Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 39 March 2004


by Mark Lankshear

Rose Ardron arrived in Burngreave in the 70s with a group of builders, helping fit indoor toilets, insulation and rewiring homes. From those early days of direct action she always wanted to find somewhere useful to put her energies. As a founder member of BCAF and the Sheffield Women’s Forum she has gone on to become the Community Chair of the New Deal Partnership Board.

So how did you get involved in trying to improve the area?
“In those days we just got on with it, like pushing prams in fancy dress to fund raise for the Adventure Playground. I trained as a joiner and I ended up co-ordinating women’s training in Worksop. We provided a nursery and transport, the kind of positive action that’s still needed if we’re going to get women involved in the improvements in our area.”

How did you get involved in the New Deal?
“When New Deal arrived it was like a tidal wave. It brought lots of benefits but didn’t really build on what was already here. I thought that instead of pressing for change from the outside I should get my hands dirty. It’ll never be everything we hoped, but the challenge is ‘How do we make the best of it?’”

How do you feel the New Deal is going?
“We’re getting a reputation as a New Deal who’s got its act together. There are excellent Community Reps and I’m proud we won the battle to keep a community Chair so the leadership stays in community hands. After the pain of the first few years we’ve got a good run at the middle chunk. Things are starting to happen like the Learning Campaign, the Neighbourhood Wardens and improvements to Spital Hill.”

Do you think you can make a difference?
“It can be so slow and frustrating. You have to choose what you want to change and keep at it, you can’t get disheartened. The Community reps work hard together and we try and make sure that the maximum benefit comes to the local community.”

What are the issues for women in Burngreave now?
“I helped organise a women’s day recently, it was very hands on, just like the old days. The issues raised weren’t surprising, more childcare and ‘out of school’ activities, crime and safety, cleaning up and improving facilities, more education and jobs, more respect for individuals and our cultural wealth. It’s great to see the South Yorkshire Women’s Development Trust working in the area with their ‘Women in Front’ course on confidence and leadership skills, which is oversubscribed.”


Rose Ardron, Community Chair of the New Deal Partnership Board.

Copyright © Richard Hanson   

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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.