Is It Time To Let Go Of S.A.D.A.C.C.A And Move On? Or Should We Be Supporting Them More As A Community?
Over the past 10 years, we have watched the situation around S.A.D.A.C.C.A deteriorate more and more from the building itself falling apart to the on going financial problems. Years before this, people in the Sheffield black community expressed their views of not being welcome in the building or allowed to run projects. It is by no means a secret that many people in the Sheffield community have had different theories as to what takes place within the organization and rumors have circulated for years about who’s and why’s with no clear answers.
1 of the biggest problems of this mix-up could be due to the number of people that have sat on the management committee since the organization started officially back in 1991. In addition to this at the time when the organization was created, it was done so under the circumstances of events that were taking place back then. Since this time there haven’t seen any real updates to the constitution until recently to cater for today’s society and in the past the S.A.D.C.C.A committee has been criticized for not being very engaging or supporting of the community and community projects, especially with the younger generation.
Some of the rumors have offended some of the past management of S.A.D.A.C.C.A as they feel they have done a lot of work for the younger generation as members of the organization and even away from it. For those members I do feel it for them as I personally have had experiences with the members that went out of their way to develop projects for us to do when I was growing up, a lot of these projects helped give me the basic skills to do what I do today. At the same time though, I understand some of the long battles and politics within the organization at the time made it difficult to grow these projects and eventually, they all stopped and have still not returned to this day. Over the years S.A.D.C.C.A has had some really good projects including Saturday School, Bob Marley Studios, Education Workshops, Computer Room, Sewing Room, Photography Studio and many other projects that eventually all stopped running. This in itself shows you that something wasn’t right for all these projects to leave the building and not be replaced years later.
As it is always the ‘committee’ that is blamed, I thought I’d look a little deeper into what and who around the committee people are blaming as there has been a lot of people who have managed the organization over the years. For example.
Records of S.A.D.A.C.C.A directors start from 1991 and between this time and the all new committee being appointed in 2015, there has been.
- 61 times people have been appointed as a director or secretary
- Out of 61 times, 3 directors have been on the committee multiple times (6 in total)
- between 1991-2011, 8 directors remained until 2015 when an all new committee was voted by members. 1 of the directors was active since 1991 until 2015.
- 14 directors lasted less than a year on the committee, 2 of which lasted less than 6 months.
- Some directors/secretaries of S.A.D.A.C.C.A Limited have also been Directors of S.A.D.C.C.A Development Limited which some believe is a conflict of interest. however, the structure made in 1991 with the constitution created at the time made it very complicated not to have something like this in place and was meant to be a way to raise independent funds for the organization without funding.
I’m not going to list all the people who have been on the committee as this post is not about pointing fingers but more to find understanding of why there is such a clear split in the community when it comes to the organization. You can look for yourself by visiting Companies House or Company Checker to look at directors, secretaries and the finance reports of the companies.
When people point blame however at the committee, who exactly are you blaming and for what exact issue are you blaming them for? Who exactly out of all the previous management was it that made you not want to be apart of the organization and feel like you weren’t welcome in the building?
To move forward we need to have clarity on what peoples issues are and who they are with instead of just pointing in a direction without any real explanation other than they this and they that. Who are they?
1 of the directors in this list of 61 that lasted less than a year is me but I’ve been reluctant to speak on it much as I am cautious of my comments being taken wrong. It wasn’t a voluntary choice for me to resign and this was done either by a vote of the management or in the AGM which I am unsure took place or not. What I will say now looking back on it is, I was finding the obstacles hard to deal with as I had a lot of personal battles going on at the same time. The pressure of life mixed with all the road blocks, tough choices and mixed opinions on the committee made it very difficult to get things done as it was. After a while, I became disengaged with what was going on and needed some time away to get myself in order before taking on so much pressure again. It is not something I hold bad feelings towards which ever way my resignment happened within the organization as I would rather keep my relationships with people rather than arguing under the pressure of running that building.
In my time there I still managed to get a few things going with my favorite being the Street Vibes dance classes done with Nathan Geering and Mc Nige every Monday evening.
After personally experiencing the struggles of being on the committee and seeing first hand some of the internal politics that can take place with so many different opinions on situations and how to deal with them, its easier to understand how some could have felt a little frustrated with the structure of the organization.
That being said……
I have to remember in 2014/15 it was me and a group of people that kicked up a lot of fuss about the management of the building and the organization itself and got a lot of people together to change this before it was too late. For those who didn’t know S.A.D.C.C.A was at high risk of having the doors closed for good as the Sheffield Council had grown tired of how the place was being run. In this time we discovered many issues with the help of community members 1 of which being Rob Cotterell who was very supportive of the movement for change. The Sheffield Council wanted to see some drastic changes happen fast 1 of which being a completely new committee with no previous members on it at all.
In 2015 after a lot of intense community meetings where people had a lot of frustrations they wanted to vent, we finally got to the point of voting in a completely new committee for the organization which I was put forward for. Everyone knew that the task at hand was going to be extremely difficult which we come to find out straight away when looking over records and documents to find the source of the issues.
Since 1991, 2015 was the first time since the organization was started that we had completely new faces to represent the community center. Considering that this happened in June 2015 it would be unfair to expect in just a few short months that over 10 years of mess would get fixed and everything would be back to 100% normal like it used to be. It should be expected that with so much to deal with including staff issues, debts, bills, legal issues and other behind the scenes problems to get through that we wouldn’t see any big projects right away. It is understood people wanted things that would benefit our community but forget that before you allow the public to use your services they have to be safe to do so. Staff need to be DBS checks, insurance needs to be correct, finances need to be available to keep the projects running and lots of other planning to make sure what ever is introduced will last and benefit the community needs.
Despite my short time on the committee I still have to ask the question, are we expecting too much too quickly and have we given up on the organization and building before giving the new team a real chance? Have they actually done more than we realised they had done to save the building?
Do you see the same signs, attitudes, and approach shown by previous committees that made you distant with the building in the first place?
Keep in mind that since the new committee was voted on in 2015 we have seen the bar get a complete upgrade from the pumps at the bar to a new look on the eye, the other bar has been restored where the elders now play dominoes with each other, the day care centre is still running after running risk of being shut down, rooms have been repaired 1 by 1 and ready to reuse, the Sheffield Council have held back on closing the doors for good, new CCTV and other security measures have been updated, a new constitution has been made for the first time since 1991, financial records have been brought up to date, Bob Marley Studios is in the process of being re developed and the list continues.
In some ways, it would be fair to say that in the past 2 years we have seen more activities and attempts to engage with the community than ever before. The committee has been to support multiple projects in the community including the Black Lives Matter March when they allowed young people to use the building as a base, tried to work with local promoters to keep events running but fair for both parties and been more open to projects than any committee prior to them.
This morning I shared an article done by The Sheffield Star regarding S.A.D.C.C.A and the response about this article differs.
So, is it time to let S.A.D.A.C.C.A go and move on? or if we let go of the past issues and get behind our new committee can we change things around and with all the talent and skills we have in our community, breathe some life back into the organization and others like it in Sheffield?
Hate it or love it S.A.D.A.C.C.A is 1 of the only buildings left in the city for the Black community so if it goes what else is left?