The conversation has started! It started last week, in fact, on Tuesday 13th January with the launch of the Sheffield Fair City Campaign.
Actually, I guess the conversation really started in January 2013 with the publication of the Sheffield Fairness Commission report. It tells the story of inequality through the 83 bus route. “The bus starts at Millhouses, in Ecclesall ward where female life expectancy is 86.3 years. By the time the bus has travelled down Ecclesall Road and into the city centre, female life expectancy has dropped to 81.6 years, and by the time it makes its way into Burngreave ward just 40 minutes from the start of the journey female life expectancy is only 76.9 years. This means that a baby girl born and who lives her life in one part of the city can expect to live, on average, almost 10 years longer than a similar baby girl born and living her life about four miles away, by virtue of nothing more than the socio-economic circumstances and area she was born in to.” I talked about it in an earlier blog post “It’s not fair”.
Two years on, the commission is still ambitious that Sheffield is becoming and will continue to become a fairer city. But we all have our part to play. It’s not just the strategic decision makers who make this happen. Every one of us must play our part. If this city is going to be fairer, those of us who currently have a lot might in future have to have a little less. Those of us with plenty resources will need to share them with those of us with fewer. We are fellow citizens together in this great city, working together to find solutions in the best interest of us all.
The Sheffield Fair City Campaign has 10 principles:
- Civic responsibility – all residents to contribute to making the city fairer and for all citizens to have a say in how the city works
- Those with the most resources should make the biggest contributions
- The commitment to fairness must be for the long-term
- The commitment to fairness must be across the whole city
- Preventing inequalities is better than trying to cure them
- To be seen to act in a fair way as well as acting fairly
- Those in greatest need should take priority
- An open continuous campaign for fairness in the city
- Fairness must be a matter of balance between different groups, communities and generations in the city
- The city’s commitment to fairness must be both demonstrated and monitored in an annual report
This will truly only work if we are all in it together. It hinges on our collective responsibility to each other. If you live or work in Sheffield, you can join the conversation and get involved. If you think you can sign up to the fairness principles, click on the website and make a fairness pledge. If you want to see this campaign spread throughout the city, you can become a fairness champion. I’ve only been in this city a year, and one of the first things people told me about was the East/West divide. Let’s see what part we can all play in overcoming that divide and making Sheffield a fair city.