Setting up a community forum in Burngreave, 1996
© Nikky Wilson
Rashid has lived in Burngreave for over twenty years and been involved in community activity for most of this time. He now works as a community development librarian, having started his career in Sheffield as a bus conductor, progressing to the city's Multicultural Education Service and finally the Library Service.
"I moved to Burngreave in 1982 when the decline in the steel industry was having a huge effect on jobs. Having seen how the area was going downhill at that time, I got involved with other people in setting up Burngreave Community Action Forum (BCAF) to try to tackle some of the problems. Local activists organised a conference in 1996 and people came together with conviction and high spirits. What amazed me during the workshops was the number of professional people living in the area who came forward - there was a real pool of talent there to tap into! So a community forum was created with the intention of getting some local projects going.
Over the years I feel BCAF has made a big contribution to improving the area. The regeneration process got started and we helped local organisations to become stronger. With the arrival of New Deal (government regeneration funding), that process has taken off. Now you can see real changes in the area. There are lots of different groups all doing practical things for the community. And the price of houses in Burngreave has risen dramatically, a sign of confidence and security for people living here.
Burngreave still has a bit of a reputation within Sheffield but I feel that's undeserved. Even in the dire times of economic hardship we have always lived harmoniously. I love being part of this community!"
From an interview with Rashid Ahmed by Nikky Wilson, November 2006.