Favourite Things: How Sheffield has flourised through good enterprise

Sheila Quairney, head of enterprise at Sheffield Hallam University, under the mural of Harry Brearley on Howard Street, part of the Hallam Quarter
Sheila Quairney, head of enterprise at Sheffield Hallam University, under the mural of Harry Brearley on Howard Street, part of the Hallam Quarter

Sheila Quairney is Head of Enterprise at Sheffield Hallam University and the current Chair of national membership organisation Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK). She was born in London but has lived in South Yorkshire for nearly 40 years. During that time she has managed a number of different JobCentres in the local area and has worked at Sheffield Hallam for the past 16 years, starting their enterprise support services back in 2001. She’s been a yoga teacher since her son, George, was 4 - he’s now 26. She is married to Derick, a teacher, and lives in Rotherham. She is also a keen choral singer and enjoys walking, swimming, travel and the theatre.

The Hallam Quarter

When I first started work in Sheffield and made the daily trek from the railway station to Moorfoot, this area was very much a backwater of industrial Sheffield, cut off from the City Centre by the Arundel Gate underpasses and full of little workshops and terraced houses. Over the years, the University has gradually expanded and the area has opened up to coffee shops, art galleries and places to buy quirky gifts. But it’s great that the local pubs still survive and that the Red Lion still serves chips with everything - just as it should.

Sheffield railway station

Fortunately I no longer commute daily by train, so I can enjoy my occasional trips from the station. I love the sweep of the stone frontage which I can see from my office window, and the superb wall of steel. To me it’s a gateway to other places and people. It’s a place for goodbyes and fresh starts. But it’s also a place to come back to, and seeing the wind turbines on the top of Sheffield College is the prompt to gather my belongings and think of home.

The Cholera monument

High above the station sits the City’s monument to the cholera epidemic of 1832, set in a peaceful park with fantastic views over Sheffield. On days when I need exercise and a break from my desk at lunchtime, I plod (or occasionally try to run) up the 162 steps through the new City Arboretum to the monument and recover on a bench in the park to admire the city landscape.


Community Centre

This is the venue for the monthly Yoga workshops run by Sheffield SatyanandaYoga School and the lovely Hannah and Chris. I love going to these days and being taught by a wide variety of very experienced yoga practitioners. The hall is an oasis of peace and calm during those Saturdays, but at lunchtime I always head out for a quick walk, ready to lie down for an afternoon of relaxation - bliss!

The Hatchery

For the last 10 years, I’ve rented space just off campus for our entrepreneurial students and graduates to use to set up their businesses. The current Hatchery is based in the Workstation and is a big fully kitted-out co-working space. It’s great to see the students and graduates benefiting from working alongside like-minded people, and then seeing them ‘hatch’ and move on to somewhere else in the city.

Manpower Services


Yes, I know that this wouldn’t be on the list of most people’s favourite places! I was lucky enough to work here for 4 years shortly after it first opened. It was immensely liberating to go to work in a creative and open minded organisation- as it was in those days - and to develop new programmes to help people back into work. This included the first Enterprise Allowance Scheme which paved the way to my current job. It was an exciting, game changing place to be and brought many talented people to Sheffield who have settled here for life.

Wentworth Woodhouse

This used to be the best kept secret in Rotherham and a great place for a quiet walk on a Sunday morning. Since the Black Diamonds book was published, its fame has grown and the house - which boasts the longest frontage in Europe - now attracts visitors from far and wide. I haven’t managed to go on a tour, but regularly walk from Greasbrough for a coffee in the garden centre or lunch in the George and Dragon.

John Lewis

Well, I do love shopping! And where would Sheffield City Centre have been all these years without our flagship department store which has kept faith with the city and stayed here when many others have long gone? It’s a landmark and an institution and long may it remain to serve our every shopping need.

Roast gastro cafe

The best toasted teacakes in Sheffield here on Howard Street, but more importantly, great personal friendly service. I’ve estimated that there are 12 places to buy coffee within two minutes’ walk of my office but this is my place of choice.