A year in the life of Sheffield Flourish

Digi leaders award

Today, July 18th, is our one year anniversary. It feels like so much has happened in such a short time!

We are so honoured to have worked with so many talented, creative and downright lovely individuals (you know who you are!), and to be meeting so many more. While we buzz around the office excited we’d like to share some of our absolute highlights from the year.


1. Building it together

Before we even launched Sheffield Flourish, we already had around 200 people involved in the process of co-designing and building it. We brought in the expertise of our board, our steering group, our community enterprises and a whole host of other wonderful people who helped us in dozens of ways, from lending their techinical expertise to moral support!

It was a real pleasure to collect the first stories from our site, including incredible videos featuring Ben Dorey, Andrew Hudson, and Andrea Shaw.


2. The launch

Lisa at the launch

It was terrifying, it was nerve-wracking, but we had a fantastic attendance at our launch. Most of all, we were delighted with how people connected with the ideas behind Sheffield Flourish, theories described beautifully by our board member Professor Stone.

We got ourselves trending and we talked about the ideas that all matter to us, it had begun!


3. A growing community

A volunteer at an event

Once the website was off the ground we started work with our super teams of volunteers. We met with our new editing panel, and decided on some monthly events and themes. Our first theme was ‘mental health history’, and we were moved to read Jo Reah’s story of living in Middlewood Hospital (we were reminded of her recently, when the service which helped her live independently was shut down). The next month we had a lot of fun making videos on our smartphones, and after that we made mini-zines, shared food together, and much more.

While this was all happening, our digital ambassadors were out and about in the city, helping the old and the younger to get online and use Sheffield Flourish, and our creative content producers were busy doing what they do best – writing, sharing stories alongside our community. The best thing about everything that’s been happening has been the connections people are making; we were excited to meet two young students who were so inspired by a story on the site they decided to make it into a video (and the video was beautiful!).

Then we had our competition – that was  a lot of fun! We asked anyone in Sheffield to tell us: ‘How do we build a more mental health friendly Sheffield?’  The only hard part was choosing who should win; they were all so very good. Luckily for us, we employed an expert panel of judges who made the difficult decision. The winners were announced at our competition prizegiving, and we were really pleased to help spur these people into action at a followup event. To this day work continues on the competition ideas!


4.  A growing organisation

MH Guide Team

In April 2017 we started running the Sheffield Mental Health Guide, a fantastic web-based resource for mental health information in our city. With this, our team grew and we were delighted to welcome Roger and Nila to our brand new offices, near Norfolk Park. Roger and Nila brought 3.5 years of experience working on the Sheffield Mental Health Guide with them, and we’re now working with our community to develop the website even further. With new staff and a new office came a new name for the whole organisation, as Recovery Enterprises – the charity that founded Sheffield Flourish – became Sheffield Flourish. We now have around 70 volunteers and have had over 10,000 visitors to our website and with our partners host an eclectic  range of meetups and workshops including the wonderful sister project Rotherham Flourish.


5.  Digital Charity of the Year

Digi leaders award

The lovely cherry on top of this year has been winning a big shiny award – Digital Charity of the Year – from Digital Leaders 100. This award demonstrated the power of people driven digital, showing the whole country that working with your community works. We were over the moon to be able to bring this award home to Sheffield.


There are so many more moments and people we’d like to mention. But we know it’s best to keep things brief in digital! So, instead, we’d like to simply say a massive, mammoth-sized thank you to everyone who has helped make this year so special. Sheffield – we love you!

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