Having returned to working in Burngreave after 15 years I was dismayed to hear people in influential positions putting down the Burngreave area.
Just as 20 years before I found these perceptions of the area to be incorrect. Sadly there seems to be a prevailing view of Burngreave in terms of deficit and decay and yet it is one of Sheffield’s most valuable assets, full of wonderful people and excellent services. Until the 18th century, much of Burngreave was agricultural with the exception of a number of woods and a mediaeval institution, the St Leonard hospital.
During the 18th and 19th centuries Burngreave became a sought after location of choice for many of Sheffield’s industrialists and professional classes. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Burngreave saw large residential development to house the steel, tool and cutlery workers and developments continued.
Burngreave has seen at varying times changes in its population making it the most richly vibrant and diverse communities in Sheffield and indeed in South Yorkshire,
For generations it been a place that has been home to the White English community and it has welcomed and embraced new minority ethnic members.
In our diverse society, being inclusive and meeting the needs of all communities is a fundamental principle and it is also a means of creating and sustaining for everyone, a better society.
Burngreave provides lessons for Sheffield and the UK on how to ensure that communities and neighbourhoods are places in which people from all backgrounds can live, learn, socially engage and work, while responding to common challenges such as securing and developing services for children, families and older people, improving neighbourhoods, exchanging ideas and drawing on people’s talents and experience to secure better outcomes for all. A sense of common belonging and cohesion among all groups is striven for.
It is a very vibrant community, with the best of Sheffield old and new – all linked together, where differences and communalities are valued and celebrated and social participation is promoted.
Pitsmoor Adventure Playground typifies the spirit and greatness of Burngreave, with children playing collectively and learning from each other and its families taking on gigantic challenges against all the odds but winning through.