A city for all of us to call home

A city for all of us to call home

13 July 2020

Jerry Cheung is the Managing Director of New Era Development and has been the driving force behind the £66 million New Era Square at St Mary’s Gate. Here he reflects on Sheffield as his home and what the city offers to those who live, work and study here…

"As an immigrant from Hong Kong, I believe I occupy a unique position within the city. Sheffield is not all I know, but I do know all about Sheffield. I have spent each stage of my life here and I am proud to call this welcoming city my true home.

A few days ago, I was disappointed to hear my son, who has just turned 20, complain that Sheffield isn’t an inspiring place for young people. “Well I beg to differ,” I told him.

Sheffield is the home of two world class universities, and as such has a thriving student population. West Street and the Devonshire Quarter exude vibrant youthfulness and, coupled with the innovative and sector-leading research being carried at the AMRC, Sheffield shines with hope for the future.

Not only that, around 10,000 of our students are international, originating from all over the globe and infusing our city with a wide-reaching richness and vibrancy that we all must celebrate. I myself attended the University of Sheffield in 1996.

Sheffield is also a city of character and culture. The Crucible and Lyceum regularly put on shows, ranging from classic Shakespeare to musicals such as Grease, while Summer Schools help educate the next generation of performers, stage managers and technical assistants.

We’re extremely lucky to have places like Weston Park Museum and Graves Gallery on our doorstep, which provide insight into the past but also showcases new perspectives. I am particularly looking forward to the upcoming Richard Bartle exhibition at the Millennium Gallery – a display that explores stories that cross the boundaries of nations.

 As a famed city of industry, we have our own unique culture too. The museum at Kelham Island preserves the artefacts of Sheffield’s manufacturing heritage and I have often marvelled at the ingenuity and hard work that it must have taken to get us to where we are today. Just a stone’s throw away from the museum is an array of fashionable cafés, bars, restaurants and event spaces – beautifully representing the fusing our rich history, contemporary present and exciting future.

As I approach my 45th year here, I have grown to appreciate our green city more and more. We live on the edge of the Peak District, surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside on earth. Increasingly, I find myself spending time on walks around Padley Gorge or Grindleford. Not only that, public spaces like the Botanical Gardens, Winter Gardens – and my own New Era Square – mean that we are never without outside spaces to meet and unwind, even in a busy urban environment.

I read Mark Mobbs of Sheffield City Council talking about “the moments in which people realise how wonderful Sheffield truly is”. I could not agree more, and I look forward to the day that moment comes for my son, as it did for me.