Sue O’Brien, the Director of the GROW Mentoring Programme and Strategic Lead for South Yorkshire Futures, explains the importance of the university’s civic pledges and what it means to the region.
Today, Sheffield Hallam University launched the Civic University Agreement.
Our Civic University Agreement outlines our commitments to our local communities with a focus on:
- economy and jobs
- education and skills
- health and wellbeing
- community and regeneration
Funding to enable children to attend a new Sheffield Hallam University-led community nursery from their second birthday has been secured – providing support for families who need it most.
Earlier in 2021 the Civic University Network issued a blog written by the University of Gloucester, on their purchase of a former Debenhams building, and plans to include community space in its future use.
In a piece written for THE, Richard Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam and Chair of the Civic University Network Partner’s Group explores this theme further and suggests that there has never been a better opportunity for universities to consider how our spaces can facilitate better engagement with our local communities.
Sheffield Hallam’s pioneering GROW mentoring programme, which pairs Year 10,11 and 13 pupils with Hallam graduate mentors, has been highlighted on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on Sky News. Speaking on the programme, project director, Sue O’Brien, said: “If we want to thrive as a nation, we need to invest in our young people.” Watch the clip from 37.40.
Professor Sir Chris Husbands visited Shirecliffe in north-east Sheffield where Sheffield Hallam has partnered with Save the Children, Sheffield City Council, and Watercliffe Meadows School to do something genuinely innovative: the UK’s first university-led Early Years Community Research Centre.
We are delighted to share this report on our recent achievements and continued commitment to improving outcomes for our region’s children and young people.
Barnsley council has approved £175k funding for the mentors to support 720 pupils who will be sitting GCSEs and A-levels next summer through the GROW mentoring programme.
In partnership with South Yorkshire Futures, the GROW programme will be rolled out in schools across Barnsley after the funding was approved as part of a range of measures to support pupils affected by school closures and missed lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “Our schools and college have put in place a range of measures and support for all Year 11 and 13 students, to ensure that they have the best chance in their exams and to ensure that Barnsley young people succeed.
“Together with our schools and college, we have a shared ambition and commitment for every child to be able to achieve their potential and receive the qualifications they need to take their next steps in life.”
The programme was launched in July with a pilot in four schools across South Yorkshire. An evaluation of the pilot found an increase in engagement by all pupils who took part, increased motivation and confidence. GROW aims to support the government’s National Tutoring Programme which was launched in schools last month.
Consultation with schools suggests that, in addition to tutoring, broader support around wellbeing as well as re-engaging and motivating pupils will be vital to help young people successfully transition back to full-time school and make the right choices for their future.
GROW programme director, Sue O’Brien, said: “We’re delighted Barnsley Council has approved this funding to support hundreds of pupils in the town to refocus on their education during these incredibly challenging circumstances.
“During these crucial transition years as young people look forward to either their post-16 post-18 options, the programme provides pupils with a relatable role-model who can guide, champion and inspire them on their educational journey and beyond, and support an improvement in academic attainment.
“This, alongside the wider measures put in place by Barnsley Council, will make a huge difference to the outcomes for these young people.”
Graduates or schools interested in taking part in the programme should email the GROW team.
To read more, visit the Press Office website.
Covid -19 is an unprecedented challenge for us all. At the outset of the pandemic the Sheffield Business Together (SBT) steering group felt the immediate priority was ensuring our food banks had adequate food to help the most vulnerable in our city. Donations had been severely reduced due to panic buying and demand had increased in some food banks by 300% as schools closed and people experienced hardship. Given most businesses had implemented some form of home working we asked those not in hardship to consider donating a week’s bus fare, petrol, parking charges, or whatever they could afford.
Donations to date and the impact it makes
Due to your generosity, we have raised a fantastic £95,000 since the launch of the campaign in April (including £25k donated by SYCF from the National Emergencies Fund and £10k from the Sheffield Town Fund). This has been shared with the 15 food banks in the Sheffield Food Bank network.
Rachel from Burngreave food bank explains the difference your donations have made:
“Since the start of the pandemic, Burngreave food bank has handed out over 1800 food parcels, feeding approximately 4500 people. The fact that this represents more than our entire annual output last year, and a disproportionately higher number of children are represented, shows the impact of the pandemic on families. We would not have been able to meet this level of increase in demand without the support of our donors and are so grateful for the generous donations that we received due to the Sheffield Business Together campaign. This has enabled us to buy in provisions of items that we have run short of. It’s easy for numbers to hide that fact that each food parcel represents a struggle by an individual or family, to put food on the table, and all the accompanying distress and hardship that accompanies this situation. The relief that is seen on some faces as they receive the food delivery tells the true meaning behind these figures”.
How you can help
The increased demand on the food banks has continued to be around 200% of pre Covid levels and has risen again due to the current lockdown.
In addition to their normal donations, the food banks are planning to provide turkey and all the trimmings for those most in need this Xmas. We thank you so much for your generosity so far but if you can help with this Xmas appeal it would be most appreciated.
There are several ways you can donate. You can donate via our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/sheffield-food-poverty-campaign.
Or for those that contributed directly to the food bank by bank transfer, below is a reminder of the bank details.
Bank details: Co-Op Bank
Sort code: 08-92-99
Account Number: 65702615
Payment Reference: If you could annotate your payment reference with your business name and the campaign – Covid 19. By doing this we can trace payments back to businesses which will be useful for those that match fund and to also thank folk.
You can also donate by PAYPAL or cheque by visiting the food bank website. https://s2foodbank.org.uk/. Scroll down to the Donate Money section. If you are paying by PAYPAL please use the above payment reference convention in the add note box.
All donations will be shared with the 15 food banks in the network.
Thank you so much for supporting this campaign it has made such a massive difference to the food banks and the most vulnerable in our city, who they continue to support at this very difficult time.