Parson Cross & Ecclesfield

Bunty, Malcolm, Kelly and D give us their thoughts on fairness

Bunty I’m Brenda. I’m 71, 72 at the beginning of next year. I’m just fetching a little bit of shopping.

Malcolm My name’s Malcolm. I’ve come here to see about having my windows repaired, because my house got broken into a fortnight ago.

Kelly I’ve come down here today to use the post office and the local shopping centre.

D I’ve worked at Morrisons for 18 years. I’ve been on training schemes ever since I left school and this is the first job I’ve had.

Do you think Sheffield is a fair place to live?

Malcolm It is, yeah. I do think it’s a fair place.

Kelly Could be a lot better – crime wise, I think also police wise. Should do a bit more to support us.

Bunty When I visit one of my daughters that used to live in Worcester, they seemed to have got a nicer carry on, in Worcester. It was cleaner, it was nicer all round. But I’ve only ever lived here.

Are you aware of any inequality in the city?

Malcolm Well, there’s a lot of racism in the city, but... There’s none round my area, but further round – Ecclesfield, places like that, Chapeltown, Burngreave – there’s a lot of it going on around there.

Kelly I believe we get the crap end of everything. Because of the area and because of selected people in the area, we all get branded the same.

Bunty Oh yes. I read about it. I noticed it when I was working. I worked in the Sheffield youth offending team. I don’t ever remember coming across many clients that came from “the best” end of town.

What do you think causes inequality?

Malcolm Lack of work. There isn’t enough work for everybody.

On average, a girl born in Ecclesall will live around ten years longer than in one born in Burngreave. Were you aware of this and do you have any idea why?

Bunty I’m going to have to throw a bit of personal stuff in here. Last week I had to have a tooth repaired at the front and one at the side of it. £86.20. I don’t even draw that in pension. I’m a mum that stayed at home to look after my children, so I’m penalised. I get £67 a week pension. If you are desperately poor, desperately poor, they are things that have to go to the wall. So not only are you going to die younger, you’re going lose your teeth before that, you’re going to be shuffling around with bad feet before that. And that is unfair.

Malcolm They’ve got a better quality of living up at Ecclesall.

What do you think makes it better?

Malcolm The housing, the area, job prospects. Round this area, we ain’t got nothing like that. There’s nothing.

Who do you think is treated most unfairly in Sheffield?

Kelly I think we all are, really. I think when they do crime it’s not a punishment, so they can get away with doing that, and obviously we suffer – the non-crimers and the non-drug takers. Kids suffer tremendously. I’m dreading my baby growing up, because of what’s there now for teenagers, nevermind when my son’s old enough, what’s going to be there. It’s scary.

The national average for unemployment is 7-8% for adults. In Sheffield that figure is 10% and 25% of 16-24 year olds are also unemployed.

Malcolm Yeah, because there’s no work for them. There’s just no work out there for them. When I was growing up, you used to be able to get an apprenticeship. Plenty of building work going off, you could get jobs on a building site. You can’t these days.

Bunty There’s nothing for them. It’s terrible. If we didn’t like a job... I left on Friday and I started another one on Monday. I started work when I was 15 and I worked until I turned 63, and got a job overtime – that was my choice. I was lucky.

20% of households in Sheffield are living in relative poverty (household income less than 60% of the national average).

Kelly I wouldn’t have said one in five. I wouldn’t like to think one in five. I class if you’re working, you’re struggling, because you’ve worked so many months... It’s sometimes monthly payments. You’ve worked your backside off for that month, and it’s either you can go out or buy your food for the month. I feel for the workers. I’m in receipt of benefits myself obviously with the kiddies, but I don’t think benefits people struggle. That’s my personal opinion.

Whose responsibility is it to deal with issues of inequality?

Bunty I think it’s the government, but I don’t think they’ve any idea. I think they’re in another world, and I don’t know the answer to it and I don’t know how I’m going to vote. I’m in an absolute turmoil.

Malcolm It’s down to the government. It’s about time we got somebody in there that knew what they were talking about, and knew what they were doing, and knew how the rest of the world lived. They’ve got no problems.

National or local government?

Malcolm Both.

What is fairness?

D Where everybody’s treated right and fair, and nobody’s being unfairly treated. Everybody’s treated equally.

Bunty It means everybody having the same chance and the same opportunity, and starting from the same line.

If you are desperately poor, desperately poor [...] not only are you going to die younger, you’re going lose your teeth before that, you’re going to be shuffling around with bad feet before that. And that is unfair.

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