HEADLINE INFO and STATS for the ‘Heart of Sharrow’ scheme


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Avenues to Zero is a social enterprise, connected to and supported at the grassroots level by local residents, groups, initiatives and organisations. The project is supported by and has been worked on with some of the city’s biggest and most well-respected companies, and has secured full funding for the scheme. In addition to the following economic and social benefits AtoZ has made an offer to Sheffield City Council to buy the property/site for £500,000.

Avenues to Zero is different from a traditional build-sell-move on model of development and the CIC (Community Interest Company) will be managing the site after completion, integrating and enabling the social and economic impact and contribution the site and all its activities can have to Sharrow and the wider city. For the duration of the whole 250 year lease, all surplus generated will go into the Heart of Sharrow Community Fund, which will be spent and distributed locally.

Accessible to all - Multi-generational, mixed-ability living for 200+ people, all sold / rented on a buy-to-live basis (no buy-to-lets or houses of multiple occupancy), with around 150+ residents living in co-living homes which create an environment that inspires and empowers its inhabitants to be active creators and participants in the world around them.

Affordable housing - Over 50 genuinely affordable 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 bedroom apartments, half for sale, half for rent. Sat either side of the renovated Old Highfield Special School (formerly the HUBS), which will become a communal living space for residents, housing shared cooking and dining facilities, space to relax and play, and an on-site laundry, gym and cinema.

ShipShape Health and Wellbeing services - The Heart of Sharrow scheme will ensure the continuation of the absolutely vital health and wellbeing services and support that ShipShape provides to 2,300 local residents each year with a new, purpose built space. Their work will also be connected to and integrated into other activities on site and in the surrounding areas to further boost the impact to the whole community.

Economic Impacts - Over the next 20 years, through all of its start-up and enterprise support and resulting economic activity, the Heart of Sharrow project will create over 500 businesses and 3,300 jobs, contribute over £32 million to the Sheffield Economy, and generate over £14 million of business rates contributions. In addition, the contributions from business rates and council tax from the site itself will be around £350,000 a year, as well as around £23.5 million in fees and 200 Full Time 1 Year Equivalent construction jobs created over building phases of the project. There will be increasing economic benefits for the area and the city over the lifetime of the remaining 230 year lease after this.

Not for Profit - Surplus revenue generated from the scheme will go into the ‘Heart of Sharrow Community Fund’, which will be accessible to local residents of the site and surrounding communities in the form of grants or low-to-zero interest loans. The grants and loan decisions will be decided and allocated by residents of the local area forming a Heart of Sharrow Community Board (comprising residents and neighbours of Heart of Sharrow).

Residents Social Contracts - Every resident will have a social contract with the project to contribute 2 hours a week to the Heart of Sharrow; providing 9 full time equivalent (FTE) worth of community resources to help and support local projects, start-ups and local residents. This will help foster community cohesion and a real sense of pride and place for the surrounding areas: a real opportunity to create a genuine, multicultural hub of activities, ideas and enterprise that is fully integrated into everyone's, everyday life.

Main House - Will be restored and renovated, providing 2 / 3 / 4 bedroom apartments and a top-floor hot-desk and fixed-desk Co-working space with lecture theatre, allowing everyone to experience the near-panoramic views from this glorious heritage asset. The cellars will be regenerated into labs and a grand entrance to the underground FabLab space.

Cutting-edge FabLab - Glass-roofed, 2,000+ sq ft workshop, with membership access to machinery usually found only in University or professional Research & Design  Labs, that will allow everyone to make, learn, and batch-produce items, enabling them to grow and run businesses. Designed on the Factory 2050 ‘reconfigurable’ model, machinery and resources can be changed depending on user needs and as technology evolves over time. All surrounded by a 50 ‘fixed desk’ co-working space, training rooms and 5 rentable office spaces.

Skills and Training - Wrap around start-up and enterprise support, open-to-all skills training and multi-generational and -cultural knowledge sharing sessions to help people learn, build and grow ideas, careers, start business, enterprises, charities and community project will be provided by local experts, SMEs, individuals, employees and community volunteers (including 9 FTE above).

3 Events Spaces - 60 seater Lecture Theatre, 150 seater double-height events space in the old Stable block and 350 seater Venue Park with pop-up Concert Hall. All 3 spaces will host regular community-led events such as Teenage Markets, Souks and Bazaars, Fun Days, Ice-Skating, Community Theatre, Friendship Groups, Community Dinners, and Play Days. Activities will be subsidised by paid and commercial events.

Live-Shop Units - 11 short-term lease, Co-Live / Retail spaces situated on the widened and improved cut-through between Mount Pleasant Road and Sitwell Road will provide affordable opportunities for people to start and test retail ideas. By living behind a small shop-front space, with incubation, peer and acceleration support for no more than the cost of a city centre apartment, the Heart of Sharrow will provide de-risked ways for people to develop their businesses and build customer bases, greatly increasing their chances of future success. After 6-12 months they will go on to take space along London Road, Abbeydale Road, in the city centre and in other areas of the city.

Independent Retail Block - There will be 5 retails units with views across Mount Pleasant Park, providing an opportunity for local business to expand or to add follow-on space for maturing start-ups that have been supported in the Live-Shop units. Above these will be two floors of flats, one floor for sale, the other for rent.

Grounds - The whole Mount Pleasant site is almost a hectare in size and using above-ground and vertical surfaces the scheme aims to create (almost) a hectare of planting and greenery.

Increasing foot-fall - Through the clever design of the site and its amenities the Heart of Sharrow scheme will increase footfall to local shops, restaurants and businesses on London Road and Abbeydale Road by hundreds per day.  Increased footfall and greater public presence will also help to reduce antisocial behaviour issues in Mount Pleasant Park.

Jonny Douglas