Gail Gibbons moved to Sheffield from Lancashire in 1987 to study at The University of Sheffield and, with the exception of some time travelling abroad, has been here ever since. Like so many people, she fell in love with the city because of its diversity, the friendliness of its people, its green spaces, and its downright quirkiness.
She has been CEO of Sheffield Futures since 2014 – a young people’s charity based on Division Street. Prior to this, she worked in local government and health – first as a social worker, and then in commissioning and management. She lives in Millhouses and is married to John. They have two teenage children – Nat and Eve.
Sheffield Futures are welcoming sponsors and table bookings for their Spring Benefit with Lord Mayor Magid Magid on Friday 22nd March at Sheffield Hallam University. Funds raised during the evening will sustain and grow the emotional wellbeing service for young people, Door 43. Details at Sheffieldfutures.org.uk.
Young people and Sheffield Futures
I feel very privileged to work for Sheffield Futures. I have worked with young people for many years and the passion, creativity and good sense young people bring to the table when we ask them to get involved in our services, never ceases to amaze me. Sheffield Futures works with hundreds of local young people each year – many of whom face serious challenges in their lives. It is our belief that all young people have the potential to achieve, and that they deserve the support to help them along the way. Sheffield is a young city, rammed full of young people doing amazing and enterprising things. It’s great to be able to get involved and to celebrate their achievements.
Graves Art Gallery
Up on the top floor of the Central Library is this gorgeous art gallery. Not many people seem to know about it, but it is a wonderful oasis of calm away from the bustle of the city centre. It is not unusual to have the whole place almost to yourself at certain times of day. The Live Late event ‘DISSENT!’ held there last year as part of The Festival of Debate, was a great way to use the space and I’d love to see more of these types of events in more unusual venues.
Sheffield Round Run
I’m running the Sheffield Round Run event with a friend again this year. I’m not a natural runner, but this run is so enjoyable that I was poised to enter as soon as it opened. This trail route is stunning, and really showcases the best Sheffield has to offer in terms of its green spaces. 11 timed stages make up 20km of a 24km route and the walking in between each stage makes it less daunting. The atmosphere is fantastic, and a Thornbridge beer at the end is also very welcome.
Independent Bookshops and Libraries
I’ve always been a bookworm, and a good bookshop is usually the first thing I seek out when I go to a new place. Sadly, independent bookshops have been in serious decline in recent years – including in Sheffield. As such, I always make an effort to buy from the few we still have - Rhyme and Reason at Hunters Bar and the late lamented La Biblioteca, deserve a shout out. Our local libraries also deserve our continued support. I regularly use Ecclesall Library and Central Library and despite the funding cuts, they still provide a fantastic service with a great range of titles.
Independent Cafes & Bars
A good chunk of my weekends are spent sitting in cafes drinking coffee with family and friends, or on my own. There are so many good local ones to choose from, but my current favourites include The Rude Shipyard, Seven Hills Bakery and Tamper on Westfield Terrace. Lots of great bars and music venues are also cropping up across the city. I love Picture House Social and Barrowboy on Abbeydale Road, as well as Pedlers and The Old Workshop in Kelham Island.
Ecclesall Woods and The JG Graves Discovery Centre
It’s fantastic to have Ecclesall Woods so close to home. The woods are beautiful at all times of year, and they are the perfect place to wander through when I’m feeling particularly knackered. I love the design of the JG Graves Discovery Centre, and the way it blends into its surroundings. When we want to drag our kids out for a walk, the promise of a short walk to the Woodlands Coffee Stop at the Centre for a hot chocolate- rather than a long walk in The Peak District- can usually do the trick!
Park Hill Flats & The Cholera Monument
I love the walk up behind the train station through South Street Amphitheatre to Park Hill Flats and then on to The Cholera Monument. The views up here are spectacular, and the redevelopment of the whole area with the introduction of S1 Artspace and South Street Kitchen for example, is very exciting.