This ‘Meet The Team’ post won’t be written in the third person, like Matt’s. It will be written in the first person because they’re my words and I like talking. It may come as no surprise then, when I say that I’m Amelia and I look after the PR and campaign messaging side of things at This Is Sheffield.
I first moved to Sheffield in 2013 to do my undergrad degree. I actually applied for Sheffield Hallam three times and told my parents that I categorically refused to go to any other University. I must have known there was something special about Sheffield back then.
At 18 years old, it was my first time away from home, and my parents, for longer than the length of your average girls holiday. Thankfully, Sheffield is the world’s biggest village. Being a student in Sheffield was incredible. I feel that I came to the city as a child with no clue about the big wide world – I couldn’t even boil an egg – and left as an adult (who actually still can’t boil an egg).
I think back to my first few weeks and remember feeling so welcomed. Everyone was, and still is, so friendly. It felt like home almost straight away. I soon began dropping the word ‘the’ from my sentences, added ‘reyt’ and ‘nowt’ to my vocabulary, and started pushing Worchester sauce to the back of shelves whenever I could.
What struck me the most about Sheffield though is the sense of pride here, the sense of community. But more importantly, the thing that comes hand-in-hand with both of these, independent businesses. Even as a student, I loved being able to do my bit and support local businesses rather than big corporate chains. I’m not even ashamed to say that I probably kept Tamper Coffee and Laundry hairdressers in business between the years of 2013 to 2017, with regular smoked salmon bagels and weekly blow drys. Yes, that sounds boujee as hell, but I wasn’t much of a party girl in my first couple of years at Uni. Basically, I didn’t spend money on club entries, jager bombs and kebabs. Admittedly, that all changed in my final year when I first met Daniel, who I have the pleasure of living with, working with, and now being locked down with.
4 years later, having finished my degree, I reluctantly moved home to my small village in Leicestershire. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But then again, who does? After working in a grad job for 9 months, Daniel and I packed up and decided to go backpacking around the world. Literally. We went from India to South East Asia, then right over to South America.
Flying from Kuala Lumpur to Sao Paulo? I don’t recommend it. There were lots of tears and tantrums. From me, not Daniel, I must point out. The absence of big corporations and the strong sense of community in the countries that we visited really cemented to us how special Sheffield is.
So, as soon as we returned, we knew this was the city that we wanted to come back to. Moving back here, when all our friends and everyone we knew had left, was quite daunting. We found a flat in Kelham Island because we heard it was ‘hip and trendy’, and in our opinion (and probably only ours), we felt we’d fit in. And what was the first thing we did? Followed the ‘This Is Kelham’ instagram account. I even remember saying to Daniel that I’d seen ‘the guy that runs it’ out on a walk and he was ‘wearing trousers with bright red lips on’. FYI, Matt still wears these and they are incredible.
Now, here I am, working alongside the person who has the brightest clothes collection I’ve ever seen, as well as my boyfriend. Which is quite handy. Being part of This Is Sheffield is my way of giving back to a city and the community that I owe so much too. I’m incredibly proud of what we do, of being able to support the wonderful independent businesses that Sheffield has to offer. It’s also a way of being able to chat my head off about the things I’m passionate about without people telling me to shut the hell up…