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Sum party at old Sheffield school

Sum Studios  Hartley St,  Heeley 
Andy Jackson & Matthew Conduit

Sum Studios Hartley St, Heeley Andy Jackson & Matthew Conduit

It’s been a year since part of an old Sheffield school began a new life as a community and business hub.

It’s been a year since part of an old Sheffield school began a new life as a community and business hub.

One Victorian building of the three at the former Anns Grove School in Heeley is now home to 19 businesses, employing over 60 people, under the name of Sum Studios.

It is 75% let, with tenants such as web and graphic designers and computer programmers.

The first birthday will be celebrated on Saturday, July 19 with a big open air public party.

And there other reasons to celebrate. Plans are “well under way” to convert the other two buildings - for arts studios and workshops, rehearsal spaces, training accommodation, a café and a venue and events hall.

It is also hoped to landscape the whole site, linking to the neighbouring Heeley Millennium Park.

The school was derelict for seven years until Heeley Development Trust secured £2.4m from Government-backed sources to set the ball rolling, and it has now made an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the £3m second phase.

Last year’s launch party was attended by musicians Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. Saturday’s party, in the courtyard from 6pm to midnight, will feature local bands, DJs, a bar and street food stalls.

Sum manager Matthew Conduit said ‘It’s going to be a really special evening to celebrate this very special place.”

Heeley Development Trust manager Andy Jackson described the first year as “amazing. We have saved a beautiful building and now have a really exciting mix of tenants, smashing our year one target.

“The best aspect of it all is that we have created a new, vibrant business community in the heart of Heeley, and everyone is really enjoying being there – there’s a great buzz about the place.

“It feels right that we celebrate all of that within the community so this party is about getting the people who live and work here and in the city together for a really good time.”

The trust hopes its track record will help it to secure the finance to restore the two other buildings, also grade II listed.

One would be used by artists and craftmakers, with rehearsal space and a few business units. The other would include a venue for performance, and a cafe opening onto the park.

A decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund on whether it will support detailed design work and costings is expected by September. Both the buildings have been repaired and made watertight while their future is decided.

 

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