17 December 2021

Made Together; reflections on how we are supporting a greener, healthier, more vibrant and innovative region

Dr Sarah Want and Professor Vanessa Toulmin at the University of Sheffield reflect on 2021 and how despite the year’s challenges the Made Together programme has supported partnerships across the region, creating the opportunity for future impact.

Dr Sarah Want and Professor Vanessa Toulmin

Originally published in the Sheffield Star, 17.12.2021

2021 has been a difficult year for South Yorkshire, we entered the year in our third national lockdown, and found ourselves in an economic plunge not experienced in two centuries, resulting in the GVA of the region decreasing more than the national average. But despite all this, the University of Sheffield working in partnership throughout Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham has created some magical opportunities and benefits for future growth and societal impact. Over the past year, we have talked to people across the whole region about what we can do to make things better, and whether we can join things up across the different areas of South Yorkshire. Through our Made Together programme, which we kicked off at the start of 2021 with the great news of future High Street funding for Sheffield in January 2021, we have demonstrated through resilience and determination what can be achieved whatever the obstacles. 

In April, we were proud to announce a major partnership with partners in Doncaster, setting out a joint ambition to create jobs, training opportunities and innovation facilities for local businesses around the Gateway East project.  In November, we were honoured to be able to announce a partnership with ITM Power, who will become a major anchor tenant on our Innovation District site in Sheffield. We’ll be working with ITM to develop a National Hydrogen Research Innovation and Skills centre, creating more highly skilled jobs and supporting the local supply chain. We’ve been thinking deeply about how we can work with partners across the region to work out how we’ll all need to change the way that we live and work, to become more sustainable. Both of these projects are key elements to a low carbon future - and will help us all to understand new energy sources, or new ways of achieving low carbon flight. In addition, and perhaps closer to all of our lives, we’re working with all four Local Authorities in South Yorkshire and have created a Low Carbon Officers Group - which brings together those responsible in each council team to work with our academics to understand what more we can do to grow our food more sustainably, to plan our transport systems, understand how to most effectively insulate and heat our homes.  There is a lot to think about there, and it’s something that we’ll be working on together for years to come. 

ITMPower event, Made Together

Our cultural industries are a key part of what makes South Yorkshire a great place to live, work and study and through ‘Together in the Square’ and ‘Summer in the Outdoor City’, we partnered with Sheffield Theatres, the Leadmill, Yellow Bus Events and other creative partners to bring animation back to Sheffield City centre. From delivering the 30th anniversary edition of Off the Shelf, to supporting the emotional journey of Little Amal to our City, artists, performers, musicians and actors performed in Tudor Square, the Peace Gardens and throughout the city centre.

3. Surriya Falconer, Prof Vanessa Toulmin, Warda Yassin in Orchard Square credit Timm Cleasby

These are some of our highlights and throughout 2022 this transformation will continue with the Levelling Up projects and Future High Street work just some examples of the projects shaping the urban environment.  The future landscape of our region will start to change and by listening to our partners and the people who are proud to call it home we hope these changes will be for the better.