Leroy can’t think of any corner of Burngreave that he’s not lived on – Brunswick, Andover, Earldom; a man who has overcome the territorialism of S3 and S4 – and he’s even worked in Sheffield 5! From Burngreave School to Pye Bank School and to Herries School (which saw the end of Leroy’s career in schools when he was barely 13). So what explains the commitment of one local Burngreave man who made his way from an early departure from formal education to be now the leading community engagement worker with New Deal?
By the time he’s moved on from sound systems, he found himself working with youngsters for Sheffield United, and then the Council’s Sports & Community Rec team… This took him to Verdon Street where Leroy was instrumental in rescuing the centre for under-use by local people. After two years, he moved onto moving away – but not far, only onto the Flower estate where his work with Flower Estate Family Action project led to Rathbones charity moving in and helping fund a local development project. So when Leroy came back “home” in 2004, he had a wealth of experience behind him which he has since diligently used to help the revival of Burngreave.
On top of his involvement – some very visible, some behind the scenes – with New Deal, maybe his one lasting success and achievement is to make the annual Bonfire Night event such a local event – to rival the Abbeyfield Festival…? Again, large crowds from all parts of this community, bringing people together with no trouble, no claims and no injuries!
Burngreave has changed in Leroy’s view really successfully over the last ten years. It’s become much more stable and some of the wilder elements have gone. The growth and influence of local Muslim communities has led to a different feel and maybe a more disciplined approach to life. This isn’t the result of New Deal investment, or Leroy’s role at New Deal – but it takes someone of Leroy’s insight to make these observations. A man who has started from here – travelled around – and has come back to make his mark; congratulations Leroy.