To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public
Rebecca Clow submitted the following petition on ‘Safe Youth Spaces’
which was read out on her behalf:
We the undersigned petition the Council to put more funding into safe youth spaces as there has been an increase in youth crime, and many young people do not feel as if they have a safe place.
We believe that more youth spaces will lead to less youth crime and an increase in young people feeling safe and even getting support for issues including mental health.
Sheffield City Council Community Youth Services has increased youth provision in the last year since Aug 2021. We have developed youth provision both centre based and street based to cover all 28 wards in the city, some more than one session per week. This development is ever increasing and we have seen 5 street based youth session convert into centre based youth provisions in partnership with local community organisations.
We have also increased our youth activities offer to include full and meaningful school holiday programs taking young people on trips and visits including weekend residentials. This year one activity saw 120 young people attend a trip to flamingo land alone.
We have delivered two consecutive dark nights programs which have been described by South Yorkshire Police as the most beneficial ever seeing a significant decrease in youth related anti-social behaviour in this space of time.
We have recently undertaken a restructure of our Community Youth Services which intended to reduce management structures and increase frontline roles that support young people which includes our community youth prevention roles which support young people in 1-1 in early intervention work which can include emotional and mental wellbeing skills and strategies.
Sheffield City Council has also just launched a universal youth work grant to support grassroots community organisations to apply for up to 20,000 to develop more universal community youth sessions for young people. The council is also in the process of preparing a bid to the national Youth Investment Fund to apply for significant funding that can create, develop or regenerate our youth buildings ensuring they are better equipped, better placed and more modern/relevant for young people in communities.
Alongside all of this work we are also now actively developing youth consultation to better understand, from the voice of young residents’ what young people’s expectations are of youth service providers in Sheffield.
Andy Kershaw attended the Committee and asked the following questions which the Chair promised written answers to:
Q1. The issue of the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park has given rise to a number of questions about how the Parks & Countryside service communicates with community groups such as our campaign and the established ‘friends’ groups. Would the committee please undertake a review into how the council engages with such groups and in particular where such decisions as the one to close the Rose garden Cafe with 15 minutes notice to the staff are taken and handled?
Q2. I note that the Committee is responsible for ‘Community Development’ and ‘Voluntary & Community Sector liaison and engagement’. In what way does the committee understand that this is undertaken in parks and green spaces in the City in any meaningful way?
Q3. Parks are huge ‘green meeting spaces’ for people and given the importance of social contact both during and following the Covid-19 pandemic, what role does the committee see as its role in relation to promoting social contact and the provision of social hubs or meeting places, such as the Rose Garden café and other buildings in Sheffield?
Q4. Given the alarming and very concerning report from the Director of Operational Services to the Finance Sub Committee on Monday 7th Nov (herewith: Draft Protocol for Cabinet Reports (sheffield.gov.uk) ) regarding the parlous state of the 182 council and community buildings, including some our City’s most iconic and historic buildings) what role does the committee propose to have in engaging with citizens and communities to open up meaningful dialogue to ensure the involvement of citizens affected by the potential decisions contemplated in the report?
Q5. Please supply a list of the 182 buildings mentioned at the Finance subcommittee on the 7th of November as requiring £200 million worth of repairs and maintenance.
Q6. Please supply a separate list of the buildings mentioned as ‘critical & essential’ needing £48m spending as a matter of urgency.
Q7. Please supply a list of all buildings owned by the council in public parks in Sheffield and please indicate if any of the buildings mentioned in question one and two are featured.
Q8. In relation to question three above please indicate which buildings are listed buildings in public parks in Sheffield.
Michael Booth from the Sheffield Allotment Federation attended the Committee and asked the following questions which the Chair answered:
Q1. Why has the allotment office paid for a private company to do a rent survey, then undemocratic ignore the results and try and get a 5.5% rent increase for 2024-2025.
A1. The survey was undertaken by Sheffield City Council’s Parks and Countryside Team on Citizenspace, an online platform widely used by the Council for consulting with communities. No private company was involved.
In response to the question regarding tenant’s preferences about rent increases, 56.78% of respondents were in favour of some degree of rent increase. We have therefore responded to that feedback and are proposing a below-inflation increase of 5.5%.
Q2. Why is the allotment office manned mainly by part time officers, allotment holders repeatedly say that this is why they are getting a poor service, because there is no continuity of service and the feeling is full time offices would be a better us of allotment funds.
A2. Sheffield City Council employees have a statutory right to request flexible working. The Council understands that the ability to work flexibility allows employees to have a better work-life balance and realise their potential.
Collectively our officers provide a service across the full working week during office hours (and outside of office hours in emergencies where possible). This support includes site visits and inspections and administrative support. The main preliminary points of contact, the email inbox and the telephone number 0114 2500500 are staffed throughout the week. Urgent matters which cannot wait until the relevant officer is available are always dealt with promptly.
The results of our customer satisfaction survey conducted in 2018 indicated that overall customers are happy with the service.
Q3. Why do some tenants to subsidise other tenants.
A3. We want to ensure that as many people as possible are able to access allotments. We offer concessions to support those in receipt of certain benefits to enjoy the same opportunities as those who are not.
Q4. who is setting the policy for the allotments, is it the allotment offices or the councillors.
A4. The governance and decision-making process will vary, however, the Allotment Advisory Group is consulted on policy changes and ongoing areas of work. This is attended and chaired by Councillors, with representatives from Allotment Societies and the Allotment Federation. It is the first point of contact for the Allotment Office for all areas of work including the review of policies, target setting for the year and a steer on spending priorities for site improvements. Proposals are shared for discussion and an advisory input.
In the last year, as part of a review of our overall Allotment Strategy the Allotment Advisory Group members have been fully involved in working groups to enable a collaborative review of our policies and handbook, this engagement has been greatly appreciated. This will continue over the winter, with additional engagement with the wider allotment community. Once the consultation is completed and drafts of all the new policies are prepared, Councillors will take a decision on whether these are adopted.