Seven Community Stewards are working out in communities across Sheffield each day providing support to residents and handling their questions about the highways improvement programme in their area.
The group of stewards, who are each responsible for a different area of Sheffield, hold drop in sessions and handle reactive enquiries where work to improve the roads and pavements may have an effect on local people and businesses.
Since the start of the works programme in 2012, the stewards have played a vital role in being the face to face contact for the Streets Ahead programme and have built good working relationships with people across the city.
Andrew Staniforth, Community Steward for Amey, working in the east area of Sheffield, said: “It’s an interesting and varied role. Every day is different and, with many elements to the programme, we have to be prepared for a whole host of questions.
“Over the years, we’ve got to know many residents and businesses that have a vested interest in the work that’s going on across the city. In just over five years around 65% of the roads have been resurfaced and 68,000 new LED street lights have been installed, which has, unsurprisingly, prompted numerous queries along the way.”
The role of the Community Stewards is to be the link between local people, operational teams and the council about the programme of improvement works.
Natalie Marriott, Community Steward for the south of the city told how it can be a matter of life and death for those who need medicines and medical equipment. She said: “One particular customer query that stands out is ensuring a customer received delivery of their essential medical equipment and medicine which they depended on during road resurfacing in their area. The on-site teams were fantastic ensuring the delivery vehicles got through and the customer was very appreciative. Whilst road resurfacing is all in a day’s work for us, it can be quite worrying for residents who depend on medicines and it’s great to know that we can help to ease their concerns.”
Natalie, who progressed to the stewarding role following completion of her apprenticeship with Amey Plc, added: “For me the highlight of the role is meeting so many different people and being able to be their first point of contact for any issues on the ground. There’s a real sense of accomplishment when problems are rectified because of a customer query or comment. It shows that the process and our job is working.”
The team have received compliments over the years, praising the work the stewards have done to keep them informed. Feedback received from residents who live on Abbey Lane demonstrates the appreciation that many people have of the local Community Stewards:
They said: “May I thank you for the excellent and very informative visit by the Streets Ahead team via your roadshow this afternoon. I would like to pass on my wife and my own appreciation for the extremely courteous and very informative way in which one of your team members described the plan you intend carrying out. Her patience in explaining the programme was most helpful and has made the schedule of works much clearer.”
With a large percentage of the resurfacing works already completed in the first five years of the programme, the stewards will continue having a regular presence in Sheffield communities to ensure support is available in areas where work is still ongoing.
Councillor Lewis Dagnall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene, said: “The views of residents and local businesses are extremely important to us and the drop-in sessions are a great way for people to find out more about the highways improvements taking place in their area and to ask any questions they may have.
“The presence of Community Stewards supports the Council’s commitment to openness and transparency in our Streets Ahead work, and keeping the people of Sheffield well-informed about our programme of works continues to be a high priority.
“To help us address any issues we need to understand people’s concerns. I would encourage anyone who has questions to go along to their local drop-in session, or to get in touch with the contact centre so that we can continue to support residents throughout the ongoing works.”
As part of the 25-year contract between the Council and Amey, the programme will enable the essential upgrade of the city’s roads and pavements.
The next drop-in sessions with the Streets Ahead Community Stewards are as follows:
Southey, Firth Park, Burngreave, Shiregreen and Brightside wards
Monday 10th September at Burngreave Library
Monday 17th September at Parson Cross Library
Monday 24th September at Firth Park Library
All from 11.30am – 12.30 pm
Broomhill & Sharrow Vale, City, Hillsborough or Walkley wards
Every Wednesday at FirstPoint@Hillsborough, Unit 7, Hillsborough Barrack shopping mall on Langsett Road
Every Tuesday at Zest Community Centre, 18 Upperthorpe
All from 11am to 12.30pm
Manor Castle, Darnall, Park & Arbourthorne or Richmond wards
Every Tuesday at Darnall Library
Every Wednesday at Manor Library
Each at 11.30am to 12.30pm
Every Wednesday at Park Community Action Centre
From 1.30pm to 2.30pm
East Ecclesfield, Stannington, Stocksbridge & Upper Don and West Ecclesfield wards
Thursday 13th September at Chapeltown Library
Thursday 20th September at Reserved Café Bistro, Stannington Park
From 11am to 12 noon
Thursday 27th September at Stocksbridge Library
From 2pm to 3pm
Gleadless Valley, Beauchief & Greenhill, Nether Edge & Sharrow and Graves Park wards
Every Tuesday at Woodseats Library from 11am to 12 noon
Beighton, Birley, Mosborough and Woodhouse wards
Monday 10th September at Gleadless Library
Monday 17th September at Crystal Peaks Housing Office
Monday 24th September at Gleadless Library
All from 11am to 1pm
Crookes, Ecclesall, Dore & Totley and Fulwood wards
Wednesday 12th September at Ecclesall Library from 10.30am to 11.30am.
People who are unable to attend a local drop-in session can discuss any issues or queries through calling 0114 273 4567 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.