Thursday, 8 December 2016

Celebrating 2016!

The festive season is upon us and the year is drawing to a close, and there is only one thing to do.

Highlights this year include:

  • Over 36,420 children and young people are registered with CU in Sheffield and have collectively gained 1,990,813 credits in total so far. That’s 382,496 hours that children and young people have taken part in during 2016, and over 4,000 children and young people who have started collecting CU credits just this year.
  • There are now 195 Learning Destinations (and counting!) across Sheffield. This year, to our family of Learning Destinations, we have added 49 new Learning Destinations including 1st Blackamoor Brownies, 2nd Beighton Rainbows, 129th Sheffield Rainbows, 172nd (St Peter's) Greenhill Brownies, 183rd Sheffield Brownies, AG Sports Coaching Group, Amanda Holland School of Dance, Arches School Sports Partnership, Blast Off - a launch to success, Curtain Call Performance Group, Dancemasters, Discovery STEM Education, Ecclesfield Red Rose JFC, Enjunior, Graves Health & Sports Centre, Grow Theatre, Hallam Cricket Club, Humm Music Productions, Jay Love School of Dance, Just Dance Studios Ltd, Middlewood Rovers JFC, Norfolk Park Tenants and Residents Association, Oakbrook Junior Badminton Club, Parson Cross Initiative, PerformiX, Russian Club OK, Sarah Villeneau Ceramics, Sheaf Scouts Swimming & Lifesaving Club, Sheffield Diving, Sheffield Ju Jitsu Academy, Sheffield Wildcats Roller Hockey Club, Speaque, State of Mind Karate and Kickboxing, Steel City Aikido Junior Club, Steel City Stars, Stepz Dance Academy, SwimRayz, Ta-Dah Dance & Princess Party Palace, The FA Skills, The Foundry Climbing Centre, The Old School CafĂ©, The University of Sheffield - faculties of science and engineering, Thorncliffe Bowling Club, Thorncliffe Health & Leisure Centre, Westfield Junior Badminton Club, Whirlow Hall Farm, Why Weight, Woodhouse Juniors FC (Under 7s) and Yorkshire Artspace! Phew!
  • There are currently 68 schools subscribed to Sheffield Children’s University. New additions include: Beighton Nursery Infant School, Stannington Nursery Infant School, Limpsfield Junior School, St Thomas More Catholic Primary and Oasis Academy Don Valley
  • During 2016, Sheffield CU have given out nearly 6,000 Bronze Awards, 4,000 Silver Awards and have had a fabulous 2,161 Gold Award winners who have been invited to attend one of our fantastic award ceremonies at the Town Hall, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and City Hall. That’s a 26% increase in Gold Award winners when compared to last year!
  • We hosted our 50th Gold Award Ceremony at the prestigious Diamond Building, a brand new state of the art facility that is part of the University of Sheffield. We were very excited to celebrate this important milestone at such an amazing venue in partnership with the UOS Outreach Team and to look back at all the fantastic ceremonies we have hosted over 8 years at Sheffield CU. Our first ceremony in 2009 had 70 children from 5 schools, and now, we have over 2000 children and young people attending 10 ceremonies per year! 
  • Due to increasing numbers of award winners, our award ceremony structure began to change during 2016 and we were thrilled to work in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University Outreach Team and Sheffield International Venues to host our primary award ceremonies in the Pennine Lecture Theatre at the University and Ballroom in the City Hall for the first time. These changes were very well received by the schools and families who attended, and we hope to expand on this next year. We also did our first ‘Mannequin Challenge’ with over 400 children and families at the City Hall this November. You can find the video here:
  • We appointed our first CU Patron, Chris Brailsford! Chris comes from the Parson Cross area of Sheffield and is keen to share this story of ‘learning in his own time’, just like all our CU members. Chris has worked as a teacher and in the Council Housing Department, but later on in life, he decided to do an evening course in drama, and this extra learning led him to his other passion, acting! Whilst Chris is keen to remind people that he is no ‘Hollywood superstar’, he has appeared on popular TV shows and in films but also on our very own Crucible stage too!
  • The Sheffield CU Forest School programme has grown significantly again during 2016. Our lovely Helen has been ‘branching’ out (sorry!) and has worked with Anston Hillcrest and Rosehill Junior School in Rotherham, delivering sessions that focused on the Hunger Games series. Back here in Sheffield, she has delivered general Forest School sessions with Foundation Stage at Athelstan and Emmaus, been cooking on the campfire with Lydgate Junior School and worked with Beighton NI to develop their Forest School provision. We have also worked in partnership with one of our fantastic Learning Destinations who have plans to deliver sessions in Waterthorpe and Walkley.
  • This year’s ’project in a box’, a gardening box developed in partnership with our friends at Heeley City Farm has been very well received and 30 of our lucky CU schools will be starting or developing their own out of school gardening clubs using a fantastic set of equipment and resources supplied. All schools will be brought together at a special end event which will be focused on horticulture and growing your own produce!
  • Building on the success of last year’s fantastic Samba project, we are working in partnership with Sheffield Music Hub again to bring Samba in a Box 2 to our CU schools. This fantastic project will engage with existing schools who were part of the project last year and also welcome brand new schools, giving them a chance to get involved and come together to receive FREE instruments, lesson plans, resources and support to develop a Samba club in school. This will culminate in a musical extravaganza at a city centre venue that hopes to replicate the success of last year which saw 400 children and schools playing in Tudor Square. This event will also coincide with BBC Music Day on 9th June 2017, and there is potential for 65 schools to be involved. As a result, our end event will be one that should not be missed!
  • Festival of Fun was back and better than ever in 2016! We kicked off proceedings in style with a fantastic procession through the City Centre with Razzamataz Theatre School Sheffield, ending in the Winter Garden with a marketplace full of providers. There werelots of activities on offer including Awesome Walls, Broomhill Music, Hype Dance, Underbank Activity Centre and Sheffield Wildcats Roller Hockey.
  • Free CU LIVE! activities have been taking place during the holidays, with some fabulous activities from Imagination Gaming, Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University Outreach team and The University of Sheffield Student Union volunteering to name but a few! CU LIVE! will be back next year, and will be coming to a venue near you! This will kick off with a very special Sheffield Science Saturday delivered by our friends at Sheffield Volunteering and the student societies on 25th February. More info will be available early in the new year.
  • We were thrilled to work with the Herd of Sheffield and Sheffield Children's Hospital and Charity to have our very own elephant as part of the 'Little Herd' and also develop an exciting activity to coincide with the trail of elephants appearing across the city in the summer. Belinda the CU elephant, named after a competition with our members went on display during the Summer, and was covered in pictures drawn by children and young people in Sheffield depicting their favourite out of school activity.
  • We welcomed our new apprentice Molly Hutchinson to the Sheffield CU team. Molly has been incredibly busy inputting data, preparing certificates and supporting award ceremonies, and has been an invaluable addition to our small team.
  • And we are sure there will be lots more to celebrate in 2017! 

Finally, we want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to you, along with all our colleagues, schools, Learning Destinations and partners for supporting our work and ensuring the children and young people of our wonderful city are celebrated and rewarded for their achievements.

We hope you enjoy the festive season, have a restful break and look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Katie, Helen O, Sakina, Helen N, Pam and Molly

The Sheffield CU Team