Tag Archives: Rotherham Town Centre

Local arts organisation seeking artists to fill studios

The Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance is located at Corporation Street in Rotherham Town Centre.

A local arts organisation is seeking artists to fill spaces in their new studios, which will open in late 2011.

The Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance [ROAR], which was founded by professional artists in 2003, are currently refurbishing the second floor of the Westgate Chambers Building, after receiving a grant from the People’s Millions Big Lottery Fund in November 2010.

They qualified for the Bonus Award of £50,000, after securing the position of the highest voted runner-up in the People’s Millions contest.

The award enabled funding for their Artists’ Studios and Community Art Space, which will convert the top floor complex of Westgate Chambers into studios and community resource spaces.

Raising artists’ profile

Work on the refurbished building started in March – which is expected to be completed in November – and applications are now open for artists, who are wishing to rent any of the six art studios in the building.

“We wish to raise the profile of the project and let artists out there know that studio spaces are available for the first time, we believe, in Rotherham Town Centre,” said Karen Sherwood, the CEO of ROAR.

“Although the studios are currently almost all taken, we will, of course, need to create a waiting list as artists change their minds, have a change of circumstances [or] might leave and we want to make sure this is a fully sustainable project with a coherent business model.

“We are looking for this development to be home to the creative practitioners that need it.

“We, therefore, expect that it will be occupied and used by artists working across all disciplines [including] visual arts, performing arts, musicians, poets, circus artists, creative writers [and] dancers.”

Lots of excitement

The building will also include a reception area, shared kitchen, broadband WiFi and individual electric supply, and there will be the opportunity for the artists’ work to be exhibited.

Ms Sherwood said that there has already been interest in the available studios and a number of core tenants have been confirmed.

She explained: “[There’s been] lots of excitement in the artistic community mixed with a degree of scepticism, as one might expect, [and] with many high hopes that this may just be the catalyst needed to re-invigorate and re-ignite interest in and passion for the arts across all its forms.

“ROAR will use this development as a base for its operations [and] as an arts development agency.

“If ROAR works successfully as an arts development agency, then it will be there to nurture and develop existing talent – not just for those working in the building, but for anyone working in the arts anywhere in the Rotherham borough.

“ROAR believes that the arts can and do have economic and social benefits for the wider community, and that the arts should play a vital role in the regeneration of Rotherham.

“ROAR knows [that] plenty of talent exists in Rotherham and wants all those talented people to understand that you do not have to leave Rotherham to become and remain successful.

“Support where it is needed is what ROAR aims to achieve.”

The rental rate per annum for artists’ studio spaces is expected to be around £6 per square foot, inclusive of rates, and the deadline for applications is on Sunday 28 August.

For further information on the project, contact Ms Sherwood on karen@rotherhamroar.org or 01709 252535.

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This news story was self-published in August 2011.

Mental health charity aims to raise awareness of bullying

Rotherham Mind hope to raise awareness of bullying. Image courtesy of Pimkie via Flickr.

A mental health charity has announced a number of courses that will improve understanding of targeted bullying in Rotherham.

Rotherham Mind, based at 101 Effingham Street in Rotherham Town Centre, has launched a series of ‘Understanding Targeted Bullying’ courses – which will raise awareness of homophobic, racist and disability-related bullying.

“Positive mental health”

The charity, who are part of the national Mind charity, have developed the sessions in response to proactive work by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in developing robust anti-bullying standards.

These day-long courses will be held on Tuesday 1 November 2011 and Tuesday 7 February 2012 from 9.30am to 4pm.

Nikki Ellen, Rotherham Mind’s Mental Health Trainer, said: “To the best of our knowledge, there are no other local Mind Associations in the country who delivers a similarly comprehensive training programme about young people’s mental health issues.

“Our courses are of direct benefit to the staff who attend because they provide a range of strategies for how to combat each of these types of bullying, are delivered by a teacher who has firsthand experience of dealing with the reality of these different types of bullying and it also raises delegates’ awareness of the prevalence and mental health consequences of each type of bullying.

“Positive mental health is the foundation for achievement at school and work – and also for happy, successful relationships.

“Bullying – through the fear, anxiety and isolation it causes – has a detrimental cost to both the individual and wider society.”

Reducing homophobic bullying

The courses are aimed at frontline professionals who are working with children that are being bullied and Rotherham Mind are aiming to address these issues by discussing strategies that will combat bullying.

The course was influenced by Stonewall’s 2007 report into the reality of school life where, for the majority of LGBT students, homophobic bullying is the second most prevalent form of bullying, after weight-related bullying.

Rotherham Mind are also holding an additional short course about homophobic bullying on Tuesday 20 March 2012 from 4pm to 5.30pm.

“Most teachers have received no or minimal training on how to deal with homophobic bullying or how to address the high incidence of homophobic language in the classroom,” said Ms Ellen.

“We thought it [is] necessary to begin to address these issues and raise awareness of how learning in a homophobic environment is detrimental for everyone because it breeds a lack of respect and tolerance, [which are] essential components of a cohesive society.

“We also wanted frontline professionals to understand how homophobic bullying can lead to truancy, underachievement and an increased risk of suicide, self-harm and depression.

“The current problems surrounding these forms of bullying are complex and varied.

“The majority of young lesbian, gay and bisexual students are unable to report homophobic bullying because they haven’t even come out, and so they have to suffer in silence.”

Highlighting vulnerability

The charity, which provides community mental health support across Rotherham, has trained over 150 delegates so far and these courses will ensure that even more delegates will be made aware of different types of bullying.

They are also holding two additional short courses about racist bullying on Tuesday 6 December 2011 from 4pm to 5.30pm and about disability-related bullying on Tuesday 28 February 2012 from 4pm to 5.30pm.

It is hoped the courses would help to reduce the amount of young people who are bullied because they have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ms Ellen added: “We felt it [is] important to highlight how vulnerable a young person, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is to being bullied and to provide frontline staff with an opportunity to learn how the unique characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome can make that young person more likely to be bullied by their peers.

“For example, a difficulty with reading social cues and an inability to lie can make that young person more likely to be bullied by their peers.

“Racist bullying is an area which most staff was aware of but wanted more strategies to equip them for how to deal with it.

“For young people with Asperger’s Syndrome, they may not even know that they are even bullied.

“And, for young people experiencing racist bullying, their experience of racism is often so all pervasive that, unless a white member of staff declares their anti-racism position, they may assume that there will be no action.

“Their experience may be compounded by racism from the wider community and popular press.”

Booking a place

The day-long courses are priced at £40 for delegates working in the Rotherham area and £80 for delegates working outside of Rotherham, while the short courses are priced at £18 for delegates working in the Rotherham area and £36 for delegates working outside of Rotherham.

All places must be booked by the day before the course’s start date.

For further information or to make a booking, contact Lee Wilkes, Rotherham Mind’s Administration Officer, on lee@rotherhammind.co.uk or 01709 554755.

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This news story was self-published in August 2011.

Rotherham Minster’s west doors reopened after hiatus

Rotherham Minster, formerly known as All Saints’ Parish Church, was granted Minster status in 2004.

The west doors of Rotherham Minster, a church in Rotherham Town Centre, have recently been reopened.

The Minster’s west doors had been closed to the public for over 20 years.

But, following the fitting of handrails to the steps outside the west doors, the decision has been taken to reopen the doors.

Canon David Bliss, the vicar of Rotherham Minster, said: “If you sit in the new Minster Gardens with the West Doors open, you can see into the Minster, along the nave and then the East Window.”

Used for weddings

The Minster has been part of Rotherham Town Centre for over 500 years and newly married couples left the Minster, following their Marriage Service, by the west doors, prior to its closure.

On Saturday 23 July, Simon Ward married Amanda Taylor to become the first couple to use the west doors for over two decades.

The west doors, however, will also be open to the public on some days and used for special occasions.

“I expect the doors to be used for three things,” explained Canon Bliss.

“They will be open [on] some days during the summer months, so that people can enter or leave the Minster by them.

“They will be used again at weddings and couples will be offered the opportunity to leave the Minster by the West doors.

“They will also be used for some special services where people will enter by these doors [and] above the doors, on the inside of the Minster, are speakers from the organ, which allow the organist to play a fanfare upon entry.”

Improving the Minster

Reopening the doors is part of a series of improvements to Rotherham Minister, and it also hosted a Dedication of Churchyard Improvements and opening of the new Minster Gardens on Friday 26 July.

These improvements have included building new steps and seats, as well as a paved forecourt.

“It will link the Minster with the beautiful Minster Gardens, reinforcing the fact that the Minster is there for all people,” added Canon Bliss.

“It is very exciting that these doors are being reopened. They have not been used for in excess of 20 years.

“Many couples who were married at the Minster will have walked out of the West Doors, after their marriage service, and so reopening them will hold special memories for these couples.

“People have been delighted. Many of the comments I have received have been from people who have told me that they walked through the doors after their wedding and, therefore, it has been a special moment to do so again.”

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This news story was self-published in August 2011.

Jamie Oliver cooking centre celebrates third anniversary

The Rotherham branch of Ministry of Food opened in 2008.

A cooking centre, founded by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, is celebrating its third anniversary this week.

Ministry of Food, which was formed as part of a 2008 Channel 4 documentary, helps residents in Rotherham to learn the basics of cooking, via courses that are held throughout the year.

The centre, based at All Saints Square in Rotherham Town Centre, also organises birthday parties for clients and sells fresh produce including sandwiches, omelettes and salads.

Jan Davies, Ministry of Food’s manager, said: “I have been here for most of that time, and I have seen it grow and develop to what we are now.

“The Ministry of Food is now fully established in Rotherham as a fun place to learn how to cook delicious, economic and healthy meals using fresh ingredients from local suppliers.

“We take our sessions out into the community, too, working in schools and community groups with children as young as five [years old].

“As a recently established Social Enterprise, we need to generate income to sustain our project – we have opened a café selling healthy meals to the public.

“Our location in All Saints Square is perfect for the pavement café culture.”

A healthy lifestyle

Ministry of Food was founded by Mr Oliver to help implement a healthy lifestyle in Rotherham, after some town residents controversially opposed his healthy school dinners strategy in 2006.

Rotherham-based mothers passed crisps and takeaway burgers through school railings, which proved to be the inspiration for Mr Oliver’s Ministry of Food campaign.

The centre now provides advice to local residents on issues ranging from ingredients, nutrition and cookery equipment to exercise, stress and smoking.

“Recent statistics for Rotherham show parts of the borough are not the healthiest of places to live [as] life expectancy is well below the national average,” said Ms Davies.

“A lot of the health issues are poor diet related. We really need to show these communities how easy it is to cook healthy and affordable meals for the whole family.

“But we have more to offer. By completing a course of ten sessions with us, it is a delight to see the people grow into confident adults and young people [who are] proud of their newly acquired skills, and their sense of achievement just shines from them.

“Through our work experience and volunteering programme, we are also able to enhance employability skills [and] many of the team go on to find paid employment.”

A birthday celebration

To celebrate Ministry of Food’s third anniversary, a family fun day is being held on Wednesday 17 August. It will take place at All Saints Square, and outside the Ministry of Food centre, from 10.30am to 4pm.

The event will promote the achievements of the centre – as well as celebrating education, cooking, employment, and good health and well-being in Rotherham.

Cookery demonstrations and food tasting sessions will take place in conjunction with Rotherham College of Arts & Technology and local celebrity chefs including Andy Gabbitas.

There will also be prize draws – where attendees can win a cookbook signed by Mr Oliver, and electrical appliances donated by the Currys and PC World branches at Parkgate Shopping Centre – and appearances from local sporting stars.

Activities for children have also been organised including the Swamp Circus Youth Troupe, pancake making, face painting and a magician.

The Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Shaun Wright, will also cut a birthday cake at 3pm.

“Our customers are all looking forward to joining in the celebrations. There are so many activities [and] all the family will have a great time,” added Ms Davies.

“We have over ten of our key partners showcasing what they do, and how we work together for the better health and well being of the people of Rotherham.

“It is a great way to find out about the range of services we offer – to schools and children’s centres, to community groups, to business – but in a fun and interactive way.

“Children can come and make pancakes – an easy recipe for young ones that hopefully will inspire them to learn other recipes.

“There will be other interactive activities put on by our exhibitors.

“It is a day celebrating what we have achieved so far and hopefully getting the people of Rotherham to support us even more to safeguard our future.”

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This news story was published in August 2011.