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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Annual General Meeting of Darnall Forum & Post Office

The annual general meeting of Darnall Community Forum, which runs Darnall Post Office and a number of other projects, takes place on Tuesday 9 November at 6pm in the meeting room in the Darnall Forum offices next to Darnall Post Office.

This is a chance for local residents to have their say about how the post office is run and to comment on other issues that concern them.

The meeting elects the Board of volunteer trustees who run the Forum and are responsible for the post office through their trading company, Darnall Forum Trading.

To become a member of the Forum people have to live or work in Darnall.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Customer Service Consultant / Counter Clerk

x 3 (Part Time or Jobshare),

Darnall, Sheffield
An excellent opportunity, working up to 16 hours per week on a rota between 9.00am - 5.30pm over five 1/2 days, has arisen at the new post office in Darnall. Subject to who else is appointed to the team there may be scope for agreeing certain set hours each week.
The main duties are serving customers, selling Post Office products and services, cash handling and advising on other Post Office related matters. You will also conduct general customer service and retail duties. Any keyboard, EPOS and proven communication skills with the public would be of great benefit. The appointee will be able to work quickly and accurately in a busy environment and preferably have cash handling experience. Patience and a helpful, friendly manner are essential attributes.
If you want to know more, please apply today by contacting or Nazia on 0114 249 0099

Post Office Manager

Darnall, Sheffield
An excellent opportunity has arisen to manage a busy Post Office in Darnall, Sheffield.
Darnall Forum currently have an exciting opportunity for a Post Office Manager to join their new Post Office team and manage the day to day operational activities whilst looking to utilise the positioning and footfall of the Post Office to provide additional retail based income streams.
You will need to have previous Post Office, finance or retail experience, experience of team leadership or management and must be passionate about driving sales and delivering excellence in customer service.
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to really get involved with a business and work autonomously as a manager, looking at ways to increase sales and generating year on year improvement.
The post office turnover runs on low weekly margins, so it is vital that you have the correct number of staff available at all times to ensure the best possible levels of customer service and that all aspects of the business are handled efficiently and effectively. It is key that the whole range of post office services and the other income streams are brought to customers' attention as appropriate to aid sales and turnover.
Key skills will include a strong work ethic, the ability to delegate, attention to detail, excellent numeracy, being an excellent communicator across a diverse customer and staff base, the ability to think on your feet and an entrepreneurial flair.
If you have previous Post Office or retail or finance experience, and are looking for a full time, permanent position then please apply today by contacting or Nazia on 0114 249 0099

New Post Office To Open At The End of August

Darnall's new post office will open on Tuesday 31 August. It will be based in Darnall Forum's offices at 245 Main Road, which are being remodelled to make room for a modern post office and shop with four counters. The post office will provide
  • passport checking
  • foreign currency
  • travel insurance
  • home and car insurance
  • moneygrams
  • parelforce guaranteed
  • next-day delivery
  • the full range of parcel and postal services
  • stamps
  • cards, stationery, toys and confectionery
The People's Post Office
But this will be a post office with a difference. Neil Bishop, Darnall Forum's Manager said, 'This really will be "The People's Post Office" because it belongs to the people of Darnall. Anyone who lives or works in Darnall, Attercliffe and Acres Hill can join Darnall Forum and have a say in how the post office is run because Darnall Forum owns the new post office and any profit we make, after we have paid the post office staff and all the bills and running costs, will be ploughed back into local services for people in Darnall. And it is the members of the Forum who decide the sort of services which the Forum should provide at our annual general meeting.'

Local councillors have been instrumental in helping the post office to open for business again. They persuaded the East Community Assembly to make a grant of £10,000 towards the set-up costs. MP Clive Betts has also given the Forum his support and campaigned to get Post Office Ltd, which runs the post office network, to agree a groundbreaking deal which will allow Darnall Forum itself to be responsible for the post office instead of a sub-postmaster.

Chair of the Forum, Sylvia Hamilton, said, 'Darnall needs a post office. Many people here found it very difficult to travel to Attercliffe or Handsworth, or into town, to get the things they need. And the local shopping centre needs a post office, too. That's why we decided we had to do something to help.'

Mr Betts told The Herald: "The Darnall Forum team deserve a great deal of credit for a superb achievement."

The post office will open for business on Tuesday 31 August at 9am. Its opening hours will be 9 - 5.30 on weekdays and 9 - 12.30 on Saturdays.


Local councillors are calling another community meeting, at 6.30pm on 20 July in Church of Christ, Main Road, Darnall to bring local people up-to-date on what is happening about the proposals for a Gypsy and Traveller site in Darnall. The proposal to use the Ross Street site has now been dropped by the Council after pressure from local residents and councillors, but Cllr Mary Lea warned that there are other sites which the report identifies in our area. "We need to be vigilant about this," she said.

The City Council has announced that the consultation about Gypsy and Traveller sites is on hold until later in the year, while it waits to hear from government about new planning guidelines. However, Councillor Harry Harpham said, "Although we are no longer being consulted about this, and although Ross Street is no longer being considered, the issue has not gone away. Your councillors share the concerns of local people about creating a new Gypsy and Traveller site in Darnall and are 110% behind you. It is critical to keep collecting signatures on petitions and reminding the Council about how we feel."

Councillors and local residents are concerned that Darnall does not have the health and education facilities to cope with a Gypsy and Traveller site on top of other new housing developments which have already caused concern, especially about school places in a part of the city with a relatively young population. Cllr Lea said, "These proposals were called in for scrutiny and we want to be able to tell residents exactly what happened at the special scrutiny board meeting, as well as what we did with the petitions which people have collected."

Community Meeting 24 June 2010 10am Church of Christ

Chair: Councillor Harry Harpham

Councillor Mary Lea in attendance plus 16 residents, 3 council officers, 1 officer from the PCT and 1 Forum officer.

The following statement was made by planning officers:

The Council are no longer consulting on the three proposed sites for Gypsy and Travellers, including the one proposed for Darnall, as part of its current consultation on the Sheffield Development Framework. The Council has called the decision to include the sites in the draft consultation documents in for scrutiny. This means that the issue of Gypsy and Traveller sites will be looked at in more detail by members of the Scrutiny Committee on 6th July.

The City Council, as local planning authority, is currently required to allocate enough land in its development plan to meet future needs for Gypsy and Traveller sites. However, the Government has recently announced that they will be making changes to the process giving councils more local discretion. This may have implications for the assessment of need and the number of sites that are required. The Council expects to be doing more work on this issue, including consultation, but until the new guidance is published it is not clear what the Council will be required to do, so they have shelved this issue for the time being. The Council has in the meantime kept all the concerns which were sent to them.

Questions from members of the public:

Question: What are we to do with the petitions which the Councillors have circulated?

Councillor Harpham said that although we are no longer being consulted about this, the issue has not gone away. The Councillors share the concerns of local people and are 110% behind them. It is critical to keep collecting signatures on petitions. This will mean residents can be kept informed by letter about what is happening. There will be another public meeting after 6th July. The Councillors will hand in the petitions collected so far at the next Council meeting and they will continue to present them on a rolling basis.

Question: What about the Gypsies who are already living in Darnall without permission?

The concerns of residents were noted.

Question: Why had a meeting been called during the daytime when a lot of people cannot come?

Neil Bishop explained that we are holding a few daytime meetings as well as our regular evening meetings to help a wider cross-section of residents to get their views across. Evening meetings are not always well attended.

Question: How many sites have been proposed in areas where Liberal Democrat voters are in the majority?


Question: What about the problems that have been associated with other Gypsy and Traveller sites?

Residents noted that a lot of money has been spent on other sites – such as Woodburn Road – and then they have closed. Concerns were expressed about anti-social behaviour affecting local residents. There was a feeling that money had been wasted on Gypsy and Traveller facilities which then were not used.

Lyn Brandon said that Gypsy and Traveller sites are now being managed by Sheffield Homes. The PCT has found from its work that Gypsies and Travellers have much poorer health than other people and face a lot of racism. She is working on sites at Redmire and Mosborough which are very well run and where families stay for a long time. There are already Gypsies living in Darnall and they don’t cause any unusual problems.

Question: Could new bus companies be brought into Darnall? First Bus is not an adequate service provider.

The comment was noted but this is not a matter which the city council to decide.

Question: When is the regeneration of Darnall going to begin? It doesn’t seem likely in the lifetime of older people.

A resident commented that she did not wish to stereotype Gypsies and Travellers as she knew that many must be good citizens but the experience of people in Darnall had unfortunately been a lot more negative and we need to make sure that people living on sites are willing to conform to social norms and laws. Councillor Harpham said the real issue was about whether the area had the capacity to absorb a significant number of extra Gypsy and Traveller residents given the pressures on local services.

Sheffield Development Framework

Debbie Merrill from Development Services gave a presentation about the latest stage of the Sheffield Development Framework. She presented a draft of the City Policies and Sites document and Proposals Map now available for consultation and comment. The draft plan presents guidance on how the city should develop in the future and the presentation was made with particular reference to Darnall and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The documents can be read on the Council website or at Darnall Library. Comments on the draft documents can be made to: or by email to

There is a formal six week consultation period until the 30th July. Changes will be made to the documents after the consultation. A final version will be sent to government next year and should be approved by December 2012, so we are very much at a draft stage of the process.

Question: Nothing ever seems to happen at the end of all the reviews and plans. It all seems utopian. When will we see regeneration happen?

Debbie Merrill said it is a legal function of the Council to put plans in place. However, these plans are often affected by 1,001 other issues including the economy. Maria Duffy said it is not an investment plan; it is a planning framework so that if developers come forward with proposals we can see how they might fit into the vision of what the council would like to happen in the area.

Question: Are we still going to get the new primary care clinic?

It is going through legal processes within the PCT and the Strategic Health Authority to get the necessary permissions in place.

Question: Residents of Handsworth Crescent had a battle royal, helped by Clive Betts, to get someone to remove an unauthorised scrap yard from greenbelt land. Why were planners not more aware that this was happening?

Councillor Lea said she had been reporting the issue for a long time, but the businessman concerned was very clever and it was difficult to enforce the removal of the scrap yard. Councillor Harpham said the Council cannot employ enough people to patrol all the greenbelt sites in Sheffield so we are reliant on local residents. Council officers then need to take action.

Question: We have some of the worst air pollution in the country. Could the railway bridge be widened on Prince of Wales Road to relieve the bottleneck there, which causes increased pollution?

Councillor Harpham said this was a highways issue.

Councillor Lea asked if 40% of new homes still need to be affordable housing?

Regional planning guidance has been abolished but the Council is now awaiting new national planning guidance.

Darnall Post Office

Neil Bishop gave an update about the Post Office, which will reopen soon in Darnall Forum’s premises.

Community Meeting – Gypsy and traveller site Tuesday 8 June, Church of Christ 6.30pm

Attendance: Cllrs H Harpham, M Iqbal, M Lea and 110 members of the local community.

Cllr Harpham gave an introduction and some background information about the sites mentioned in the report and the reason for the proposals. There had been no previous discussion with local councillors and they found out 10 days ago before it went to cabinet. The public meeting has been arranged to give the public the chance to air their views. The councillors personally leafleted the area to let people know about the plans and this meeting.

Cllr Harpham said we want to argue against the proposals and explain why it is wrong to have a site in Darnall. We feel that there has not been enough consultation as no one knows about the plan. It is wrong that the owners of the land didn’t even know about it and the whole community found out by reading it in the press. The purpose of meeting was

1) to receive views from the public on why we believe it is wrong

2) to apply pressure on the council

3) to encourage residents to attend the scrutiny board and cabinet meeting and sign the councillors’ petition.

If we don’t voice our opinions then the proposal will go ahead. Darnall Forum sill help to represent people’s views.

The following views/concerns were raised by members of the community:

Q1) Why not take a show of hands? The purpose of the meeting was to listen to the arguments for and against, however it was clear that the meeting did not support the findings of the report.

Q2) We already have a site, why are we getting another? Councillors and residents agreed that we can’t afford to have a site in Darnall because it is already a deprived area and it will disadvantage it even more.

Q3) Would you like it outside your door? Whitwell Street has had major problems for 33 years and nothing has been done. It has been linked to anti social behaviour, fly-tipping and prostitution and it is overrun with rats and so it doesn’t seem a suitable location for a group of vulnerable people. Councillors reminded the meeting that there has been no consultation at all about the choice of sites.

Q4) We shouldn’t just leave it to the councillors. Shouldn’t we all do something collectively to keep up the pressure up about the sites in Darnall?

Q5) What about the purpose built site near Centertainment which was wrecked/destroyed/vandalised?

Q6) How will the Lift project be affect ed?

Q7) Why should we have a site in Sheffield anywhere? What legislation is there for this? Have we voted for a site? The requirement to consider appropriate sites came from central government but councillors were not consulted about the criteria which should be followed in selecting what is an appropriate site.

Q8) Where will we park?

Q9) Can we have a list of email addresses or contact details to whom we can write? Residents can drop off comments or letters to Darnall Forum ans these will be passed onto councillors

Q10) Doctors’ surgeries are already over crowded and schools are full. Aren’t traffic problem going to increase with travellers here as well?

Q11) How can we sustain an additional community group when we already desperately need regeneration?

Q12) Why provide new sites when the previous ones have sometimes been closed?

Q13) How much will it cost for infrastructure for the site? Approximately 1 million pounds. The Council would expect Sheffield Homes to maintain the site.

Q14) What are the potential sites in Darnall? Senior Road, Greenland Road, Darnall Way, Ross Street/ Whitwell Street, the LIFT project site on Main Road, Prince of Wales Road, Ouseburn Road, Shirland Lane.

Q15) Why have so many sites been selected in our area and not in areas where the Lib Dems are in control? Why have they identified the site chosen for our medical centre?

The meeting agreed unanimously that Darnall was not a satisfactory location.

The councillors went on to say that they will do as much as they can as local representatives of the community and they are 110% behind this decision. They can represent the views of the community but their influence will be stronger if the community is seen to be behind them, which they are.

Councillors also said that it is Important to have a steering committee drawn from the public with about 5-8 members to represent Darnall to the scrutiny board and the full council meeting, and to present the petition on behalf of Darnall.

Mary Lea – Post Office Update

Darnall Forum has developed a social enterprise to run the local post office. For months now Neil Bishop, the manger, has looked into loans and funds and the Forum has also received £10,000 backing from the Council for this. He attended an interview and has been successful in his application to reopen the post office which should hopefully be completed by September. There must be an 8 week consultation process to see if the community are happy with the idea.

A show of hands was taken and everybody supported the Post Office.

The Lift Project is still going ahead.

The Ward Brothers have been asked to revise their plans and are meeting with the Council.

It was agreed that the community can come into Darnall Forum to get contact details for local councillors and also use Darnall Forum as somewhere to leave comments – so councillors can pick them up and collate the information.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Mushtaq Tufail (BBC SHEFFIELD) interviewing Clive Betts MP at High Hazel's Park in Darnall on Sunday 13 May during the the Boshaki Mela which celebrates the new year. Despite funding issues the local community managed the event on a shoestring budget with a small grant from the East Community Assembly. The majority of the cost was sponsored by the businessmen who paid for stalls and exhibitions.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Up-Coming Community Meetings

Tonight at 8pm there will be a meeting at the Church of Christ on Main Road Darnall to discuss proposals to site a permanent car park for Travellers in Darnall.

The next general community meeting will be held on Thursday 24 June at 10am. The venue is to be confirmed. The main item for discussion will be planning issues, including the future of Darnall Centre.

Notes of the Community Meeting on 15 April

Notes of the Darnall Community Meeting held on Thursday 15 April at the Darnall Forum offices and chaired by Cllr Mazher Iqbal with Cllr Mary Lea and Sylvia Hamilton (Chair of Darnall Forum) in attendance

Simon Kirk from Sheffield Primary Care Trust gave a short presentation about two current issues:

1) The York road Surgery has made a business decision to more to the former Wellington Public House. There is no basis in the contract they have with the NHS to compel them to use the new health centre. They successfully appealed against the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission. Their plans for the new building must be approved by the PCT so they will have to refurbish to a high standard. The service must be the same as they currently provide or improved. They are also entitled to reclaim the cost of their premises from the NHS as long as they can agree a reasonable figure with the PCT.

2) The ground for the LIFT Project has been cleared and site investigation is on going. The LIFT Company will build the health centre and rent it to the PCT for 25 years, after which there will be an option to buy. The District Valuer has to confirm that the cost of the deal is value for money. The difference which the facilities make to the health of local people is part of the calculation which the PCT must also make if the DV has any reservations. The Strategic Health Authority must also approve the PCT’s decision.

There will be a stakeholder group to help drive the project forward. Local people will be involved. It will be convened when the project reaches ‘financial close’, ie. the price is agreed with the Company and the DV and the Strategic Health authority accepts that it is value for money.

New international accountancy rules did look as if they might potentially derail the scheme, but that threat has gone away. National government could also change the rules but there is no indication of that. The project is in the PCT’s five year plan.


1) Drs Mehrohtra and Swinden have told patients that they will have 18 parking spaces but this was in a draft consultation document which is now being revised. Patients will have to walk or go by public transport unless they are disabled.

2) They have got planning permission to redevelop their existing surgery.

3) The Council has cut almost £100,000 from its budget for public health promotion (the APHC Project). In Darnall’s case it is losing £10,000 from a £51,000 budget.

4) The stakeholder group will include Darnall Well Being, The Forum, councillors, the LIFT Co., The GPs’ practice, the public health team etc.

Jenny McPhail gave a presentation about the Council’s Insulation Scheme which provides free loft and cavity wall insulation for residents of Darnall Ward and also special categories of people throughout the city (eg. over 70s). EAGA Insulation is the only approved contractor for the scheme. If minor pointing needs doing or scaffolding needs erecting, EAGA will do this. Clients of the scheme will have a personal password which only the official contractors know. Cowboy insulators won’t be able to quote this password.

The team can also provides other green energy and fire safety advice. They link in with the Green Doctors. Email: or phone 0800 9159096


1) If you have less than 8” of insulation the Council can top it up to 12”. The survey is free. It includes insulation of the hot water tanks and associated piping; and cold water tanks if they are in the loft.

2) Report cowboy firms who are trying to capitalise on the programme

3) The funding comes from the CERT (Carbon Emissions Reduction Project)

Councillor Iqbal and Neil Bishop gave an update on the negotiations to reopen the post office. The Forum is submitting an application for a loan to pay for the set up costs for reopening the post office. The Community Assembly are looking at ways to help by making a grant for Social Enterprise. The main benefit of this would be to encourage the lender – the Yorkshire Key Fund – to invest in the project. Commercial banks are now reluctant to fund Post Offices. Sylvia Hamilton explained that the Forum is a voluntary organisation and exists to promote the regeneration of Darnall.

High Hazels Park

The Café has now opened in High Hazels House.

30 young lads have been playing cricket as part of a Cricket Tournament funded by South Yorkshire Police and supported by advice from Darnall Forum, which is funded through the Community Assembly. Residents said how nice it is to see children in the park again.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are looking for members of the community to join the team of Trust Governors. Becoming a Governor is an exciting opportunity to support your local community by representing the needs and views of patients and the public. Governors work with the Board and have an active say in how our Hospital’s services are developed and how the organisation is managed. They represent the views of the 8,800 Sheffield public and patients who have registered to become a Member of the Trust.
The next Elections are coming up on 24 May and anyone who is interested in finding out more about this important role should contact Jane Pellegrina, Foundation Trust Membership Manager as soon as possible. Information and briefing sessions (details will be provided with nomination packs) are being provided but here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
What is a Governor?
As a Governor you will play a very important role. You will act as a link between the Trust Members and the Board of Directors. You will have a number of key responsibilities, such as:
• helping to plan for the future
• ensuring the Trust is accountable to patients and local people
• recruiting and encouraging new members
• Influencing decisions by sitting on and contributing to various committees
An effective Governors’ Council is crucial to the success of the Trust and we will help you develop the skills you need to carry out your role as Governor.
What will my responsibilities be as a Governor?
1. to bring new ideas about how services can be improved and provided in ways that meet the needs of patients
2. to discuss strategic plans and new developments
3. to share information about key decisions with other Trust Members
4. to represent the interests of Trust Members (other members of your local community)
5. to appoint the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors
6. to set the pay levels for the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors.
Will I get paid?
No, similar to a school governor you do not receive a salary but you are paid expenses.
Do I need any special skills or experience?
You do not need any particular skills or experience but a passion for making NHS services better will help you enormously. The Governors elected will be supported by staff from within the Trust who are experienced in public involvement and communication. You will also be working alongside staff Governors and those appointed by the local councils, other parts of the NHS and the voluntary sector. The Governors meet regularly as a group and often work as a team.
How will the Elections be run?
We have appointed the Electoral Reform Service to run our elections for us. As well as making sure that we follow a robust process, it also means that the Elections are independent. We will give notice of an Election and invite any nominees (people who wish to stand as governors) to register their interest.
Anyone putting themselves forward will be asked to answer some simple questions. This information will be included on our website, and on the voting papers which are sent to all Members. Once the closing date is reached the votes are counted and we will then announce the results publicly.
Will support be available?
We are happy to discuss any training or support that you may need to help you stand as a Governor, or to fulfil the role should you be elected.
How much time is needed to fulfil the role of a being a Governor?
A Governor is expected to attend the quarterly Governors’ Council Meetings (the expectation is that you will attend at least 3 out of 4) and the Annual General Meeting. All Meetings are held at the Hospitals. Time will also be required to read papers provided for each meeting. Apart from these minimum expectations, there are many opportunities to participate in committees, visits and other activities such as recruiting Members, all of which contribute
to making the Governor’s role useful and interesting. The amount of time a Governor spends in the role is entirely up to him/her and may only become clear after several months in post. Attendance at induction and training events will be required.
How long will my appointment last?
An appointment as a Governor will be for a three year term up to a maximum of 2 terms.
Are there rules I have to follow? How will I know if I’m doing it right?
We will give you the training and support you need to be an effective Governor.
If you are interested in finding out more please call Jane Pellegrina on
0114 2714322 or email