Ed Newton, aged 34, is the managing director of City Hearts, one of the UK’s leading anti- human trafficking support charities based at the Megacentre, home of Hope City Church just off Park Square roundabout in Sheffield.
Ed came to the city as a student in 2002 to study law at the University of Sheffield. After his Legal Practice Course, his first training was in Devon.
So homesick was Ed for Sheffield, he quit before the end, since when he says he has done every job under the sun. A stint as kids’ leader at church led Ed to working in 20 different primary schools for two years, from Stannnington to Meersbrook.
Ed moved to be assistant pastor of Hope City in Leeds and started the City Hearts safe house. By 2013, Ed was finance manager across four safe houses: Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds helping 100 survivors- mainly women. Over the past six years, City Hearts’ 155 staff now provide a safe haven in 10 houses for over 500 men, women and children who have survived human trafficking.
Ed lives with wife Safi and their adoptive children James, seven, and Emily, two.
Christmas gifts of pyjamas , slippers, dressing gowns and toiletries are appreciated for trafficking survivors, donations can be left at the Megacentre reception, Bernard Road. Call 0114 2132063 for details.
Manor and Wybourne estates
As part of running the children’s work at Hope City church, we would have 100 people every week on Sunday, run a Friday night kids club and at our big Christmas party, Santa would travel in a limo to pick up kids we were supporting from Wybourn school and Norfolk Park. I lived on Ingram Road here for a few years and had my first proper kiss outside that house- to the woman I married nine months later, ten years ago! I love the views up there.
At university, I remember being taken from the hall I was staying in to be shown round Conduit Rd law department and wondering if our coach would stay still on such a steep hill. It turned into a place I loved: I would race people up the street and go bouldering further down the road at Goodwin sports centre.
I first did this charity walk as a student when it was a gruelling 50 miler, shame it’s now a tame 13-mile walk! We started at midnight, walked 25 miles around Sheffield past the union, then the committed did another 25 miles right out into the Peak. You could tell the people who had completed for the entire next week- they were the ones who could barely walk! It was a brilliant way of discovering Sheffield on foot in that way.
City Hearts staff
All 155 of them! They’re skilled, they’re caring, so giving when there’s drama…we often feel the extra mile is just where our team start.
They are there in people’s worst moments, really journey with people and celebrate small successes. We are always so touched when someone’s left- maybe four or five years later they get a job or their leave to remain comes through and they call City Hearts team to tell us what happened. I was so touched when one of our safehouse women wrote in a Christmas card, “You are the voice for people who cannot speak out for themselves, thank you for bringing back hope and giving a person like me love and protection.”Staff and volunteers will be coming in on Christmas Day, creating a wonderful traditional British Christmas dinner for our guests.
Weston Park Museum
Within a week of adopting James, I wandered into the superb Weston Park Museum- as I have regularly since. The activities were great and I still remember the strength test where you could ‘push a poo’ to see if you were as strong as a dung beetle.
Endcliffe Park and Bole Hills
I used to watch the fireworks on the Bole Hills as a student. Endcliffe Park was for Ultimate Frisbee and I got involved in City Hearts’ sponsored ‘Walk for Freedom’ there. I like the River Porter that flows through and the famous duck race. That big weeping willow as you enter the park is stunning.