Danny Jaques is a 38 year old radio dispatcher who also works as a retail volunteer at city homeless charity Emmaus Sheffield, the working community with quality, self-contained accommodation, training facilities and a workspace for previously homeless men and women aged 18 years and over.
Originally from East London, he has been based in Sheffield for almost 20 years now, having first arrived in the city to work for brewery giant Whitbread.
He currently lives in the historic Kelham Island quarter with his husband Ady.
When Ady and I were getting married we decided to have our reception at the Chimney House in Kelham Island and it was when we first went to look at the venue that I saw they were building apartments on the other side of the goit - I had to look up what that meant too - and knew that I wanted to live there.
We’ve only lived in Kelhan Island a year and it is a very different way of life to what we knew before but we wouldn’t live anywhere else now.
We’ve gone down to one car now because I walk or cycle everywhere and I am pretty much able to get into town every day.
You can’t move for bars of course but that’s good too because the range is so great, everything from the Kelham Island Tavern, which is nice and chilled out, to the Ship Inn, which is all craft beers now.
TRIB3 isn’t just a gym - it’s a whole different approach to fitness that really has changed my life and my way of keeping fit
There are three in Sheffield at the moment but we use the one in the Krynkl development at Shalesmoor because it’s so close to where we live, just a short walk away in fact.
I was never a gym class sort of person before but we have our trainer George and he makes a great difference. They don’t shout at you like they do in boot camp sessions. The way they do it is very positive and encouraging and there’s always a great soundtrack too so it’s a bit like being in a club - only much better for you!
It is hard work but then they do a great post work out shake for afterwards too so there’s that to look forward to.
The Moor Market
Now that we are based in Kelham Island I can walk to The Moor - in fact I think I’m turning into my nan, going to look for bargains in the market! All I need now is the pull along trolly.
I like to go to the Beer Central stall for all our bottled beers and then on to Meadowhead Flowers - once you’ve been there a few times they really do know you and remember you and what you like. Then there’s Dean’s Family Butchers, a proper old fashioned shop, a nannan’s shop again and I say that in a positive way - you can have a bit of cheeky banter and get a bargain at the same time.
It really is like a village and everybody does very quickly know your name, which I really like. And it’s always busy, regardless of what you may read about it.
Apart from the market there used to be nothing very much at all down the Moor but it’s massively improved now and I think it will only get better as they continue the process of rebuilding and doing things up.
I chose to start volunteering for Emmaus Sheffield because I really do think it is the homeless charity that works. They’re a nice set of people here and when you get to see the other side of the coin and get to know them all you realise that, regardless of being homeless, they really are just people and, even more importantly, people who are trying to do something about their lives.
I work on the till in the brilliant Emmaus second hand store and it costs me an arm and a leg every day I’m in here because I see so many little treasures I can’t resist buying. I’m really serious when I say our flat is furnished with stuff from Emmaus.
I’m always spreading the word among all my friends because you can find some fantastic bargains if you come down and have a look around.
It’s another of those places I can walk to from home too so it’s actually doing me good in another way too.
I’ve taken my godson Sam to Weston Park Museum a couple of times recently and it gave me chance to discover something I’d never visited before. Sam loved the animals and he’s into dinosaurs so I was the best godparent ever that day. The good thing is that if it’s a nice day you can finish the visit with a bit of a kick around in the park.
We’ve been to the Fire Service Museum in West Bar too and I was very pleasantly surprised by it. I’d always walked past it and wondered if there was anybody there but it’s incredibly popular.
I thought Sam would be too young for it but it went down a storm, mainly because he could put the helmet on be a fireman, which he loved.
I am a massive fan of libraries, especially now I can go online and order my books and then pop in to pick them up - there are your books all labelled and waiting for you. And then you can even renew them on line, which makes the whole pricess so much easier.
I love the Central building too but you have to remember that the way we use libraries now is so different to what we used to do years ago. It is a beautiful building from the outside and I have spent a lot of time admiring the architecture. I found the Graves Art Gallery this year too, which is a great place to visit up on the top floor.
But actually I don’t have a problem with the idea of it being turned into a hotel if it’s going to save the building and the library can be moved somewhere more suitable to our needs today.
I’m there every week but when I hear people complaining about the plans I always want to ask when was the last time they actually went in.
I always have to make sure I get time off work for Tramlines because this is one event I cannot miss.
Sheffield just changes for that one weekend every year and it is like being on holiday - just walking down Division Street you find a really different almost carnival atmosphere and everybody seems that much happier.
It isn’t really the music that does it for me - I just tag along to what everybody else is going to - but there’s something very special about it and the fact that you can hear music everywhere from Sheffield Cathedral to Endcliffe Park just makes it even more unusual.
The whole city seems to come together for those few days and again, I can walk there or even go home and change and come back again for more.