BCP & BVDT - Volunteers Striving to Improve the Quality of Community Life
The community of Beighton, South East Sheffield historically and primarily had its economic base founded upon the coal mining industry, with a secondary emphasis towards the steel industry of the east end of Sheffield that provided additional work for local residents. Beighton’s origins can be traced back to the Domesday Book, and until the 1970’s, it lay as a green field mining village bordering North East Derbyshire and Rotherham, and surrounded by other similar villages that today in the 21st century are locally known as the ‘Mosborough Townships’.
However, the steel industry recession of the 1970’s, closely followed by the national pit closure programme of the 1980’s served to decimate the community both economically and socially. In respect of these impacts, Beighton throughout the relevant period was not the beneficiary of any National Government or European intervention to mitigate or soften those impacts and resultant hardships.
For three decades, from the 1970’s onwards, when Beighton was in a situation of social and economic decline, the South East of Sheffield as an area, was designated by consecutive Sheffield City Council Unitary Development Plans to provide the primary location for Sheffield’s private and Local Authority housing growth, together with other light industry external to Beighton, at Holbrook.
Essentially, the housing growth around Beighton in the South East of Sheffield on green field sites has served to link adjacent villages to produce what planners call the ‘Mosborough Townships’, which has the reputation of being the largest conurbation in Europe. The building continues today, and only recently is the social infrastructure of services and facilities being stitched together to serve the influx of residents.
The effects of three decades of economic and social recession combined with a similar period of urban sprawl development has served to leave Beighton and its residents isolated as an island of need and deprivation surrounded by the comparative affluence of the newly built ‘Mosborough Townships’.
At the local level, Beighton demonstrates many of the socio-economic characteristics of the South Yorkshire sub region, in that local economic activity rates & business survival rates are below average, and domestic income is low. Additionally Beighton suffers in respect of skills levels, ill health, and low educational attainment at a time when population density has increased over 11% in a 3 year period, adding to the pressures faced by the community still suffering the effects of the loss of coalfield and steel industries. These industrial losses have left Beighton with brown field land or sites requiring remediation, including the former Beighton Colliery, historically the main site of local employment.
It was for these reasons that Beighton was selected by the Objective 1 Programme under Priority 4B – Measure 23 as one of six former South Yorkshire coalfield communities to benefit from EU Structural Funds and Yorkshire Forward funding during the period 2001 to 2007.
The thrust of this Programme which drives economic regeneration is that it is ‘community led’. It is in this area that the community via the local resident and business volunteers of Beighton Community Partnership and Beighton Villages Development Trust dynamically lead the process through the 8 core projects of the Beighton Integrated Development Plan which is additionally supported by Sheffield City Council through its diverse Departments and Officers.