floor apartment in Kelham Island is situated in the newly-completed Cotton Mill development. It is on the market for £189,300.
Tribune Tips: If you want to tell us about a story or give us some information, please email email@example.com. We are always happy to speak to people off the record in the first instance, and we will treat your information with confidence and sensitivity. Get in touch.
Our media picks 🎧
Sober future for stately home’s 'Bedlam' bachelor wing 🍾 Wentworth Woodhouse’s former party wing could become a “prestigious business let” under new plans by the trust that is restoring the Grade I listed building, reports David Walsh in The Star. The wing, nicknamed “Bedlam” due to the high jinx Georgian and Victorian bachelors used to get up to there, has now been renovated and will be transformed into a “des-res” rental space for companies.
The Adelphi really is at the heart of Attercliffe 🏛️ A great piece on the always interesting Sheffielder blog about the council’s plans to bring a historic theatre in Attercliffe back into use. Built in 1920, the Adelphi operated as a cinema until 1967 after which it became a bingo hall. Gatecrasher club nights were also hosted there but it has been used for storage since 2013. Councillors hope to buy it with Levelling Up money and turn it into a community hub.
We Make Supercars 🚗 A documentary on the BBC’s iPlayer visits the McLaren factory in Rotherham to speak to some of the young people who work there. The firm opened the South Yorkshire facility in 2018 and currently employs around 100 people at the factory making the carbon fibre chassis on which the supercar is based. The film is part of the BBC’s We Are England series and there is an accompanying piece on the website here.
We will remember them 🎖️
Sheffield’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations took place yesterday with a moving service in Barker’s Pool. After the Last Post was sounded, the huge crowd stood for an immaculately observed two-minute silence before wreaths were laid at the cenotaph. This great shot, taken by photographer Errol Edwards, shows 102-year-old D-Day veteran Cyril Elliott and a companion at Sunday’s service.
Things to do 📆
Talk 🗣️How did a small market town become an important centre for cutlery making in Tudor and Stuart times, and how did Sheffield people live then? For Portland Works’ latest monthly lecture, historian David Templeman will look at how ordinary people lived in the 16th and 17th centuries, examine surviving buildings from the period, and talk about how the town’s fledgling cutlery industry developed. The talk will take place from 7pm-9pm and costs £5.
Books 📚 At Weston Park Museum on Tuesday, 15 November, author Andrew Martin hosts a lunchtime talk about his latest book Yorkshire: There and Back, which he describes as “a memoir, guide, and all-round appreciation of God's own county”. In the talk he promises to pay particular attention to Sheffield, which he says he finds “enigmatic and slightly aloof from Yorkshire, but in a good way”. The event is free and will take place from 1.00pm-1.45pm.
Theatre 🎭 A hit musical set to the music of The Proclaimers arrives in Sheffield for the first time on Tuesday, 15 November. Sunshine on Leith tells the story of soldiers Davy and Ally as they search for normality after returning home from Afghanistan. The production features all the Scottish duo’s greatest songs including Letter from America, I’m Gonna Be [500 Miles] and, of course, Sunshine on Leith. The show runs until Saturday, 19 November.
City of the future 🏙️
We love this image from Sheffield Modernist which shows an aerial photo of the city centre from a guide book published in 1987. The great shot shows many landmarks that have now been demolished including the Grosvenor House Hotel, the “Egg Box” Town Hall extension and the “Wedding Cake” registry office. Many shops have disappeared as well. “I can see seven department stores in that picture,” one commenter wrote. “Only one remains.”