A project funded by The People’s Health Trust and delivered in collaboration with the Fir Vale Community Hub. The aim is to enable collective control where ideas are created and shaped by the local community by involving participants in project design, delivery and development. The project further aims to foster and strengthen social links and ties by giving participants the opportunity to meet regularly and get to know each other. There are 20 community members attending monthly meetings and hosting community events in the Fir Vale area of Sheffield. The project is being delivered over 14 months and will end in February 2023.

By the end of the project, the participants will have achieved the following:

  • 14 monthly community group meetings
  • 6 pop-up engagement events
  • 2 public consultation events
  • 2 newsletters
  • Public ballots for wider consultation

In addition to the 20 regular participants, the project will have reached a further group of 600 people over its lifetime.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Engagement Report

This project and final report arose from an ‘invitation to tender’ from South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) in late 2021 “to devise, manage and run an engagement process across the creative sectors across South Yorkshire and offer recommendations for future areas of priority and action.” 

Central to this work’s purpose is the ambition outlined in SYMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan 2021-2041, which states that “to realise our full potential, we need a transformational programme of investment in our cultural and creative assets.”

A region-wide consultation process was undertaken involving people, groups and organisations working or volunteering within the cultural sector. Currently, the report has been completed and is awaiting final approval and public release by the SYMCA office and we are continuing to meet with staff members to complete this and engage in follow-up work.

It's Our Community

Opus is supporting Citizen Network to research and develop a new progressive vision for social care.  Our core principles are:

  1. Neighbourhood Focused – organised to support foster inclusive and welcoming neighbourhoods where everyone’s contribution is recognised and supported.
  2. People Powered – creating respectful relationships and encouraging peer support and neighbourliness, backed up by responsive professional support
  3. Human Rights Based – giving people who need support freedom, clear entitlements and the ability to participate and contribute in the way that works best for them
  4. Economically Secure – with no means-testing and proper levels of funding to enable full contribution and fair incomes for everyone

The Centre is supporting disabled people, families, community groups to develop this vision in partnership with the City of Sheffield and sharing its learning nationally and globally through Citizen Network.

We’ve held a number of events, recordings are available to watch via the links below:

The first event focused on disabled people:

It’s Our Community Part One 

The second event focused on older people:

It’s Our Community Part Two

The third event focused on young people and families:

It’s Our Community Part Three

After bringing together local and national people to discuss options and share ideas we will produce a summary of our findings and proposals for a progressive approach to social care.

Citizen Hubs

The Citizen Hubs model came about as a response to the development of Local Area Committees in Sheffield. It offers a provocation for how Local Area Committees could more meaningfully “engage, empower [and] enable” local people in the decisions that affect their lives by facilitating flexible democratic engagement practices with smaller population groups. The model believes that through creating common spaces between all stakeholders and citizens in a neighbourhood or ward, where different views can be encountered and where ‘reasonable people are encouraged to reasonably disagree’, we can make inroads into better decision-making, problem-solving, sense-making and community cohesion.

Citizen Hubs is currently in the proposal stage having received positive feedback from VCS leaders, civil society leaders, councillors and council officers. The next step would involve some kind of feasibility work. Unfortunately this work has been hindered by the party-gate issues in Sheffield and we are awaiting the opportunity to recentre it – probably after the development of a wider strategic framework for the city being published by Sheffield City Council.

Self Directed Support Network England

Self-directed support is a way of providing social care support that empowers individuals to have informed choice about how support is provided to them, with a focus on working together to achieve individual outcomes. The Self-Directed Support (SDS) Network England is being delivered by Self Directed Futures, Citizen Network and Opus Independents. It consists of different types of organisations who are leading work in their home country or region on self-directed support. This includes health commissioners, providers, and micro-providers sharing best practice and resources to further develop and expand self-directed support. The SDS Network England is part of the wider SDS Network Europe.

Inclusive Journalism Network

This short-term consultancy project is an exciting opportunity for Opus to support a new organisation in establishing itself. Opus is working with the newly formed Community Interest Company – Inclusive Journalism Cymru (IJC) – to articulate their strategy and vision for the coming years. 

The organisation will work to challenge the status quo in newsrooms and transition them to safe and welcoming places for people from all backgrounds. The IJC will support journalists from communities currently underserved by the media industry, provide examples of best practice and hold employers to account. We are currently working with them to create their theory of change, map outputs and outcomes, determine governance structures and create a budget forecast and membership strategy.