The Launch of Sheffield People’s Petition took place on the afternoon of 25th August in a packed Lord Mayor’s Parlour. Hosted by our Lord Mayor Cllr Magid Magid, we were delighted that the very first signatories were just a very few of the Sheffield people passionately committed to communities in our city:
- Brian Mosley, founder of Love Sheffield – a network connecting people across the city, and in local wards, to make our city a better place: https://www.facebook.com/LoveSheffieldNetwork/
- Joy Bullivant, fount of all knowledge things heritage and TimeWalk – promoting and informing about Sheffield’s heritage: http://timewalk.btck.co.uk/
- Pennie Raven – local social entrepreneur and founder of Sheffield soup https://sheffieldsoup.wordpress.com/author/throwstarfish/ ….and
- Jonny Douglas – City founder of Pecha Kucha https://www.pechakuchasheffield.com/ amongst many other creative projects. Pennie and Jonny are also the leads behind the Avenues to Zero vision at Mount Pleasant and in Sharrow: https://www.avenuestozero.com/
- Nigel Slack, at The Public Interest promoting local democracy, transparency and accountability: http://thepublicinterestsheffield.blogspot.com/
- Zahid Saleem Madina Mosque, and community worker (from cricket to local radio!) http://www.madinamasjid.org.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/madinamasjidsheffield/
- Christ Rust, Co-Chair Sheffield Tree Action Groups https://savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/
- Nicky Bea, community activist and supporter, refugees, environmental issues and everything Sheffield.
The atmosphere was both celebratory and focused – we know this is a big moment for our city as we start the road to changing the way Sheffield is run, but we also know it is going to be a marathon not a sprint. The thousands of community conversations that take place between now and winning a referendum are all important!
Ruth as Co-Chair explained the time frames, and addressed Sheffield City Council: at any point between now and the presentation of the petition, the Council (effectively the Cabinet) can decide to respond to Sheffield communities, commit to a change of governance and work in collaboration to make our city more democratic – It’s Our City! calls upon them to do just this! We will keep calling on them to do this – we are concerned the Cabinet is going to make a misjudgement….
The press were in attendance (and gave Sheffield People’s Petition great coverage) and, after the first (paper) petition signings, our Lord Mayor ‘pushed the button’ to launch the e-petition! Share, share and share.
Press coverage included:
BBC Radio Sheffield [11 minutes in] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06gx9f6
ITV Calendar News, and front page (and page 4) of the Sheffield Telegraph, where Nancy Fielder also wrote a positive and interesting editorial too.
Getting the Message Out – distribution, dissemination, and conversations
Word is going to be spread by Sheffielders from all our diverse communities, whether that is talking to neighbours, sharing the e-petition, or getting more involved.
We have two jobs – firstly, of course, to ask people to sign the petition. Secondly, and just as important, we need to have conversations about what we would like to see from a new Committee system with the aim of improving things we all want, and that fit Sheffield better. This means things like how we get greater local democracy, more say for communities, more transparency, openness and listening, and a meaningful role for all our elected representatives (not just the ten in the Cabinet) – in the structures of the Council, and also in the political culture of our city. Boring? No – all things local governance are going to get very interesting!
As the coordinating community group, It’s Our City! are holding a series of city centre events under the banner Act as If We Own the Place with a range of pertinent speakers, workshop discussions and activities. We welcome all who want to contribute to discussions going forward and particularly those from community groups, and voluntary sector organisations.
Under the banner Feet on the Streets there are also lots of people signing up to get involved in local community conversations fanning out across the whole city – at events, stalls, local meetings. Again, we will be informing fellow Sheffielders about what we are doing, inviting people to sign the petition, and to talk about the things that are important to them in the way the city is run.
Crowdfunder – please help out if you can!