New village officer will boost rural communities

This is an archived press release

Monday 22 June 2009

22 June 2009

New village officer will boost rural communities

Extra support is being given to rural areas of Sheffield to help residents ensure their villages remain vibrant communities.

Sheffield City Council’s new Northern Community Assembly has agreed to fund a part-time village officer who will work with local people to:

  • identify improvements the community would like to see - such as a new playground or car park
  • help them apply for funding to enable the work to take place
  • share good ideas and develop closer links between neighbouring communities.

The work will be carried out in partnership with staff from the Peak District National Park Authority in villages either side of the national park boundary. Sheffield is unique as it is the only British city which has areas within a national park.

Members of the Northern Community Assembly - which covers villages such as Upper Midhope, Midhopestones, Ringinglow, Dungworth, Bradfield, Worrall, Bolsterstone and Ewden - hope the new post will also develop stronger links between the rural and urban parts of Sheffield.

Community assemblies have been given powers to spend their budget on the issues they feel are a priority in the area. This could mean more money for street cleaning or new swings for the local park, and they can also commission new work where someone is needed to get a job done.

Councillor Trevor Bagshaw, who helped establish the Northern Community Assembly and is Sheffield City Council’s member on the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The village officer will draw on the shared experience of other members of the Assembly, who have been involved in community projects ranging from improving facilities in remote areas - to building new village halls.”

He added: “You can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to a city like Sheffield, which has such a diverse mix of both places and people. Community assemblies work on the opposite principal: giving the people at the heart of an issue a voice to change things locally.

“It needs to be remembered that one third of Sheffield is within the Peak District, which is why we need to see through its urban industrial image to develop a serious rural strategy.”

Rural communities face different economic and social issues to urban parts of Sheffield. In recent years many communities have suffered from the loss of village shops, Post Offices and pubs. As well as providing jobs these businesses are often the heart of rural communities.

The village officer, who will be appointed in the early autumn, will work with around 1,000 residents and local businesses from villages covered by the Northern Community Assembly to develop ideas local people have for improving their communities.

Candidates for the post will be expected to have a strong awareness of local countryside issues.

This is an archived press release

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