One of the largest projects (so far!) that I have worked on during my time with Sheffield SPEAK was the production and distribution of a poster map of ethical food and drink outlets in Sheffield.
What initially seemed a fairly small and manageable project turned out to be much more complicated and time-consuming than we had imagined! Firstly there was the matter of hand-drawing and designing the poster, which was no small feat in itself. It took a week’s worth (!) of map drawing and 17 (!!) redesigns before the final prototype was completed. Following that there was still funding, production and distribution to think about! Suffice it to say that the entire project took over a year to complete, beginning in late 2012 and ending in early 2014.
Despite the difficulties involved in the project I have to say that I was very proud of the end result. I think that the care and passion that went into producing the poster was well reflected in the final product. At any rate it certainly seemed to be well received, both by the campaigning community at university and by those who received copies.
The months and years that followed saw us taking on smaller but more numerous and diverse projects. We ran a food drive, held multiple clothes swap fundraisers, lobbied our local MPs on climate change issues, wrote a blog, worked on the ‘for the love of’ campaign, and much more! We also became increasingly keen on building and maintaining the sense of community and fellowship within the group. The regular ‘ethical come dine with me’ nights we held to that end proved particularly popular with group members.
So what does the future hold for Sheffield SPEAK, I hear you ask. Well, at the moment we are taking a very much ‘back-to-basics’ approach, focussing on supporting each other as a community of campaigners and friends. I believe and I hope that this approach will prove its own reward, in the sense that any growth in friendship and community would be immensely valuable to us in and of itself. But also I believe that with a blossoming of community comes an increased potential for the development of new and exciting ideas, dreams and schemes… so watch this space!