Opus Independents and all involved deserve to be congratulated for the 5th Sheffield Festival of Debate which featured 70 events in April, May and June. Events ranged across a variety of themes tackling some of the biggest issues we face, but also looking to real practical change in Sheffield.
Festival of Debate achieves public engagement with politics and encourages active citizenship. Most events were in and around the city centre but included meetings in Darnall, Page Hall and Tinsley seeking to bring people together to build and improve neighbourhoods.
Numerous events focused on the 70th anniversary of the NHS and the threats to publicly funded healthcare.
Events took place to a backdrop of despair on the state of local democracy and the actions of the Labour-run council, including their unwillingness to listen to local people and community groups. At “Democracy Across Seven Hills, Giving Communities a Say” we heard about Barnsley Council’s 2013 response to austerity impacts on communities, “Love Where you Live”. By choosing to invest rather than cut, Barnsley have empowered local people and communities and increased community participation and volunteering. This event was just one of many that showed there are solutions, if our city’s leaders embrace democratic change, rather than clinging to disastrous top-down models of decision making.
We look forward to Festival of Debate 2019. Well done everyone.
Sheffield Green Party