We live in a city where innovation and tradition blend and support each other
Helen Davies is a programme manager at FareShare Go, a free service from food charity FareShare providing charities and community groups with direct daily access to surplus food from local supermarkets.
The head office for FareShare Go is based in Sheffield and on a typical day around 2,000 charities across the UK will be collecting surplus food through the scheme.
Local organisations benefitting from the programme include Cathedral Archer Project, Places for People Windmill Lane and Together Women Project Sheffield.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Helen has lived in lots of different places including Belgium and Germany, but is back in the city she loves so much. She lives in Ecclesall with husband Ben and Irish Terrier Estha.
I’m really interested in how things are made and Sheffield is full of makers breathing life back into some of the city’s oldest industrial buildings. Frankie over at Grey Suit Clay on Arundel Street is a one-woman show single-handedly feeding my mug habit (and plates, bowls and jugs). And the wonderful Anna from Cocoa Mester – we collaborated recently on a delicious salted peanut bar made from surplus ingredients
which received rave reviews from the Fareshare team.
Alex at Arnold on Ecclesall Road makes clothes shopping for my husband bearable.
Their jeans brand, Forge Denim, champions British manufacturing - even the rivets are made in Sheffield. The Design Museum, factory and shop of the late David Mellor housed in an old gas works at Hathersage, is a fantastic place to learn about Sheffield’s industrial history. His cutlery designs are timeless and they do factory tours at the weekend - it’s fascinating to see the processes involved in the making of a humble fork.
I like that these craftsmen and women are determined to do things their way and properly. I just bought my first proper sewing shears from Ernest Wright and they feel all the more special because of the story behind them.
Sharrow Vale Road
Not just the finest road in Sheffield but I think it might be one of the best in the UK.
This road is a haven for those who love food and drink and a wander down Sharrow Vale on a Saturday morning is good for the soul. Lauren’s doughnuts (sugared, not filled for me) are delicious, local unpasteurised cheese from Porter Brook Deli, the freshest mackerel from JH Mann, and a Pagnotta from Seven Hills Bakery are all up there as life’s great pleasures for me. I’d probably move to the country if it weren’t for this road.
A city full of neighbours
I’ll never forget when we moved back to Sheffield just how many people popped round to say hello and offer a helping hand - our city really feels like a village. If you care about something, chances are there’ll be another bunch of people who do too and they can’t wait to discuss it with you over a pint down the pub!
And it’s not just a physical thing either, Help Sheffield is a twitter account setup for the people of Sheffield. With 20,000 followers, Phil who runs it has only one ambition and that is to bring folk together to help make Sheffield a better place to live. And he likes a pint down the pub too.
Yes, we can all get cheesed off with the noise, the bottles lining the windowsills of many a student dig, the landlords who insist on skipping everything, but I genuinely miss it when students are out for the summer. University cities are wonderfully vibrant, active and tolerant. Young people are change-makers, they challenge the status-quo and they champion equality and I love them for that - all 75,000 of them!
Growers, producers and innovators
Let’s face it, we northerners love a good dinner. What we lack in Michelin stars is more than made up for in the honest produce on our doorstep and the dynamism of our growers and suppliers.
We live in a city where innovation and tradition blend and support each other – there’s biodynamic farming at High Riggs in Stannington, wonderful orchards at Wortley Hall Organic Kitchen Garden, and grass-fed beef, lamb and pork reared at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust (they also have the most northerly vineyard in the UK). We have our own honey supplies thanks to Jez at Sheffield Honey, milk, butter and cream
from Our Cow Molly, and even our own Little Mester from Sheffield Cheesemasters.
Although not locally produced, natural wine and charcuterie bar Elm on Gibraltar Street, is the perfect place for sampling Sam’s range of natty wines. All this wonderful food and drink is not only good for our health, it’s planet positive and great for our local economy.