Category Archives: Communication Headlines

Rotherham’s Food Sustainability Partnership Wins National Recognition

Rotherham’s food sustainability partnership, Rotherham Food Network, has achieved membership of the Sustainable Food Places network to support their efforts to make local, healthy and sustainable food available to all residents across the borough.

The membership highlights that the Rotherham Food Network is an inspirational example of how local communities, businesses and the Council can work together to make affordable good food a defining characteristic of Rotherham.

The Rotherham Food Network is made up of 16 local organisations and community groups including Rotherham Council, Voluntary Action Rotherham, Rotherfed, Citizen Advice Rotherham, and many more.

Over 60 members have already pledged their time and effort into providing residents advice, guidance and support on how to access healthier, more sustainable foods, as well as combating key issues related to food, including:

• tackling food poverty
• sustainable food growing and distribution such as community orchards
• social supermarkets and community fridges
• healthier eating

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Cllr David Roche, said: “It is fantastic for Rotherham Food Network to be recognised and become a member of the Sustainable Food Places Network. We set out on our sustainable food journey a year ago and being granted membership at this stage is a giant step forward. The partnership work being done by the Rotherham Food Network will really help residents get the most out of their food while driving new projects to help them access healthier, more sustainable food in the future.”

“Being invited to join the Sustainable Food Network will also give us the opportunity to work towards hopefully achieving Bronze status within the network next year.”

Rotherham Federation of Communities’ Chief Executive Officer, Phil Hayes, said: “RotherFed provide money management support and home energy advice and guidance on an outreach basis across Rotherham, primarily in the most deprived communities and including many venues/outlets that provide food support for local people. It’s great that the Rotherham Food Network is to be recognised and become a member of the Sustainable Food Places Network, and I hope that this enables more people who need support the most across Rotherham, access to what’s available through the network.”

Voluntary Action Rotherham’s Director of Services (Infrastructure), David Plumtree, said: “Food is a thread that runs across many themes, so it’s exciting to see the development of the Food Network and a joined-up approach to all things food. We’re pleased to be working in partnership to make sure food is accessible, sustainable and provides opportunity for the community.”

Sustainable Food Places is a network of cross-sector partnerships in towns, cities, boroughs and counties that are using food as a vehicle to drive positive change. With support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund, the Network helps people and places to share challenges, explore practical solutions and develop best practice in all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.
Rotherham Food Network joins a network of over 80 members across the UK.

Tom Andrews, Director of Sustainable Food Places, said: “In over 80 towns and cities across the UK, individuals and organisations have come together to develop a joint vision of the kind of food culture and food system they would like to see and are working together to make that vision a reality. Rotherham Food Network has shown a real ambition to transform things for the better in and we are delighted to be able to support them in achieving their goals.”

The Sustainable Food Places Network works to tackle some of biggest social, economic and environmental issues today, from an epidemic of food poverty and diet related ill-health to the loss of independent high street food businesses and family farms through to climate change, biodiversity loss and food waste.

Further information about the Rotherham Food Network can be found online here

Dementia Friendly Libraries

Wakefield Council has introduced its eighth ‘magic table’ that gives people with dementia or learning difficulties the chance to have fun and to socialise through playing games.

The colourful new addition continues the Council’s commitment to offer a wide range of free services and activities to people living with dementia.

Libraries have also been adapted to make them safe and welcoming to these residents and their carers.

The technology of a ‘magic table’ works by projecting images of colourful objects, such as flowers or spaceships, onto a table. These can be moved around and made larger or smaller by hand movements. This stimulates the body and mind and encourages social interaction.

In May last year, the Council launched a range of dementia friendly services, from social groups to reminiscence boxes that contain a collection of multi-sensory objects, including photographs, smells, and sounds.

These have proved popular, with feedback to say the games and activities have given pleasure to people with memory loss who struggle with concentration but have been able to concentrate on these activities.

Councillor Michael Graham, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport, said: “We are delighted to have yet more available in our libraries. Making our libraries dementia friendly has helped improve the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and we are proud to continue our work in developing more services.”

“Many of our library staff have been trained by the Alzheimer’s Society to be ‘Dementia Friends,’ which means they understand the needs of our customers with dementia.”

The latest magic table is in Featherstone library with funding provided by Featherstone Town Council. Councillor Graham Isherwood, from the Town Council, said: “It is brilliant that residents can now take part in this activity on their doorstep.”

“The magic tables bring enjoyment to the lives of people with moderate to advanced dementia and the people who care for them, but they are also there for anyone to use.”

These tables are also available to book at Sandal, Wakefield One, Normanton, Airedale, Pontefract, Stanley and South Elmsall libraries.

For more information about the district’s libraries visit here.

UK’s Largest Research Streaming Platform Launched

The UK’s biggest research streaming platform has been launched by the University of Sheffield to enable anyone, anywhere to discover and explore its pioneering research.

The University of Sheffield Player, officially launched this week (Monday 30 January 2023), brings together videos, podcasts and digital exhibitions all about University of Sheffield research, which anyone, from anywhere can access at anytime – making the University’s research more accessible than ever before.

From art to artificial intelligence, climate change to cutting-edge medicine, food security to societal issues, there is something on the Player to feed every curiosity.

The unique platform offers a curated library of quality, evidence-based content that showcases the work of Sheffield’s internationally-recognised researchers – who are leaders in their fields, working to tackle many of the problems that affect us all. The Player makes this research accessible, engaging and freely available to all, in one place for the first time.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our vision at the University of Sheffield is to deliver life-enhancing research that not only transforms the lives of our graduates, but shapes the world we live in. A key part of this is sharing our research with people outside of the University – making the breakthroughs our academics achieve accessible to people throughout Sheffield, the South Yorkshire region, the rest of the UK and around the world.”

“By launching the University of Sheffield Player we are making our research more openly available than ever before. It’s bringing our research into one single place that anyone, anywhere can access and explore, which we hope will mean even more people will benefit from the discoveries our academics make every day.”

The Player has been specially designed to be easy to explore and access.

You can start by scrolling through the Homepage to discover featured items on a range of different subjects.

Or, if you are interested in a particular theme or topic, you can take a look at Channels and Categories using dropdown menus at the top of each page. There is a curated selection of videos, podcasts, exhibitions and playlists within the Player’s four Channels: Arts & Culture; Environment & Sustainability; People & Place; and Science & Technology.

To find content relating to more specific topics, you can click on one of the 20+ Category headings in the dropdown menu. The Categories cover everything from Poetry, History and Well-being, to Engineering, Nature and Sustainability.

The Player enables anyone to explore University of Sheffield festivals and playlists, through its Series list. This includes: Highlights from 2021, the Sounds of the Cosmos video series, Festival of the Mind, Off the Shelf Festival of Words and Understanding Society.

Alternatively, a search of the A-Z listings opens up a world of content from Sheffield research such as Age of Love, a light-hearted, sensitive look at sexuality in older age to Zoomshock, a dynamic animated video into the societal effects of remote working.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, added: “The launch of the platform opens up a world of possibilities for us to further develop how we share our research and make a difference to people’s lives. At launch, the Player has over 250 videos, podcasts and exhibitions, but this is just the start – new content will be added every week and we’re looking forward to exploring how we can use it to share our research with the public.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The launch of the University of Sheffield Player marks a key milestone in how the University shares its research with the public. We have long made our research open and accessible, such as through the many different public events our academics take part in throughout each year, the expert commentary they provide to the world’s media and the outreach work they do with schools and groups in our local communities.

“Now the Player brings our public engagement activities together in one place, so that anyone can access it from anywhere at anytime. This provides a platform for our research to reach more people than ever before.”

To start exploring the Player, visit here.

Help Spread The Christmas Cheer Appeal

Rotherham Council is supporting the Rotherham Christmas Toy Appeal to bring festive cheer to families in need across the borough.

The annual campaign by local charity Families First saw more than 2,000 gifts handed out last year to children who may otherwise have not had a present to open on Christmas morning.

This year all of Rotherham’s 15 Libraries will act as collection and drop off points for those who wish to be involved across the borough. In each library a “giving tree” will be displayed where you can collect a tag from one of its branches specifying a particular age (from new-born up to the age of 18) and gender. The present can then be handed into a staff member at your local Rotherham library.

Before Christmas Eve, the gifts will be delivered to families in need so each child will wake up to a present in their stocking or under the tree.

The Council’s Children and Young People’s service work with Families First to identify children to benefit from the campaign.

The appeal is also supported by RB1 Radio, Parkgate Shopping Centre, and Rotherham Advertiser. and was launched by the Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Khan, on Monday 7 November at Parkgate Shopping Centre, which also acts as a collection point.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Victoria Cusworth, said: “The Christmas Toy appeal is a fantastic way that residents across Rotherham can help to support children who otherwise may not get a present this Christmas. To give to the appeal doesn’t need to cost a lot, but the effect it will have on the children part of the appeal is huge. I am proud that our local residents get behind the campaign in such great numbers every year.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Councillor David Sheppard, said: “Christmas can feel very different for children and young people who have experienced difficult times, but with thanks to Families First we are able to help bring the magic of Christmas back as many children will receive a present to unwrap on Christmas morning. I am pleased that our Libraries are able to support the appeal this year and make it easier than ever for people across the borough to donate to such a fantastic cause.”

To find your local library, visit here.

New Community Parks Improvement Strategy To Be Heard

A report highlighting a programme of regeneration projects across the city’s parks will be heard by scrutiny councillors next week.

The parks and open spaces report includes a number of schemes that are already underway, alongside proposals for a range of further improvements.

It will seek approval to move these projects forward, funded by the parks and open spaces assets budget.

One of projects already in development is the Football Foundation’s pitches and pavilion scheme at Bude Park. It has been in development since 2020 with a funding bid decision due imminently, kicking off a programme of works.

A further bid to the Football Foundation has already been submitted for the possible development of Playzones – new or refurbished outdoor mini-pitches designed for football and other activities which will focus on making identified priority groups more active.

The city has also been pre-selected by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to receive up to £85,000 with the aim being to improve the quality of a green space for the community. The chosen site is Alderman Kneeshaw Park.

Further proposals that will be heard include possible new water play schemes at Bude Park and Oak Road, recreation of a running track at Alderman Kneeshaw, access reviews at East and Pickering Parks, restoration of the Pickering Park entrance gateway and ‘pocket parks’, a community-led scheme that aims to transform small unloved and neglected areas into safe useable spaces.

Councillor Julia Connor, Portfolio Holder for Environment said:
“Covid reawakened the public’s interest in our parks and proved just what a valuable asset they are to the city and how much the public need them.”

“Therefore, this programme of investment in our parks is to be welcomed but the revenue consequences and detailed management of the schemes will require careful consideration.” As Portfolio Holder I will keep matters under review.”

Comments of Councillor Paul Drake-Davis, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration said: “Regeneration in our neighbourhoods across Hull is a priority for myself and this administration.”

“This new strategy will for the first time, provide funding for the continual investment into our parks and open spaces that are much loved and greatly treasured by all of our residents.”

The report will be heard first at Communities, Culture and Leisure Scrutiny on Thursday 24 November, then at Cabinet on Monday 28 November.

Arco Partners With Hull And East Yorkshire Children’s University

Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, has partnered with Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University (HEY CU), a local children’s charity that aims to raise the aspirations of young people by building their confidence with unique learning experiences.

As part of the partnership, Arco will provide new branded uniforms for the charity’s 15 volunteer leaders as well as funding for an ‘experience’ session for a class of children in 2022/2023, which will include a visit to a farm, something which most of the children will have never experienced.

They will learn about where their food comes from, as they look at different crops and they will also get to meet some of the resident animals.

In the past, HEY CU has designed a range of exciting and engaging learning experiences intended to stimulate ambition, physical health, historical knowledge, creativity and an understanding of careers for their future.

HEY CU aims to improve the mental wellbeing of children through engaging activities and sessions run by experienced leaders and volunteers. This is particularly important post Covid-19 pandemic, as an online survey, which took place between October 2020 and February 2021, found that 41 per cent of 10-to-11-year-olds and 52 per cent of 16-year-olds felt their mental and emotional health had worsened during the pandemic.

Arco and HEY CU have a history of working together on various projects and initiatives, including hosting educational visits by students from local schools to the company’s National Distribution Centre (NDC), and are now, following the pandemic, looking at new ways for Arco colleagues to volunteer and mentor local children and support Arco’s goal of helping young people to achieve.

Natasha Barley, CEO of Hull & East Yorkshire Children’s University, said: “HEY CU has a long standing relationship with Arco, who have provided us with great support over the years, including experiences at the National Distribution Centre for primary school children who learn about careers at Arco, Arco staff volunteering and fundraising for the charity, donations from the Arco Community Panel to support our work, donations of uniforms for our mini City of Culture reporters in 2017 and more recently for our team at HEY CU.”

“It’s wonderful to have this relationship recognised formally in a partnership and we look forward to working even more closely with the team at Arco to inspire local children to fulfil their potential.”

David Evison, Managing Director at Arco, said: “Helping young people to achieve their full potential is one of Arco’s core objectives when it comes to supporting the communities we operate in.”

“Having worked with HEY CU for a number of years, we are delighted to be supporting them further through the funding of an experience session for a class of children in 2022/2023 and by providing new branded uniforms for their team of experienced volunteer leaders.”

“We are also looking at how our colleagues can help HEY CU through volunteering and mentoring opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic reduced the number of opportunities for our colleagues to volunteer, but with restrictions now eased, we are supporting more of our colleagues to help some great local causes just like the Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University.”

Annual Memorial Service For Road Victims Planned For Hull

Hull’s 22nd annual memorial service for those who have lost their lives on the city’s roads will take place on Sunday.

For more than two decades, the city has held a service for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is marked on the third Sunday of November every year.

The global event remembers the millions killed and seriously injured on roads, as well as acknowledging the suffering of victims, families and communities.

Anyone who has lost someone on the city roads is invited to attend the service and have their loved one’s name added to the Book of Remembrance.

People can also bring photos of loved ones and light a candle of remembrance.

On Sunday (20 November), Hull’s service will return to its traditional home of St Mary’s Church, after being moved to the Guildhall last year and held online in 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Christine Randall, Lord Mayor of Hull, and Councillor Mark Ieronimo, Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Roads and Highways, will be in attendance.

Today, Cllr Ieronimo laid a wreath on behalf of Hull City Council at the memorial stone for road traffic victims outside the Streetlife Museum of Transport.

Cllr Ieronimo said: “Each and every death on our roads a tragedy, which is why we must do all we can to ensure the roads are safe for all who use them.”

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the World Day of Remembrance sends a powerful message to all road users to take more care.”

“I hope families and friends will find comfort in Sunday’s service as they remember their lost loved ones.”

Sunday’s service begins at 2.30pm at St Mary’s Church on Lowgate.

To find out more about the World Day of Remembrance, visit

Johnsons Staff Members Become Mental Health First Aiders

Employees at one of the UK’s largest commercial plant nurseries, Johnsons of Whixley have recently become mental health first-aiders ahead of World Mental Health Day on Monday 10th October.

Dave Barrett and Eleanor Richardson recently completed a two-day mental health course and became mental health first aiders.

Johnsons consider mental health and employee well-being in the workplace a priority, the first aiders will be the go-to contacts for anyone who is going through some form of crisis or mental health issue at work.

All 140 Employees at Johnsons will be encouraged to speak to the mental health first aiders who will then offer a listening ear and assist in informing them of the various agencies and helping advise on the available channels.

Dave and Eleanor are also in talks with the senior management team within the company and hope to make improvements to support their newfound course qualifications they have already implemented a specific email address where employees can contact the mental health first aiders direct.

Just as we all have physical health, we also have mental health. Like physical health, mental health can fluctuate from good to poor. Mental health can affect any of us irrespective of age, personality or background and can be an effect of experiences in our personal and working lives, or there might not even be a reason for it. Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Johnsons retail unit manager and newly trained mental health first aider, Dave Barrett said: “ I think it’s more important than ever to make sure that everyone’s mental health is taken as seriously as their physical health. It became apparent more than ever during lockdown the fragility of everyone’s mental health and the impact this can play on our everyday lives.”

“I wanted to educate myself, so I can understand not only how to care for myself but also for others around me, both at work and at home. The fact that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year shows that people’s need to understand and offer help is so important.”

Johnsons office and marketing manager, Eleanor Richardson added: “Mental health is not one-size-fits-all, it can affect every walk of life at different points in someone’s life, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed of struggling with their mental health.”

“I hope people will feel comfortable coming forward and talking should they want to; Dave and I now have the tools, training and knowledge to actively listen to their situations and to help them.”

“It also made me think about ways in which we can make improvements in the workplace and what else we can do to support our employees – watch this space!”

Ten Minutes To Help Get Rotherham Reading!

As part of Rotherham Loves Reading, a campaign is being launched to encourage residents across the borough to boost their mental health and wellbeing by taking 10 minutes per day to read something of their choice.

Whether you are young or old, an avid reader, new to reading or trying to get back into the habit, everyone can feel the benefits of reading if they regularly take the time for themselves.

Reading books, magazines, blogs, or listening to audiobooks and podcasts can help you to relax and unwind, escape from the pressures of life, and improve your memory, concentration and focus.

Rotherham Council’s Public Health team are working alongside Rotherham Libraries and Rotherham Loves Reading to promote better reading habits for residents and promote what services are available for free across the borough.

With 15 local libraries across the borough and online library resources available from desktop computers, laptops and mobile phones, there are plenty of ways for residents to find a book to sink their teeth into.

A survey by Quick Reads found there are around 16 million lapsed readers in the UK – those who had not read since leaving school or stopped due to illness or a major life event, such as having a child. 42% of these lapsed readers said they had stopped reading due to the lack of time.

With this in mind, the campaign will promote ‘top tips’ to help residents get back into reading, such as reading to their children or older relatives.
Part of the campaign will also focus on providing residents with ideas on how to find time or make time to read. These include taking a book to work to read on their commute or on breaks, reading while taking a bath, or replacing time spent watching TV with reading instead.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Cllr David Roche, said: “Reading is a simple yet effective way for people to unwind after a long day, but it’s not always easy to find time for yourselves. Taking just 10 minutes throughout the day to read can be really effective in helping you to manage your mental health. Studies have shown that those who read regularly feel happier and part of their community more than those who do not read, so take some time for yourself and feel the benefits of reading.”

“The great thing about Take 10 is that it’s about taking time for something you enjoy. If you want to read a page a day or a chapter a day, that’s no problem. Do what’s best for you and feel the benefits with your mental health.”

There will be no age limit to who can get involved in Taking 10 to read, from those who have retired to those who are still working, grandparents to parents to children – everyone can start a positive reading habit.

A report by the National Literacy Trust in 2021 found that children’s enjoyment of reading has increased during the Covid-19 Lockdown, from a 15 year low of 47.8% to 55.9%. In Rotherham a staggering 1,312 children took part in the Rotherham Libraries’ Summer Reading challenge.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Cllr David Sheppard, said: “We have seen so many children and residents get involved with reading throughout the past few years. With so many books, magazines, blogs, audio books, and podcasts out there, it is really easy to feel overwhelmed when you first try to get into reading – even if you are a regular reader, but try not to be disheartened. Our wonderful library staff are always happy to recommend titles to you that suit your tastes, or why not ask your friends and family – you will be surprised how many people are waiting to share their favourites!”

Further information about getting involved in Take 10 or the services available at Rotherham Libraries can be found on the Council’s website here.

Conversational Capacity Can Improve Workplace Communication

When people leave organizations, they often cite poor workplace communication as a top reason for moving on. But in the age of the ‘Great Resignation,’ it is far from the driving factor, according to Craig Weber, founder of The Weber Consulting Group and author of ‘Conversational Capacity.’

Instead, he says individuals are asking more profound questions about life and job satisfaction; those answers rank higher on the ‘reasons to leave’ list. But the exchange of information is the groundwork for nurturing the kind of environment that encourages people to stay.

“Bad communication may not be the big reason they are leaving, but it is the big reason why they might stay,” Weber says.

For Weber, conversational capacity is the key to attracting, retaining and engaging top talent in a way that supports good communication.

“It’s the ability to engage in constructive, learning-focused dialogue about difficult subjects, in challenging circumstances, and across tough boundaries,” he said.

The cost of bad communication
Businesses depend on people working, and communicating effectively is key to that objective. It’s impossible to run meetings, make decisions, manage change, implement strategy, and foster creativity and innovation without good communication.

“So many of these things are dependent on effective communication for it to work,” Weber says. “And yet, often people aren’t paying as much attention to that foundational aspect of it.”

Poor workplace communication can also have costly consequences such as:

  • Lower engagement and trust from staff.
  • Frustrated employees and friction among team members.
  • Reduced profitability and slower growth.
  • Low job satisfaction and high turnover.

    What’s the solution? Increasing conversational capacity.

But what is conversational capacity?

Somewhere in between candor and curiosity lies conversational capacity, and it’s the core skill needed to develop good workplace communication and creating a culture people enjoy, Weber says.

He defines the practice as the ability — of an individual or a team — to have an open, balanced, learning-focused dialogue about tough issues and in challenging circumstances.

“The ability to communicate effectively, even in circumstances that make it difficult, is a foundational competence, and a lot of businesses and many leaders are missing it,” he says.

An individual skilled at conversational capacity makes every conversation “smarter” by being a part of the discussion. That’s not to be confused with intelligence or good intentions — people with low conversational capacity can be brilliant but can be detrimental to the discussion, he added.

Conversational capacity is also critical to teamwork. Those with high levels can succeed even amidst challenges, whereas trivial disagreements can quickly derail teams with low conversational capacity leading to missed deadlines, lower quality decision-making and other costly consequences.

Signs your workplace suffers from poor communication
A breakdown in the quality of conversation is easily observable. If any of these four signs sound familiar, it might suggest your organization has room to improve its workplace communication.

No communication between team members: Weber defines these as undiscussable issues—those topics that are more likely to come up in the hallway than in a meeting.

Ineffective conversations: People may be talking but not effectively or productively.

Behavioural cues: Visible clues can reveal bad communication from leaders to staff. Reactions like retreating from the conversation, backing away from the table, dropping their gaze, pointing fingers, or adopting an aggressive approach are just a few signs an individual or a team is struggling.

Low ROI: “The ability to have this open, balanced dialogue about inherently difficult subjects is essential if you want smart people working smart,” Weber says. “So, the question becomes how do you get access to the smarts you’re paying for, assuming you can get them in the door in the first place.

3 steps you can take today
Improving your conversational capacity takes time and practice. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked and lacking from many departmental, organizational, or leadership development plans.

“Nothing lowers conversational capacity more than the presence of authority, and that is a serious problem for an executive,” he said. “The problem is that employees tend to pull away from it when you sit down. So you have to carry your authority in a way that lifts rather than lowers your team’s ability to bring their A-game.”

Weber offers these three steps for improving your conversational capacity:

1 – Increasing self-awareness to recognize your defensive tendencies that can negatively influence a conversation.

2 – Adopting a mindset that prioritizes learning over emotional reactions.

3 – Developing a skill set of specific behaviors that enable productive high-stakes discussions.

Prioritizing conversational capacity
CEOs tend to focus on running better meetings, managing change and giving good feedback more than the baseline skill of communicating effectively, especially in difficult situations.

Fostering good workplace communication is more than a consideration for understanding how to cultivate a culture people want to stay in. It is the basis for accomplishing an even deeper mission — supporting staff in personal development and having access to the full talents they bring to the table.

“It doesn’t make sense to attract smart people if you can’t access their smarts through open, balanced dialogue,” says Weber. “It’s really important to get access to the smarts you’re paying for through good communication.”