The name ‘works’ is synonymous with Sheffield’s past. The city’s works were home to cutlers and other ‘little mesters’ that formed its wealth and character over the first two hundred years of the Industrial Revolution. They were also part of the “dark satanic mills” from the pen of Milton and the lines of ‘Jerusalem’ that […]

The name ‘works’ is synonymous with Sheffield’s past. The city’s works were home to cutlers and other ‘little mesters’ that formed its wealth and character over the first two hundred years of the Industrial Revolution. They were also part of the “dark satanic mills” from the pen of Milton and the lines of ‘Jerusalem’ that presented a far grimmer reality to the workers of Sheffield. But today the name has been re-appropriated as a symbol of the changes the city has seen, and former works now house new industries and services. Many have been refurbished or replaced with newer buildings bearing their original name – Persistence Works and Butcher Works spring to mind.

Nestled beside another local landmark, the Leadmill nightclub, and close to Sheffield station, Scotia Works is a former cutlery works refurbished in 2002 and now used for a rather different type of work. Scotia is a base for a community of social change organisations dedicated to trying to improve society, gaining strength in numbers.

The site is owned and managed by the Ethical Property Company, a triple bottom line firm operating 16 similar centres across the UK and Europe. The aim is to provide offices and meeting space for groups not catered for by the traditional property market that are subject to variations in funding and income. The centre also offers the opportunity for organisations to share services and provides a platform for co-operation on funding and service delivery. The groups vary in structure – from co-operatives promoting cycling through to charities working with refugees, education and mediation – but all benefit from the community atmosphere of Scotia Works.

The aim of Scotia has been to provide voluntary sector groups with affordable, high-quality office space with flexible and stable leases. The refurbishment has produced a lovely building with a central glass atrium providing a communal courtyard, but it’s the people located there that provide its real heart. These are difficult times for the sector and many groups are suffering reductions in funding, but the opportunity for them to work together helps everyone.

PEDAL READY.
0114 241 2775.
pedalready.co.uk

Pedal Ready is a Sheffield-based not-for-profit co-op that provides cycling services in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. We deliver Bikeability schools cycle training, adult learn to ride courses, individual urban coaching sessions, Cycle for Health courses, Doctor Bike (safety check) sessions, cycle rides, promotions and more. Many of our sessions are free at the point of delivery, but we also offer bespoke cycling activities on request. Pedal Ready is also a cycling Instructor Training Organisation and can train new National Standard cycling instructors.

Although our trainers are out and about, our office is located in Scotia Works. Being a small organisation, the inclusive services within Scotia building are a real benefit, and the social change community we are part of creates a supportive atmosphere and opportunities to share best practice, get a bit of advice or just a change of company while you have your lunch in the lovely atrium.

CDX.
0114 241 2760.
cdx.org.uk
Community Development Exchange (CDX) is a national charity that champions community development as a way to identify and help meet the needs of economically and socially disadvantaged communities, enabling them to participate more fully in society. We have over 1,000 members and are determined to influence Government thinking about how to support grassroots communities. While we welcome any talk of community empowerment, we challenge that notion that it can be achieved without experienced support and nurturing. Like many other charities, we have been struggling to survive Government cuts and are currently seeking other sources of income. Our struggles are mirrored by the even greater difficulties faced by frontline workers and grassroots community groups.

CRESST.
0114 241 2745.
cresst.org.uk

CRESST is a small charity dedicated to helping people learn conflict resolution skills. It promotes alternatives to aggression and violence, working mainly but not exclusively in school communities and youth groups. CRESST aims to help those working with young people to develop attitudes, concepts and skills to enable them to manage conflicts constructively. We work with schools and other institutions to develop an ethos of respect and reduce incidences of unacceptable behaviour like bullying, as well as providing training in mediation for young people and adults working with young people.
Conflict resolution education helps to create tolerance and respect. It is not about conflict avoidance, but is about giving people the tools and the confidence to deal with issues effectively, reducing stress and building positive relationships.

NRC.
0114 241 2780.
nrcentre.org.uk

Northern Refugee Centre (NRC) is an independent registered charity that exists to support refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable new migrants within Yorkshire and the Humber. NRC provides an employment and education service in Sheffield, a community development service regionally and an advice & support service for refugees and asylum seekers in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

We support campaigns and lobby the Government to promote the rights and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers and other new migrants in this country. NRC has a history of running successful mentoring and befriending projects for refugees and asylum seekers, and we are keen to provide these again soon.

We also run a project called Jantela Partnerships, which supports other refugee charities in Yorkshire & the Humber with issues such as fundraising and governance.

REMEDI.
remediuk.org

Remedi is a charity that has successfully grown from the early days of restorative justice and crime reduction. Its success has seen it grow from its original area of South Yorkshire to work with partners in the Midlands and the North. Collaborating with professionals from Youth Offending Teams and the Probation Service, as well as the victims of crime and offenders, Remedi is in the frontline of offering restorative justice packages.

Alongside these services, Remedi training packages from Scotia Works offer a range of mediation and mentoring skills around a whole range of anti-social and criminal behaviour, including youth advocacy, domestic violence and victim support. It is also active in forming Safer Schools Partnerships and has recently been contracted to provide restorative justice training to police in the area.

MESH.
enquiries@meshccs.org.uk

Mediation Sheffield (MESH) is a registered charity and has provided mediation services for the past 21 years. We work across South Yorkshire providing neighbour mediation, usually through contracts with registered social landlords. Over the past five years we have developed a community mediation service that responds to tensions in communities by working with frontline workers and activists. Our aim is to work strategically, identifying underlying causes and providing training in communication and mediation skills.

MESH works with young people and families. For example, through Home Office funding we have given focused training to young people at risk of being drawn into gang violence and have worked with them and their families to build more positive relationships. MESH also provides workplace mediation, between individuals and organisations in dispute.

SAVTE.
0114 2412765.
savte.org.uk

Sheffield Association for the Voluntary Teaching of English (SAVTE) recruits and trains volunteers to teach English as an additional language to members of the black and minority ethnic, refugee and EU communities. Our learners are some of the most excluded and isolated people in the city due to their inability to understand and communicate in English. Our aim is to reduce their isolation by providing life-changing language skills that allow them to engage with everyday life in new ways.

Our tutors train volunteers to teach ESOL on a National Open College Network accredited course, focusing on full time carers, people with disabilities, individuals who have no experience of formal education, parents with young children and those who lack confidence and self-esteem. Teaching takes place at the home of the learner on a one-to-one basis over nine weeks. SAVTE also develops and supports local learning groups and conversation clubs. Learners are referred to SAVTE through local health, social and educational workers.

DECSY.
0114 241 2750.
decsy.org.uk

Cast your eyes around Sheffield. Have you ever wondered how it came to become a big multicultural steel city? To get a full answer you need to look further afield, to South Yorkshire’s stately homes of Wentworth and Cannon Hall and then even further to their connections with India and the Caribbean – connections of slavery and colonialism. ‘We are here because you were there’ is an expression that comes to mind.

Helping children and young people make sense of the world is what the Development Education Centre (South Yorks) is all about. Through teacher professional development, projects and resources, we aim to equip the next generation with the critical enquiry skills to help them better understand the world and, through informed action, to help make it a more just and sustainable place in the future.

Dave Berry.