Agenda item

High Green Development Trust

Presentation by Chris Hallam, Chief Executive of High Green Development Trust.



Chris Hallam, Chief Executive Officer of High Green Development Trust, attended to update attendees on activities and plans for the High Green Development Trust campus.


The campus included 35,000 sq ft of space, which was currently occupied by 13 different charities and 35 different community uses. These ranged from a nursing home, hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, a ball pool for adults and children, charity shop and a community fridge. There were 36 volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 84. For the last 12 months the Trust had changed from an inward to an outward looking organisation.


The Trust had a Community Plan which had been shared with Sheffield City Council and was aligned with the Local Area Committee priorities and commitments.


Sheffield City Council had supported the Trust in setting up a Youth Hub. The hub allowed young people to make budget decisions on which activities to run and how to reach across the city. Mr Hallam was reverse mentored by two young people and found this to be a very useful experience.


The Trust aimed to partner with organisations that met with their three main priorities, which were care, education and community.


In terms of community events, there was currently a suite of projects, including “Mind, Body and Soil”, which was running across allotments. A group of ex-military volunteers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder where working on this project and were doing great work. The Trust were actively looking for opportunities to improve that space.


The Paces campus would be moving on to new premises at Thorncliffe at October half-term. The young people would be missed, but an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rated nursery remained on-site along with a gymnastics group. There would still be a focus on educating staff, and courses were planned, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), how to live on a budget, cooking and art classes. Many communities had been reached over the last 18 months, and the Trust had been inundated with approaches from volunteers and residents wishing to work there. There was now also interest for facilities such as health visitor clinics and hot desking facilities. Sheffield City Council shared the Trust’s long-term view for the site, which included plans to run a bus circular route which was hoped to be free at the point of use.


The Chair thanked Mr Hallam for attending and providing an informative update.



Councillor Gamble Pugh noted that he had been following the email correspondence about the ongoing issue of the lease. He suggested that it might be useful for Mr Hallam to outline what the arrangements had been so far and the aspirations of the Trust going forward. He also proposed a resolution to give clear support and direction to Council officers to encourage them in the support of the work of the Trust.



Mr Hallam advised that the lease had originally been granted to the Trust at a ‘peppercorn rent’ on the proviso of community use. The site was currently being considered by the Council for special educational needs provision. While those plans developed, the Trust would continue to work with the city on the development of the site to ensure that it retained its provision of services for education, community and care. The Trust supported the aspirations of the city in trying to improve special educational needs provision and were confident that the blended activity on the site would achieve all aims. Mr Hallam believed that a rolling short lease could lead to a situation of being unable to attract organisations that fit with the Trusts and the city’s aspirations. Over the next 4 to 5 years, the Trust hoped that the Council could continue to back their aspirations and provide a lease that supported work with site partners during that period.



Councillor Williams noted the sentiment outlined by Councillor Gamble Pugh but felt unable to support the proposed resolution without having been fully briefed. Councillor Baker echoed this concern and noted that it was not within the Committee’s power to offer a commitment of support.



Mr Hallam felt that there was a need to break through some of the ‘red tape’ but felt reassured from the verbal support given at this meeting.



Councillor Williams offered to visit the site in his capacity as Chair of the Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee, and Councillor Baker also expressed an interest in visiting.



The Chair noted that the North Local Area Committee were in support of the ongoing activities of the Trust and if there was a need to move to a resolution then that should be placed on the agenda for the next formal meeting.




Councillor Gamble Pugh explained that his proposal was to resolve as a Committee that they were clear of the benefits that the Trust’s utilisation brought to the community, but upon reflection, wished to formally withdraw his proposal for a resolution on this issue.



The Chair felt it was clear that the Chief Executive Officer and trustees were a valuable team, and that the campus was a worthwhile community asset and resource which complemented other community locations in the north of Sheffield.



The Chair explained that during January and February there would be a formal public consultation on the Local Plan, and it was hoped that this could be included as an item at the next North Local Area Committee meeting, due to take place on Wednesday 8 January at Forge Valley School, Stannington.