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Network Hub 5 : Google Maps 0

Last week, I discovered just how many of us rely on Google Maps when we’re getting ourselves from A to B, when our fifth Network Hub – the relaxed, evening business social events I co-organise with Richard Smith Illustration – rolled around again at a newly-opened coffee bistro-cum-bar, Brezza.

To answer the above question: it’s a lot! The first inkling I got that the good folk of Google had their co-ordinates for Brezza slightly astray was when I got my first phone call from my co-organiser, Richard, who’d never visited the venue before. ‘I followed Google Maps and I’m lost!’ After I directed him to the right spot, the texts & calls then started rolling in thick and fast from more confused and disorientated guests, who’d been relying on their virtual maps to get to the bar [which in case you’re wondering is round the back of Henry’s Bar, on Wellington Street, Sheffield.

After lots of apologies on my part [on behalf of Google!] my slightly panicked state subsided as Brezza started filling up with our guests and the chat started flowing just like on our previous nights…

From my twitter feed, here’s a flavour of some of the feedback I received from our guests about the event:

From @TOSSsheffield: Thanks @stellamedia for a lovely evening at #networkhub

From @moorscreative: Good night tonight network hub 5. I can highly recommend. Thanks @stellamedia. See you at the next one.

From @komoonko: Had the most wonderful time at #networkhub lovely inspiring people @stellamedia @missiecindz Jennifer Booth, Stephen Saville, Richard Smith

From @missiecindz: thanks for a lovely evening – it’s always great seeing you and meeting new people. See u at the next #networkhub gathering

To follow Brezza on Twitter click here

One last word relating to the Google Maps mini saga – well done to Patrick Jackson, who successfully found us thanks to writing down address details on a trusty PostIt note.

Sometimes the old ways are still the best ;-)

Electric Works win national Innovation Award

Photo by Tracey Welch: http://www.traceywelch.co.uk/

How much does your environment affect your well-being, both professionally and personally? It’s a question that’s been at the forefront of my mind recently and I’ve concluded the space I’m in, really makes a massive difference to my outlook and frame of mind.

Over the last month, my reasoning about this has been put to the test and proved absolutely right, because I’ve already felt the incredibly positive benefits of working from a new professional base – the dynamic, state-of-the-art hub for creative and digital industries and arguably one of the most prestigious business addresses in Sheffield, Electric Works, at Sheffield Digital Campus.

As a Club Member at Electric Works, I enjoy 24 hour, 7-day access to the open-plan and wonderfully-quirky plug-in-and-work facilities, hot desking Club Lounge, as well as free use of the uber-smart meeting rooms weekday evenings and weekends. It’s a space to work, interact with other creative professionals, meet clients and business associates, all right from the heart of the city.

This week, I was thrilled to hear the news that Electric Works had scooped a coveted accolade, when it was named winner of the British Council for Offices [BCO] national Innovation Award.

It’s the first time this award has been won in Sheffield and the BCO commended Electric Works not only for its impressive architectural designs, but also for its programmes of interaction between its occupiers.

On top of this, the BCO commented on the growth of Sheffield’s creative, digital and technology sectors, praising Electric Works for being at the centre of these developments, and for the wide variety of flexible services it offers to freelancers, sole traders and larger businesses.

Since working here, I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m relishing my new surroundings. So when Electric Works set about promoting their win, I was asked to represent the Club Members in a publicity photo shoot with Tim Cooper, of Team Cooper, also stepping up to the PR plate, as one of the resident businesses here.

Here I am pictured above, in the Coconut Lounge area of the building [I’m second left] with:

Tim Cooper [second right], Toby Hyam, Joint Founder and Managing Director of Creative Space Management, who manage Electric Works, [far right] Paul Taylor, Joint Founder and Managing Director of Creative Space Management [far left], Electric Works Centre Manager, Louise Jamieson [third left] and, from Sheffield City Council, Cllr. Helen Mirfin-Boukouris [third right].

Congratulations EW for your well-deserved win!

To read more about this BCO awards win click here

Or check out the full story on the Electric Works blog here

Putting your heart into networking

Regular readers of my blog, or those who know me in person through the business network circuit in and around South Yorkshire, won’t be surprised to learn I found myself at another opportunity to meet some new professional contacts earlier this month.

What might be an eye-opener though, is that this all-female group not only announced a new name change, but also ended up being lined up for a completely impromptu photo shoot!

Say hello to the Women Inspiring Women group, in the photograph above by Jackie Clitheroe [Yours truly is 8th from the left].

During the meet Carol Denton, fundraiser for South Yorkshire Heart Appeal, also gave an enlightening presentation about her work and the challenges of raising awareness about heart disease in our region, especially amongst women.

Women Inspiring Women [WIW], organised by Jan Roebuck and Kay Jepson, meet the second Thursday of every month, 10am-12.30pm, at Tankersley Manor Hotel.

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