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South Yorkshire Futures Report 2020-2021

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.

South Yorkshire Futures 2020-2021

Unique partnership set to transform early years education

An innovative new University-led project is set to transform early years education and care.

Graduate mentor scheme to support 700 pupils in Barnsley

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.

A student wearing a face mask, speaking to someone blurred out in the foreground.

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.

Relaunch of the Sheffield Business Together Food Bank Campaign

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

Or for those that contributed directly to the food bank by bank transfer, below is a reminder of the bank details.

Bank detailsCo-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. 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.

Sheffield Children’s University 2019/20 report

We’re delighted to share the 2019/20 ‘Sheffield Children’s University – How does it make a difference?‘ report. Once again, the report demonstrates the significant impact that participation in the scheme can have on children and young people in Sheffield and the wider region. The report measures participation in activities and provides a detailed analysis of how this affects attainment, school attendance and progress measures.

The report also includes case studies which provide anecdotal evidence of the impact Sheffield Children’s University can have.

Read the full report online here

Find out more about Children’s University on their website: or on Twitter by following @SheffieldCU

GROW School mentoring pilot scheme a success

South Yorkshire Futures has collaborated with experts across Sheffield Hallam University to pilot a mentoring scheme for young people progressing into Y11 in September. The pilot began in July and ran over four weeks. The programme, named GROW, involves Sheffield Hallam graduates mentoring a cohort of young people to support their transition back into school post Covid-19. The graduates underwent training before being deployed into local schools to support young people to re-engage with their studies and transition back into full time school.

Consultation with schools suggests that, in addition to tutoring, broader support around wellbeing as well as reengaging 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. Evidence shows that support based around a mentor relationship, particularly a mentor who can act as a role model a pupil can relate to, can be extremely effective.

Conor Moss, Dean of Work-Based Learning at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“Our ground-breaking plan will harness the power of Sheffield Hallam graduates and boost the national effort to support young people, whose education has been unfairly curtailed by Covid-19 through no fault of their ownBut the programme will also have a positive effect on our graduates, who themselves face a challenging jobs market due to Covid-19. Being a mentor will provide an outstanding chance to upskill at a time when opportunities are limited, and some could even be inspired to go into teaching as a career.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan joined a virtual meeting hosted by Sheffield Hallam University to meet a group of the graduate mentors. The Minister took part in an interactive session with graduate mentors and pupils from Firth Park Academy in Sheffield and Wales High School in Rotherham who are part of the pilot scheme for the GROW Mentoring Programme.

During the virtual visit, the Minister also took part in a round table discussion with teachers and graduate mentors from all four schools across South Yorkshire who are involved in the pilot and had discussions with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, and Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director, Henri Murison.

Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, said:

“I know this is a difficult time for young people but I am pleased universities like Sheffield Hallam are stepping up, supporting their communities and contributing to the national recovery effort…It was great to hear from graduate mentors from the GROW programme about their invaluable work helping pupils as they prepare to return to school. This experience will help graduates build their skills, gain experience and bolster their CVs as they prepare to start their careers.”

Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, said:

“We welcome the visit of the Universities Minister today to learn more about the GROW Mentoring Programme. The Class of 2020 face an extremely challenging job market, and this programme is a great example of how universities can create opportunities that both harness the skills of our graduates and support our region’s recovery as we all adapt to a post-Covid-19 landscape.”

Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director, Henri Murison, said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has brought the North-South educational attainment divide into sharp focus, with disadvantaged children in the Northern Powerhouse falling further behind their better-off peers…The catch up package Sheffield Hallam have put together with our backing is being scaled up by a partnership of Northern universities from the North East to Lancashire, and will provide vital support for disadvantaged children, as well as provide employment for graduates looking for jobs in what will no doubt be a tough market.”

For more information on the GROW Mentoring Programme click here to visit the blog.



How to help Sheffield Food Banks during Covid-19

Sheffield Businesses Together, a consortium of Sheffield businesses (including Sheffield Hallam University), has partnered with the Sheffield food bank network to support those most in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What can I do?

The food bank network has requested that anyone not currently experiencing hardship consider donating a weeks bus fare, petrol, parking charges, or whatever you can afford.  Given most businesses have implemented some form of home working many of us will not have incurred these costs. Donations will be shared across the 15 food banks in the network.

How can I donate?

A GoFundMe donation page has been opened to make donating easy and allow the food banks to claim gift aid. Please click this link to take you there and donate to the Sheffield Food Poverty Campaign.

Reference: If you could annotate your donation with your business/organisation name (if applicable) and the campaign – Covid 19. By doing this we can trace donations back to businesses which will be useful for those that match fund and for sharing thanks.

You can also donate by PAYPAL or cheque by visiting the food bank website. Scroll down to the ‘Donate Money’ section.

If you are paying by PAYPAL please use the above reference convention in the add note box.

Thank you in advance for any donation you are able to make.

Online / Virtual Offers to Schools during closure

For all Careers Leaders/teachers:

The Enterprise Adviser Network for Sheffield City Region have compiled a list of online resources, videos and virtual support around careers for you to share with students whilst they are at home and/or unable to benefit from more traditional employer encounters and experiences online.

The full list can be found here: Online and Virtual Offers to Schools

You can also follow Enterprise Adviser Network on Twitter to keep up to date with new resources as they are developed or join the Careers Leaders group on Facebook to keep in touch with fellow Careers Leaders and share best practice.

SMBP Work Insight & Skills Week

In collaboration with the Social Mobility Business Partners (SMBP), we have organised a Work Insight and Skills Week to support year 12 students across South Yorkshire in their pursuit of a career in business. Over the course of the week, students will have the opportunity to visit 4 different high-profile organisations and spend the fifth day at a professional sports club where they will learn about the psychology of resilience.

This is a fully funded scheme and is scheduled to run from Monday 27th – 31st July 2020. To find out more information please view our YouTube video.

Applications are now closed for 2020, we hope to run the scheme again in 2021 so keep checking back.

Children’s University partnership working in action

Senior Project Officers Katie Hamshaw and Helen Oades have been sharing their experience of working with South Yorkshire Futures to expand the Children’s University project across South Yorkshire. Katie and Helen told us:

“The South Yorkshire Futures programme has been pivotal in enabling us to realise our vision for having a Children’s University in every area of our region. The support we have received has enabled us to spend time building on our experience from managing Sheffield Children’s University, to engage stakeholders, develop partnerships and excite children, families and schools about the potential for bringing the brilliant, positive impacts of Children’s University to new areas. Through South Yorkshire Futures, we were able to secure funding from the Sheffield City Region and Elected Mayor, to continue our work beyond our pilot year.

Having worked in collaboration with colleagues in Rotherham, we have established a brand new CU centre there, and our work continues as we support the development of a further new CU centre in Barnsley as well as supporting the existing CU centres in Sheffield and Doncaster. We’re looking forward to developing some fantastic collaborative South Yorkshire Children’s University strategies and projects, and of course to continue celebrating the success of CU members across the region, like the very exciting graduation ceremony we held in Sheffield in November.”

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