Story Telling // Norton Hammer Creative Agents


I have been working as a Creative Producer at SYPS (Supporting Young People in Sheffield charity) since 2009. It will be really sad to say goodbye to our premises after the last 8 years working here – unfortunately the building we currently rent out our space in is in planning to be demolished and replaced by luxury student accommodation! However, it is hopefully going to be a great opportunity to find a new space which can cater to our young people’s needs even better!

I have a site in mind. I go to the gym a few times a week in Centenary works, which is in a little area called Norton Hammer south of the city centre and connected by a good bus route. After chatting to Will and Katie (the managers of ‘The Fitness Room’) it seems that the rent is really reasonable within the works. I am going to approach their Landlord and see if any spaces are available. The site seems to have a lot of creative and interesting businesses in each of the spaces; activities which our young people would just love to get involved with if they were given the chance, such as bouldering, tool making, print making, etc.


We have had positive feedback so far from Land Aid and the National Lottery with regards to our funding. Our Architect is going to draw up some feasibility plans after developing the brief with our young people, and then hopefully with these we will be granted the first stage of funds to be able to actually buy the plot joined onto the Little London Body Works at the edge of Bryta Works.



I’ve been really struggling with depression and anxiety for what I think has been almost a year now. There were several events that kind of triggered it… I lost my granddad and at the same kind of time all sorts of stuff started happening at school. Anyway, I’ve been going to CBT sessions at SYPS for the last five weeks. My counsellor, Alex, has been helping me to notice distorted thoughts when I have them. I don’t think I’m really improving much yet though – that’s a negative thought! I should be thinking ‘well at least I’m trying to get better now, which is an improvement in itself!’ I’ve also been trying to stretch my comfort zone. I’ve made a list of things I want to do but find really scary, and I’m hopefully going to work my way through it. The idea is, the more you stretch your comfort zone, the bigger it becomes. I do think avoiding stuff makes me feel a lot worse. One of the things on my list is to attend one of the group sessions they have at SYPS. The idea of meeting all of those other people is really freaking me out, but I’m sure I’ll feel glad and proud of myself that I went once I get past that initial scary bit at the start.


I’m going to this creative agency group in Norton Hammer today. There’ll be  a professional photographer there, some of the staff from SYPS, although I’ll only know Alex, and then lots of the other people who have CBT or counselling sessions at the centre. I’m on the bus at the moment. I actually feel sick. The gross musty smell of the bus isn’t helping, but it’s mostly because I’m getting really nervous about this workshop. What if everyone’s really weird? I know I’ve got depression, but I’m imagining loads of people who have mental health problems might just be a bit messed up. I’m also really scared in case I get asked to present ideas to the group or something – that would be awful.

I’m about twenty minutes early so I’ve been wandering around up and down Little London Road for a bit, trying to kill time. I don’t want to be the first one there and be stood there looking really awkward when people arrive. Or it might just be the photographer there at the moment or something, and then I’d have to stand and talk to him on my own. I feel like I’m avoiding what I’m scared of instead of just tackling it now, which is making me feel bad. It smells really strong of car fumes along this road, it’s horrible.


I shouldn’t have been as nervous as I was about going to the group. It was quite good really, although I was really self-conscious for a lot of it because I had B.O. – I don’t know if anybody else could smell it. Everyone was really nice and normal and I actually feel really bad now for thinking everyone was going to be strange because they have mental health problems. I guess it’s easy to forget that depression’s actually just really common and anyone can have it, because nobody really talks about it. We all started by introducing ourselves to each other in the cafe of the climbing works, and then the photographer gave us some tips and showed us basically how to use these big cameras. Most people already knew each other from the other workshops they’d been to, but there was one guy called Darryl I spoke to quite a bit who didn’t know anybody else either. I’d actually been on the same bus as him! Next we had a tour around the existing site, and then we split into pairs and all had a go at taking photos on these proper DSLR cameras. I was with Darryl. We all did some sketches of any bits of the building or views out of it that we liked. I’m rubbish at drawing so I tried not to let anyone see what I’d done! Some people’s sketches were absolutely amazing! We’re having all our photos printed out, and then we’re meeting again next week to make prints from our photos which we’re going to give as one of the rewards on our crowd funding page.



We had a group meeting about the new site with the young people – our Architect helped to lead this.  We all had a go at making models of what we wanted our new space to look like. The kids had loads of brilliant ideas, not all realistic, but it was a really fun session. Everybody’s really excited about the plot being right next to the river and there have been lots of suggestions of bridges and new outdoor spaces. It might be tricky to achieve everything we really want in the budget. I’m going to start a crowd funding page for the project within the next few weeks. I need to organise what awards we will have on the crowd funding page first of all. Ryan at Bird and Bee has kindly offered to help the group to produce some illustration prints for it which will be great. The interest shown by some of the tenants on the rest of the site has been amazing. We’ve had a few people offering to help out. Sam at the climbing works let us use their cafe space for the first creative agents meeting. Others have actually offered to help run workshops, and HK interiors have even said they will help with the fit-out of the new space when we get to that stage.



The builders have started on the new centre. Once they’ve done all the structural stuff I think we’re going to get to have a go at doing more woodwork and stuff like that for the fit-out, which will be really fun! Yesterday we did a workshop where we made templates from corrugated cardboard for these chairs that you fill with soil and then turf over. We did a poetry workshop last month where we wrote poems about things that make us feel happy, and Sarah wrote hers about the smell of cut grass in summer so the chair idea kind of came from that because you can sit in them and your head is closer to the grass than if you sit on a normal bench. The idea’s not completely our own as it had been done before on google, but we made up our own crazy shaped seats and put them together outside in the sun which was really nice. We’ve had to make them in a different area to the main drop-in centre because that’s a building site at the moment. I’m really excited to see the building get finished, although I’ll be sad for this project to be over. We get to do so many different creative things, it’s so good! I’ve always thought I wasn’t very creative because I’m crap at art (and most other school subjects), but actually I’ve been quite good at some of the stuff we’ve done! I definitely want to carry on doing the wood work workshops after it’s over.

I get my dreaded GCSE results next week. School just really isn’t for me so I haven’t applied to go into the 6th form. I’m waiting to hear back from Phil at Robert Sorby actually, about a job as an apprentice!



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