At ease in Sheffield

Claire Taylor at her Favourite Place, with dogs Honey,the greyhound and Bruno

Claire Taylor at her Favourite Place, with dogs Honey,the greyhound and Bruno

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Claire Taylor was born in Sheffield and never really left. She was a pink-haired punk at school, left to join a Youth Training Scheme at Cole Brothers, worked for Meadowhall’s architects briefly in London and became a single mum.

After becoming Doctoral Development Manager at Sheffield University, she took the opportunity of severance to completely retrain and start her own business, Claire Taylor Therapy. She specialises in helping children and their families and individuals and employees beat anxiety, depression, stress and eating disorders.

In her spare time, she bakes luxury cakes, runs a Beaver Scout colony and walks retired greyhounds. Claire lives in Crookes with her nine-year-old daughter, cat and two dogs (one being a retired greyhound).

The field behind Crookes Cemetery

I live under a minute away from this field and it’s the perfect place to take my dogs to have a run with their friends. The field overlooks the countryside behind Stannington towards Bradfield. You can tell what the weather’s going to be like in 10 minutes just by looking into the distance.

Prior to getting the dogs I didn’t really know many people who live in Crookes and Crosspool. Now I know lots. Everyone is so friendly and, due to people’s life routines, you can plan to be there when you know other dogs will be.

Thelma’s, Sharrow Vale

I must have walked past this coffee shop so many times before a friend suggested we went in. From the street it looks like a takeaway but there’s a back room.

It’s like being in a living room at someone’s house. You can easily pass away half a day chatting with friends over good coffee and rather delicious foods. The ladies’ reminds us of a scene from Alice in Wonderland... think black and white checked tiles and sloping roofs! Fabulous atmosphere.

Abbeydale Tennis Club

My practice room is based discreetly within the club. I don’t really know what I expected a tennis club to be like but Abbeydale is family owned and run and everyone there is so friendly. They have a gorgeous coffee bar overlooking the indoor courts, just so relaxing. It’s the perfect place for the work I do, particularly with families, as it’s completely safe and there is always something or someone to watch – and the cakes are rather good too!

Westways after-school club

My daughter goes to Westways School in Crookes and their after school-club was one of the reasons I chose the school.

When I was training to be a clinical therapist I worked at the club part time as a playworker and had the most incredibly enjoyable time. Just the sound of all the children still makes me smile.

I go back and help out now and then and love every second. I tend to end up in the kitchen most of the night, firstly preparing the snack for the kids as they arrive from school and then I bake with the children. Never again will I attempt meringue snowmen (oh, the mess!) but love to try anything else.

Retired Greyhound Trust, Wortley

The farm is set in gorgeous countryside. It’s such an escape to drive across, get a couple of dogs out of their kennels and take them for a walk.

The trust relies on members of the public going along each morning to help exercise the dogs and the dogs are always so happy to see everyone. Greyhounds make the most fabulous pets. They’re incredibly laid-back, sleep about 20 hours a day and are very happy with just a couple of short walks a day. If I could, I’d be there every morning.

79th Sheffield Scout Hut, Slinn Street, Crookes

Somehow, I’ve ended up as a Beaver Scout leader and love it. We meet at the scout hut each Tuesday during school term time. The hut has been there since the 1920s and at the moment we are fund- raising to put in a working kitchen and disabled access.

As cold as it gets in winter, it has the most wonderful feel to it as it sees so much happiness each and every week, with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Brownies all meeting there. Other groups also use the hut – it really is a huge part of community life in the area.

Princess Royal

A good friend of mine introduced me to this community pub in Slinn Street. It’s one of the very few pubs that I would feel completely relaxed about walking into as a female alone. Inside it has kept its original layout with two rooms, a snug etc and so has this lovely friendly local atmosphere.

There’s a real mix of customers, from the young to the mature! Dogs are welcome – a truly traditional local pub.

Midhopestones

My godparents have always lived in the tiny village of Midhopstones on the Sheffield border and I have the most wonderful childhood memories of playing in fields, racing Pooh sticks in streams, running away from cows and meeting friends.

It’s the only time I’ve really had experience of farming life and the smells of livestock, collecting eggs from the hen huts, food cooked on ranges, real fires, and muddy wellies everywhere will stay with me for ever as the fondest of memories.

The countryside around is wonderful to walk through or simply sit and look at.