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Wired City Reconnected launches in Sheffield

Image by The Circle

Summer’s flown by without a break in the world of stellamedia. Hence the radio silence here on our blog!

But now we’re back with a snippet of news about what we’ve been up to behind the scenes…

As well as recently moving to our new professional home at Sheffield’s creative & digital hub, Electric Works, which we’re rather excited about, we’ve been helping to get the first of what we hope will be many proactive networking events off the ground in Sheffield.

Wired City Reconnected [WCR] Events, solely aimed at freelancers or businesses in the Digital, Creative & ICT [Information & Communications Technologies] sectors, are experiences I’d wholeheartedly recommend because they are relaxed and informal in feel, while at the same time they foster a practical and simple approach to helping businesses in these sectors extend their professional reach & collaborative opportunities.

Likened to TV’s ‘Blind Date’ for such folk, WCR events attract businesses from these specific sectors across Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and operate a ‘match-making’ format which works in a focused and friendly way.

Sheffield Wired City Reconnected will take place on Wednesday 5th October, 6pm-8pm, at The Circle, Rockingham Lane, S1 and, like other WCR Events is organised by Alba Associates, in collaboration with Network Hub [the networking group I run with illustrator Richard Smith] – plus stellamedia is officially supporting this launch night, along with a number of other local digital/creative businesses such as Made by Pi, Sponduly, & Moogaloo.

If you book onto WCR Sheffield before 30th Sept, you’ll pay £12.50, which includes your choice of liquid refreshments plus buffet. If you book after this date, the cost to attend per delegate, which also includes food & drink, is £17.50.

Just click here to book. You might also like to connect with WCR via their LinkedIn groups -

Wired City Reconnected North West

Wired City Reconnected Yorkshire and North East

Wired City Reconnected Lincs

Hope to see you at The Circle!

Sheffield Wellbeing Festival set to help the city feel great!

Ahead of Sheffield Mental Health Week, which begins with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Sheffield Wellbeing Festival, is being held this Friday 29 July 2011 on Fargate, in the City Centre.

From 10am there will be a variety of stalls, activities and even stilt walkers all coming together in celebration of wellbeing and the wide range of wonderful services the city has to offer those experiencing mental health issues and their carers.

A collaboration between Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC), NHS Sheffield, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Mind, the day will see Fargate filled with stalls from organisations offering information on their services, volunteering opportunities and much, much more. There will be facepainting for the young (and young at heart!), as well as music and poetry.

The focus of the day will be on emphasising the steps we can each take to promote and look after our own mental wellbeing, as well as celebrating the services available in the city. Taster sessions will be on offer from 11am to 3pm, to help people find and maintain that wellbeing for themselves, and will include dance, zumba, boxercise and parachute games.

Janet Southworth, Public Health lead for mental health, NHS Sheffield, said: “Sheffield Wellbeing Festival is a chance for everyone to discover how they can take positive steps to improve their health and wellbeing. Looking after our mental health is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and the event is a great way for people to find out more and take some positive steps to feeling good.”

Speakers from Sheffield City Council will be present for the official opening at 1pm; Richard Webb, Executive Director, Communities, Miranda Plowden, Director of Commissioning, Communities and Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member, who will also be starting off the ‘Walk a Mile for Wellbeing’ event at 1:30pm.

The walk is free to sign up to – plus the first 50 people to register their place will get a free water bottle and all participants will be entered into a free prize draw. Registrations will be taken from 10am at the Get Walking Keep Walking stall.

Timetable for the day:
10am – opens
11am – Dance taster session facilitated by Activity Sheffield
11:30am – Zumba taster session facilitated by Healthworks
12pm – Boxercise taster session facilitated by Manor and Castle Development Trust
12:30pm Presentation by Right Here Service User group
1pm – Official Opening
1:30pm – Walk a Mile for Wellbeing, organised by ‘Get Walking Keep Walking’ Sheffield Ramblers
2pm – Parachute Games facilitated by Manor and Castle Development Trust
2:30pm – Zumba taster session facilitated by Sheffield Mind and Body Project and Manor and Castle Development Trust
3pm – Music and poetry

For more information contact Sara Hill by calling 0114 2216174 or emailing: mentalhealthweek@sheffieldmind.co.uk

SOURCES OF HELP AND INFORMATION:

If you are experiencing mental health problems you can contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. For more information please visit: www.sheffieldmentalhealth.org.uk Some of the myths about mental illness can be frightening. Get the facts, visit www.time-to-change.org.uk

Food review: Bar & Grill, Sheffield

MissieCindz at Bar & Grill, Sheffield

Dining out for a proper grown-up midweek lunch isn’t something I often have the pleasure of doing so when I was invited to sample the recently-launched Summer menu at Bar & Grill Sheffield, in the city centre’s Leopold Square, I wasn’t exactly backwards in coming forwards.

Having already enjoyed one of the famed Bar & Grill steaks, during a slap-up birthday dinner night out earlier this year, [as the name suggests it’s an eaterie which has largely built its menu on quality meat, meat and more meat], I decided to go for a dish that was both lighter and a taster of the more diverse offering now available on Bar & Grill’s new menu – brixton roast hake, served with salsa verde, new potatoes and green beans. I wasn’t disappointed – the dish showcased a succulent & hearty portion of fish, with delicately-seasoned veg.

My dining companions, two Twitter pals, social media consultant Mark Longbottom of Design 58 (@design58) and Cindy Cheung, AKA local food blogger & champion @MissieCindz, both opted for no-fuss carnivore options, steak and pork chop – and there were soon clean plates all round.

For dessert, I plumped for chocolate hazelnut tart, with cream anglaise – a rich, dense pudding which stayed on the right side of stodginess and captured a lovely balance between sweet nuttiness and bitter dark chocolate.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart at the Bar & Grill

I wanted to blog about my meal this week as we’re in the middle of a rather special seven days for Sheffield’s food scene, as the city is holding its second Sheffield Food & Drink Festival.

As a result there’s a staggering level of waist-expanding events, deals, and offers taking place all over the city – and my fellow diner at Bar & Grill, MissieCindz, has set herself a unique foodie challenge over this period; to only eat food produced or sourced in Sheffield during the festival. As she says, she’s eating herself to a size Sheffield!

To find out more about MissieCindz’s food challenge click here

For more on the Sheffield Food and Drink Festival 2011, visit: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/foodfestival

Social enterprise collaboration brings results for old & young

Image provided by Justine Gaubert

Three new Sheffield social enterprises have recently celebrated the success of a digitally-focused collaboration project, which brought together young volunteers to train older people how to use the internet, in Maltby, South Yorkshire.

The project aimed to bring together the old and the young generation to reduce isolation and increase independence amongst older people, by teaching them how to use the internet.  The three social enterprises: Neighbours Can Help Ltd, Silent Cities Ltd, and SilenceBreakers found another partner in Maltby Academy, who generously welcomed the older people into their school and provided the young volunteers.

“Older people are a group who have a lot to gain from technology and yet they are one of the groups least likely to have either the equipment or the skills to use it,” said John Pickin from Neighbours Can Help. “We felt we could bring even greater value to the project by recruiting young volunteers to deliver the training to older people, so there would be the intergenerational benefits too,” said Justine Gaubert, Founder of Silent Cities who delivered the training element of the programme, along with Steve Hatherley, a teacher at the Academy. “Learning the IT skills isn’t the end of the story,” added Jay Baker from SilenceBreakers, the third partner in the project. “People also need access to the technology in their own home.”

The training ran from November 2010 to March 2011 and led to many successful results, including: 20 young 11-16 year olds volunteering their time after school for this project, nine refurbished computers being installed into older people homes for free as part of the project, and because they are refurbished, over half a tonne of waste being saved, 83% of the older people in the project now feel less socially-isolated.

The project came about through collaboration, not competition…

When three emerging Sheffield social entrepreneurs met at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, they had more in common than just their names beginning with the letter ‘J’.  Justine Gaubert (Silent Cities Ltd), John Pickin (Neighbours Can Help Ltd) and Jay Baker (SilenceBreakers) were about to launch their own social enterprises, each with a focus for bringing communities together using technology.

“When we met, people assumed we’d be in competition with each other because we shared such similar aims,” said Justine. “Thankfully, we opted for collaboration instead!” “There was cross over between each of our businesses, and as we were all starting out, we thought it would be great to pilot small parts of our business in a joint project” explained Jay.

“My business is about bringing a voice to the voiceless, and part of my project is to refurbish unwanted computers and supply them to community projects. Part of Justine’s project was to supply technology training to disadvantaged communities, and Neighbours Can Help is about bringing individuals together online so they can help each other.”

“So Neighbours Can Help applied to Rotherham Council for some funding for our collaboration, and we were very proud to be selected from a shortlist of 20 others,” said David Child of Neighbours Can Help.

Councillor Doyle, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said of the project at a recent celebration event: “What makes this project special is that it was selected from over 20 others by a panel of customers, carers and Council Officers. The panel was able to see, from speaking to the project leads, what I see today; the potential to bring a community together. This project has started to bridge the gap between generations, facilitated the transfer of important skills between residents, and brought the local community and statutory services together.”

View video footage of project here

Join Silent Cities on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/silentcities

Follow Silent Cities on Twitter (PR/news/board views):

http://twitter.com/silent_cities

Follow Silent Cities founder Juastine Gaubert on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/silentshe

Join Silencebreakers on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/silencebreakers

Follow Silencebreakers on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SilenceBreakers

Saying it with cheese(cake) challenge in aid of Weston Park

Some of the best ideas or events happen by pure accident. And so, what started off as a simple off-the-cuff Twitter foodie remark has escalated into a major charity fundraising event, involving over 30 professional chefs and countless other amateur passionate bakers, to be held at Sheffield’s rather swish Copthorne Hotel.

Cheesecake is the order of the day – or rather how to make the perfect one….

Calling all you Sheffield foodies, if you think you’ve got what it takes to make the perfect cheesecake, then why not pit your sweet sensation against the rest at this special fundraising event coming soon in aid of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity?

The Firm’s Cheesecake Challenge is taking place at the Copthorne Hotel, Bramall Lane, Sheffield 2pm-4.30pm on 20 May. Arranged by two catering-focused members of local emerging business networking group, The Firm, all proceeds of this contest, will be donated to the charity and the competition is separated into two categories – amateur and professional.

Three mystery ‘foodie’ judges will be declaring the winners. All entries welcome, fee per contestant is £10, to be paid in advance by cheque, made payable to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.

Entrant cheques are being collected by The Firm members and organisers Fiona Morgan, of Rotherham-based catering company, Very Delicious, and Mick Fox, of knife-sharpening specialists UltraSharp.  Fiona can be contacted on 07709 189907 and Mick on 07500 015257. Charity raffle prizes will be on offer and visitors will pay £10 entry fee, every penny of which will be donated to the cause, for their tea or coffee – and a slice of delicious cheesecake of course!

Bookings can also be made by clicking the following link: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1541349217

So how did what’s ended up being one big challenge begin life with a cheeky little ‘tweet’ on social networking site Twitter? ‘I was chatting to Mick one day and he reckoned he could make a better cheesecake than me, and that was it – the challenge was set!’ says Fiona. ‘We’re aiming to raise at least £2,000 for Weston Park and are seeking more prizes to be donated in our raffle, so if anyone would like to help us with this please contact myself or Mick.’

Twitter Links

Fiona: http://twitter.com/VeryDeliciousFi

Mick: http://twitter.com/The_Knifeman

The Firm: http://twitter.com/TheFirmNetworks

Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity: http://twitter.com/WPCancerCharity

Copthorne Hotel: http://twitter.com/copthornehotel

Websites

Copthorne Hotel: http://www.millenniumhotels.co.uk/copthornesheffield/index.html

Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity: http://www.wphcancercharity.org.uk/

2Weeks 2MakeIt 2011 is open for applications

2Weeks 2MakeIt 2011, a ground-breaking music video competition taking place in Sheffield which randomly matches filmmakers with musicians to collaborate to create a music video, from start to finish, in just two weeks, is now open for applications.

Organised by the South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network (SYFN), the competition – in its fifth year – invites competitors to make their new films, in preparation for a Gala Competition Screening of all the work in late May/early June 2011 at the Showroom Cinema.

Dr Rob Speranza, 2Weeks 2MakeIt Coordinator and Producer/Head of Operations at SYFN says: ‘There are great prizes in this year’s competition, including a cash prize, a record distribution contract, some development awards for musicians and fantastic ‘2Weeks 2Make It’ beer from Peak Ales.’

Those who are selected as competitors will be invited to a launch event taking place at the Sensoria Festival of Music and Film in Sheffield on 5 May 2011, at the Showroom/Workstation, Paternoster Row, S1 2BX.

‘During the daytime on the 5 May, we’ll merge our 2W2MI Industry Day with the Sensoria PRO Day,’ explains Dr Speranza. ‘There will be some great training sessions and masterclasses aimed at both filmmakers and musicians, providing guidance about making music videos, getting the most out of your budget, what clichés to avoid and much more!’.

That evening all the competitors will be randomly matched. ‘That’s when we say, ‘GOOD LUCK! You’ve got 2WEEKS 2MAKE IT!!’’ says Dr Speranza. The deadline to complete the videos will be exactly two weeks from the launch, on 19 May.

For more information about 2Weeks 2MakeIt check out SYFN’s short film about the competition on their website: http://www.syfn.org/2weeks.html

2Weeks 2MakeIt 2011 application forms are available on http://www.syfn.org/2weeks.html, or by emailing Dr Rob Speranza directly on Rob@syfn.org or speranza@btconnect.com.

For more information about Sensoria visit: www.sensoria.org.uk.

http://www.syfn.org/2weeks.html
www.sensoria.org.uk
http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/

Social media and events taking centre stage for new Culture Forum

Silversmith Owen Waterhouse with candlestick, at Culture Strategy Launch Event. Photo supplied by Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council’s recently-launched culture strategy is to be supported by three special cultural events and a dedicated social media online presence, over the next 12 months.

Funded by the Council, these exclusive events and digital channels are designed to enable individuals and organisations within the grassroots cultural community of Sheffield to stay connected with each other, under the banner of a Culture Forum for the city.

Two Sheffield-based businesses have been appointed on a freelance basis by the Council to support the Culture Forum. Ben Duong, founder of The North marketing agency, is co-ordinating the three events, under the banner of The North Culture Club. While Stella Eleftheriades, director of copywriting and social media specialists, stellamedia, is taking charge of the social media and blogging accounts.

Amy Carter, Head of Arts, Museums and Cultural Promotion at Sheffield City Council says: ‘The three events will be themed around the main objectives of the cultural strategy with the first being ‘Economic Impact’ on 12th May, and will be held in conjunction with the Site Gallery. We will be showcasing a diverse range of Sheffield based creative individuals/businesses that have done some amazing work outside of the city, not just in the UK, but also internationally. For example, Human Studios currently have an exhibition of their work in a gallery in Tokyo; Nick Deakin created an illustration character for a Coca-Cola advertisement; and Forced Entertainment, a theatre performance group, will be going on a European tour from April.’

The other two events are set to take place on 8th September 2011 and 19th January 2012 and will be themed around ‘Excellence’ and ‘Participation’. During the events, follow live tweets on (hashtag) #sheffieldculture.

To join the Culture Forum on Facebook search for ‘Sheffield City of Culture’, to follow on Twitter use @sheffculture and blog posts and further information will be featured on: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/culture.

Listings and notifications of events, workshops and exhibitions can be sent to culture@welcometosheffield.co.uk

Sheffield City Council’s culture strategy is a direct follow-on from Sheffield’s 2010 UK City of Culture bid and is a call to action for the people of the city to get involved and participate in cultural activity.