John, Ant, Will, Mona and Ange explore fairness

John I’m John. I’ve been volunteering here for more than five years now, since it opened.

Ant My name’s Anthony Stevens. I’m originally from Birmingham, and I’ve moved to Sheffield to be a youth worker.

Will I’ve got three kids. We go to Byron Wood School and I do cubs and scouts.

Mona My name’s Mona Yusuf. I live in the area, but I also work in the area as well.

Ange I’m Ange. I’ve been here for three years and I come in as and when I’m needed.

Do you think Sheffield is a fair place to live?

Will By and large, yeah, I do.

Ant Hand on heart, honest answer – I don’t think it is. You can see a clear divide.

Mona When it comes to areas, I don’t think it’s fair at all. You can see the transformation from one area to another.

Ange Nowhere’s fair, because you’ve got the rich and poor divide the country over, so no city’s going to be a fair place to live.

Are you aware of any inequality in the city?

Ant You can see that there’s distinct groups within those smaller areas as well, which can be segregations, which can be separate groups.

What do you think causes inequality?

Mona One of the common answers that would be given these days is to do with the funding, to do with the deficit, to do with what local authorities can provide and what they can’t. Basically, it’s about money.

On average, a girl born in Ecclesall will live around ten years longer than in one born in Burngreave. Were you aware of this and do you have any idea why?

Ange It’s got to be a financial implication, hasn’t it? It’s got to be a rich-poor divide implication. People that can’t use the NHS or don’t know enough about it, because they live over here, because they’re failed asylum seekers. And asylum seekers have a lot of health problems that go along with coming to another country, having struggled to even get here in the first place.

John There are a lot of residential care homes in Burngreave. It’s probably got the highest actually in the city, particularly people with learning difficulties and health problems, which may account for the low life expectancy, partly.

Who do you think is treated most unfairly in Sheffield?

Ant With my youth worker hat on, I kind of want to say the poorer areas. But I think when you are a city it’s good to actually show that you are an equal, together place, fighting for the whole city to be a great place.

Mona I think it’s this side of Sheffield, rather than that side of it, so it’s kind of a big division really. Especially when you’re on that bus – 88 and 83. You can see the transformation from that side to this side.

The national average for unemployment is 7-8% for adults. In Sheffield that figure is 10% and 25% of 16-24 year olds are also unemployed.

Ange My son’s 18. He’s just looking for work and finding it really difficult to find anything. He’s thinking of going back to college next year.

Will There is a problem, I think, in Sheffield, for jobs that once would’ve been taken up by big employers. They seem to have disappeared a little bit from the scene. There isn’t a big steel works anymore. The two big employers now are the universities and I don’t think they’ve got many opportunities for young people to work there, really. I think there is a problem because I don’t think there is... There’s nothing able to fill that hole on a big enough scale.

John Because of my redundancy I was involved in working in a training scheme for people who were unemployed, so I saw a lot of people. A lot of them were from the steel industry, of course...

Ange Yeah. Thatcher, again. Tories.

John ...A few years ago, they lost those jobs and you think, ‘That’s the only skill I’ve got. Well, what else can I do?’

There are around 50,000 adult carers in Sheffield and at least 2,000 carers under the age of 16.

Ant I had my eyes opened in a previous job to the amount of young carers there are. It’s absolutely fascinating, the work that they do. I knew a young person in a previous job whose mother had ME, so she had to do a lot of help around the house. She did an absolutely fantastic job. Absolute shining star, and such a good role model to other young people around her. I’d like to know how many of them are getting good support, or if they feel they’re getting good support from services.

Whose responsibility is it to deal with issues of inequality?

Ange I think people need to get off their backsides and get out on the street and protest and make themselves known.

Mona As always, the locals need to approach those who are responsible – basically, the local authority. They have the budget. If they say, ‘No, we haven’t got it anymore, and we’re going to take away some more’... That is just really sad. Who else are we going to ask? There isn’t anyone else that we can ask.

What is fairness?

Will I think it’s about opportunities. I think you can’t be fairer than giving everybody the same sort of opportunities. And in Sheffield, I think by and large that tends to happen.

Mona Equality. It has to be equal. When one side is getting some, and the other side’s not even getting a quarter, it’s not fair. It’s not fair.

When one side is getting some, and the other side’s not even getting a quarter, it’s not fair.

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