Sheffield City Council announced their ‘NeighbourGood safe spaces’ scheme at the Local Area Committee on Wednesday 19 October.

The spaces will be welcoming areas for people to get some help or have a friend to chat with.

The head of Local Area Committees, Carl Mullooly, said: “Sheffield City Council is creating a network of Welcome Places badged as ‘NeighbourGood’ which will provide convenient spaces for people to access help or just call in to get warm.”

Held in local venues such as community centres and libraries, the scheme aims to combat the effect of the cost of living crisis and avoid social isolation in the community.

This programme also aims to open up and widen the knowledge of existing venues already offering a place to go and support, when needed.

Carl continued: “We are basing this scheme off the response to the pandemic and how people worked as good neighbours together.

“We dont want to create any stigma about asking for help. We are trying to make sure everyone feels free and able to access support when they need it.”

In partnership with VAS and VCFS organisations, a printed and digitally shareable ‘postcard’ has been produced to share the message, as pictured below.

One side of the postcard produced by the council

However, an anonymous member of the public at the meeting was displeased with the plan and its accessibility.

She said: “Community centres and libraries are only open during the day. I work 9-5. These services won’t help me or others who can’t attend during the day.

“People would rather be at home with their loved ones, with the people they know and they can socialise with, not random people in a hall. How has it come to this?”

Members of the public also identified that the postcard is inaccessible for those without phones or QR scanning technology, which may be a large demographic of the people this scheme is catered for.

In response to these issues, Carl said: “We are trying to offer different alternatives, and we will be taking all of your advice onboard to feedback.

“Not everyone has loved ones they can stay at home and socialise with, and this aims to combat that.”

For those without access to the postcard, ‘NeighbourGood’ stickers will be used to identify venues in the city participating in the Welcome places scheme.

The scheme was rolled out earlier this month, so the public can now keep their eyes out for these safe spaces across Sheffield.

The committee meeting, held in Walkley, consisted of 12 councillors covering four wards, Broomhill and Sharrowvale, Walkley, City, and Hillsborough.