Published: 10th Dec 2015

heeley park2Sheffield is rich in industrial heritage, outdoor life, independent thinking, creativity and community. Here’s ten of the city’s best ideas for change:

1. SUM Studios: Building community, arts and business in redundant spaces: Heeley Development Trust took over a series of derelict Victorian school buildings with a vision to turn them into arts, business and community spaces. The business studios opened in 2013 and are now home to a range of arts and design tenants. The trust has been working in the area for almost 20 years, and transformed a patch of derelict waste land into Heeley People’s Park (pictured) and runs the Heeley Festival.

2. Sheffield creative guild timebank: Bringing creatives in the city together: The city’s new Culture Consortium is aimed at taking a more strategic approach to arts in the city and building capacity in the sector. The setting up of a creative guild is one of its first actions in a bid to join up local practitioners, and promote training and time banking between them:

3. Opus Independents: Changing the social and economic narrative: A social enterprise that publishes a free monthly arts, culture and politics magazine, Now Then, and runs a promotions business, it only works with independents traders and local charities. Now Then has become an outlet for alternative local economic thinking and, in the run-up to the 2015 general election, Opus set up the Festival of Debate, to create a meaningful dialogue around social and economic issues:


4. Union Street: Turning former council offices into a co-working community: Former housing offices in the centre of Sheffield have been taken over by two local organisations – Cads and Common People – in a Meanwhile use project providing workspace for freelancers. The building has been brought up to condition (pictured) and is now home to a number of local businesses as well as the Live Works initiative by Sheffield University’s School of Architecture:

5. Zest Centre: Bringing local services together and supporting local communities: At the Zest Centre in the Upperthorpe area of Sheffield you can walk from the library straight into the pool and gym, and receive advice and support for job seeking all within the same building. At a time when cuts are hitting and competition for contracts increasing, community centres like this one are holding communities together: