Creative Lives On Air are delighted to be working in partnership with BBC Radio Sheffield. John Offord has joined us to support community engagement across the Place Where We Belong initiative and Jennifer Vernon Edwards is shining a light on grassroot creative activity across the region. 

What comes to your mind when you think of the Sheffield Manor? Let Jennifer tell you what she has recently found there - an inspiring group of creative writers called 'Wild Women' who joined the Forget-Me-Nots singing group run by Sheffield's Manor and Castle Development Trusts. Her interview was aired during Paulette Edwards' show on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Listen via BBC Sounds [from 2h15m]

Our favourite quote from one of the 'Wild Women' member:

I thought I couldn't do it [creative writing] but I surprised myself.

Picture of a person

For Creativity and Wellbeing Week, Jennifer and BBC Radio Sheffield Presenters aired a rich programme dedicated to the benefits and joy of getting creative outdoors and with others to health and wellbeing. In case you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to some of the radio shows via BBC Sounds, including a selection of pieces on:

In late April, Jennifer visited Andrea - an amazing craft enthusiast to learn about her story and share it with radio listeners. Andrea truly believes that anyone can do anything creative. She shared her craft story in two episodes of the Creative Lives On Air at BBC Radio Sheffield.  

You can listen to the first part of the interview right here (via BBC Sounds), right now! (story begins at 2h21min into the show)

Here are some of our favourite snippets:

"A lot of the sewing we did in my family was by necessity because we were quite poor. We used to make bin bag frogs and we'd use old winter coats and make teddy bears out of them."

For me, craft is an escape route. For my mental health I need it.

We're quite a neurodiverse family and I think, in some ways, craft speaks to us massively. 

"My son and my partner both play music, my partner has always done woodwork, leather work, my son is a brilliant musician, he's always loved writing and drawing so I think craft for us has been really good in dealing with anxieties, for me, depression and for my daughter, to be able to just go off and paint a little bit in her room, it gives that outlet and a bit of a headspace." 

"I had the idea that we should have a play group for adults to come together and make something even if they make a mess. Play I think is essential to everybody."

Listen to the second part of Andrea's interview here (via BBC Sounds) starting from 2h15min. 

Andrea talked about crafting as a tool for community building and shared useful some tips on DIY botanical printing (discovered by her and her family by accident). 

I don't even know what I'm making, but the process is so lovely! I'm not formally trained in any of these things, everybody can do it.

I do love crafting with other people as an act of sharing, companionship and love and laughter.

Ahead of the International Romani (Roma) Day, Jennifer visited a kids dance class in the heart of Romani Sheffield, in Wincobank. Her exploration reveals the importance of dance to the local community's identity and cohesion and a great testimony to the power of dance. The participants' enthusiasm is so contagious and it transcends the audio medium, so have a listen now via BBC Sounds [from 2h12m].

Lots of energy, lots of energy and I love it!

When Jennifer asked some of the boys what advice they would give to someone who has never danced before and would like to try it out, they said:

Go with your guts! Be brave!

Creative food waste handling

In 2022, Creative Lives Producer, Jennifer Edward-Vernon, continues her series of audio interviews with community groups that are keeping busy getting creative across Sheffield. In January, she visited Sheffield's Social Pickle: Glut Club - a fairly new project exploring creative ways of dealing with food waste/surplus food whilst tackling social isolation.

Our favourite quotes from this interview are: 

Lucy, project coordinator:

We really want to have that social element of bringing people together no matter where they've come from or what their experience and knowledge is.

Project participant:

It is a very inclusive, not scary or intimidating. I came to get out of the house, to see other people and do something different.

Listen to the full audio piece via BBC Sounds (from 2h:14m).

In early February, Jennifer met the volunteers at the Sheaf Community Bakery. We hear from Johnny Feltmann from Tower of Bagel, a founding member of this team of volunteer bakers who supply their local food bank with fresh bread.

Listen to her full audio piece via BBC Sounds (from 2h11m).

Art for Wellbeing

Jennifer Vernon-Edwards and Art for Wellbeing Group

Ahead of the 2021 World Mental Health Day, Jennifer visited the Art for Wellbeing group to discover some of the members' stories. She also chatted with Ali Bird the local therapeutic artist who runs the group. The audio piece below was aired on 13 October during the Mid Morning show on BBC Radio Sheffield hosted by Paulette Edwards. Take a listen!

Creative Lives On Air - Art for Wellbeing group interview on BBC Radio Sheffield

I've never done any art before. I came here and started painting and I just loved it!

- participant in the Art for Wellbeing group

A Place Where We Belong

In the autumn of 2021, BBC Radio Sheffield ran an initiative to shine a light on “a place where you belong” across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

As part of this project, we invited anyone living in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire to join a series of creative workshops that took place between 24 October and 13 November 2021. Participants had some fun and gained new skills. 

  • Free Fashion taster workshop at Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 4QZ on 9th November, 2021 from 5-7pm
  • Free Dance taster workshop at Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 4QZ on the 24th October, 2021 from 1-3pm.
  • Free Spoken word taster workshop x 2 at Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 4QZ on the 1st & 13th November, 2021 from 1-3pm
  • Free Drama & Creative Writing taster workshop at Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 4QZ on the 6th November from 1-3pm
All the workshops are delivered in partnership with BBC Radio Sheffield and were held at Theatre Deli Sheffield

Take a listen 

Listen to find out more about this opportunity from Creative Lives Producer, John Offord, on air during Toby Foster's Breakfast show on BBC Radio Sheffield.