'My Sheffield' Project

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‘My Sheffield’ Project - a creative approach to family learning! 

50 Things to Do Before You’re Five in Sheffield has been funded through the City Council’s Lifelong Learning & Skills department, to provide an innovative approach that will deliver benefits to both migrants and established resident populations, preparing children for school. 

A quick launch to help families through lockdown  

The implementation of our 50 Things project coincided with the sudden crisis of Covid19.  Recognising that the project was now more important than ever, the launch of the 50 Things app was brought forward from a planned summer date to April 2020, to support local families in the early days of Covid19 lockdown.  

How the National 50 Things Community helped us 

Whereas local projects would usually engage with families to illustrate the app and website with images of local children, the rapid roll-out meant that we needed images really quickly.  

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Families that were engaged in 50 Things projects in other areas submitted wonderful photos of their children doing ’50 Things’ – and this allowed us to get the app out there quickly. These images will change over time as we engage with local families, but a growing collaborative attitude between projects and families was a factor in the success of our work in Sheffield.  

Launching During Lockdown 

Without the planned “real-world” launch, with bubbles, bells, whistles and stories, all promotional activity had to be virtual or through news and social media sources.  

The project team was delighted to have the support of a range of partners, all keen to create a positive environment for families in lockdown.  Partners included Learn Sheffield, Create Sheffield, the Early Years Advisor in Sheffield (and her Early Years Team), the Sheffield Star, BBC local radio, schools and both the “Bags of Creativity” and “Healthy Holidays” initiatives.   

Activities from the 50 Things app were included as part of Sheffield Family Learning’s Summer Challenge, which engaged over 100 families over the summer holidays.   

Gaining traction, supporting families 

In a short space of time, we’ve already had almost 500 downloads of the app.  4,000 posters have been delivered to families.   

Support from the local press 

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Our local newspaper, The Sheffield Star, supported us brilliantly and the distribution of the Sheffield Star’s ‘Sheffield learning Together’ supplement was incredible.  We would recommend all 50 Things projects to try to get the support of their local newspaper – we found that it was a great cause for the paper to get involved with. 

As Learn Sheffield wrote on its website: 

“Learn Sheffield worked with the Sheffield Star and partners from across the city to produce a weekly home learning supplement every Thursday in May, June and July. ‘Sheffield Learning Together’ went out with the paper each Thursday and was also available to download from our website. 
Across the eleven weeks that it was in operation (from 8 May to 16 July) it was distributed to families (thanks to sponsorship) by a network of schools and partners from Voluntary Action Sheffield. The final number of copies distributed was an amazing 81,989.” 
50 Things and the local community 

We have facilitated online training sessions for local partner organisation staff and volunteers who are working directly with Sheffield families, to support them in sharing 50 Things in communities.  We have also donated prize packs as part of the Family, Education and Community Service’s (FACES) Summer Challenge. 

50 Things Sheffield has an active Twitter account, and shares the 50 Things Bradford Facebook and Instagram accounts.  

The day to day running of the Sheffield 50 Things Project sits with the FACES (Family, Adult & Community Education Services) team and will be used extensively in their family learning offer.  


If you would like to discuss this case study please contact Andrea Layzell using the following contact details:

01274 543282




Washington Street,
Bradford BD8 9QW


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