Burngreave has gone through a transitional change over the last four years, from a drug den, as sensationalised by the media to where it’s all happening. Various initiatives were put in place to address the depravity within the area. Though a highly multicultural area, fear and stereotypical notions divided the community. Events were held for each group separately this was however not effective and was not meeting the objectives that was intended.
Many times national targets are put at the forefront with no results. Over the years, though a slower process gradually it was realised that finding out what the members of the community wanted would be the way forward.
One such person who saw the wisdom in this approach was a community worker in Burngreave, Norah Brown. Quite aware of the cultural differences, yet not deterred by the challenges, she began the long painstaking process of bridging the gap. She engaged with the community showed respect for their views and way of life. A trusting relationship blossomed resulting in that link that is necessary to be able to impart information in a way that they can relate to. The far reaching effect of this approach will long out live the tick the box approach.
Norah Coordinated the ICDH (Introduction to Community Development and Health) course in Burngreave which demonstrated at the end of the 15 weeks women coming forward asking for a health group. This demonstration of initiative is what will in the long run if sustained irradiate depravity within communities where community members become resourceful and self sufficient.
Norah has planted the seed that can if nurtured make Burngreave a sustained community.
Community work is not new to Norah, as she started in 2002-2003 as Advice Worker at the Furnival at Burngreave Mental health where she worked within the community, she then progressed to Sheffield Mental Health Citizen’s Advice Bureau, based at Whittlewood. She worked with individuals who needed support after leaving hospital.
Since 2005 she has worked with the PCT, based at Ivy Lodge Clinic on Rutland Road, this was where she really engaged with the community and loved it. Over the past 5-6 years she has worked in the Burngreave area in one form or another. She has watched Burngrave develop into a brighter and better Burngreave through various New Deal initiatives. She remembers when the Furnival was closed, however the community started using it again, which is now an invaluable resource.
International women’s day she recalls as her most memorable event. Her memory of similar events can’t be compared to the many people from different backgrounds, happy together of close to 350 people present. Her most notable success Burgreave Women’s Health group, an Idea which came from the ICDH course, which was really successful. The idea belongs to the community and has grown from the women within the community. She considers it her pet project and is saddened that she will be leaving it, as it has been the most rewarding.
She has never been detached from the community and people she works with. The most valuable lessons learnt came from people in the community, compared to training she’s been sent on.
“I have huge respect for people I work with and it was reciprocated,” Norah emphasised, “I Loved working in Burngreave and will miss the diversity.”
During the interview emotions of varying degrees were apparent. To summarise Norah wanted to say “Thank you for all support and help received from wide range of people in community and for all the people I didn’t manage to say goodbye to I would like to use this opportunity to do so”. Norah will be moving to Cleethorpes to embark on another phase of her journey. To end she smiled and said, “I’m sure while walking on a Saturday morning I will see about 6 people from Sheffield.”