Graphic Design Placement

Not sure how to start this but here goes. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety and although I manage my Depression my Anxiety does bite me in the arse sometimes. I no longer drive because I’ve developed an anxiety over it. Sometimes it holds me back in life, sadly it’s something I have to deal with and sometimes I manage OK but other things stress me out/build my anxiety up to the point where I struggle to sleep/get tense/can’t switch off.

Anyway, for this to make sense I will start at way back in 2003. I graduated from college with a HND in Graphic Design. And I duly set about trying to get a job or at the very least a work placement. But every time I got knocked back, I guess I went to at least 40 interviews. Not sure how many I applied for, maybe hundreds? Too long ago to remember. The first few times I didn’t get the job I brushed myself off and applied for the next. But I think there is only so many times you can do that before you start to feel down. Basically, every “sorry you didn’t get the job” is a you’re not good enough and after a point it really gets to you.

The last interview I had for a Graphic Design job was just one too many. One too many no’s, and it sent me into a Depression. To be fair I have suffered with Depression/Anxiety since I was about 13 so it’s not like I was “normal”, don’t like that word but not sure what else to use. Hopefully you understand what I mean in that I wasn’t starting from a balanced point of view and it is likely my pre-existing problems contributed to the Depressive episode. After a few weeks of feeling like shit, feeling worthless, not good-enough, stupid – I felt like an idiot for even applying I should have known I wouldn’t get the job so why did I apply?

I then came to the realisation that I needed to draw a line in the sand. I binned my portfolio and deleted all my college work from my Hard Drive. I decided to forget about Graphic Design. Later I decided I wanted to be a Teacher but I was struggling to find a course. I only had 2 years of funding left and so I couldn’t afford to do a full degree – I would need to pay a year’s worth of course fees out of my own pocket. Money I simply didn’t have. I need a degree to do a PGCE but I knew I didn’t want to top-up my HND, I didn’t want to go back to Graphic Design – I wanted to go forward. But after looking at the other options it was the only way, so I applied at The Sheffield College.

I needed to refresh my skills big time. It was Freehand and QuarkXpress not Illustrator and InDesign when I was at college. Plus I knew it wasn’t just the software I needed to brush up it was my design skills too. I was rusty as hell, so I embarked on creating a new portfolio. It reminded me just how much I enjoyed Graphic Design, but I kept telling myself to not get too into it. I didn’t want to start getting ideas about being a Graphic Designer again.

Unfortunately, that it was happened plus going on a placement would look good for my Professional Development. Or at least trying would to get a placement would. But then the anxiety kicked in, I didn’t realise at first and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to sleep. I had written a placement request email, I had looked up nearby Graphic Design companies – I wanted something not too far from home for childcare reasons. But then I just couldn’t send the email. I even got as far a draft email with all the email addresses on ready to send but I just couldn’t do it. All the feelings of failure kicked in again. All I could think is what is the point? Ok yeah if I try it would look good for Professional Development but bad for me mentally when I get a load of no’s again. Why put myself through that? Why make myself feel bad again. In the end I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t face the rejection again. I appreciate this looks bad for my Professional Development but my mental health comes first. I may enjoy Graphic Design but I’m not a Graphic Designer.

Escal Reading Volunteer Training

I was due to to attend a training session this week but unfortunately it has been cancelled. The next training session is on the 26th of February, which is the week that I start the Major project. I’m now wondering if it would be best to leave the training session until after the Major. ??

After speaking to Faye (she runs the Escal scheme) I have decided to attend. She said the council are looking to close down the scheme and there may not be another training session. But once I’m trained and given a school to work with I should be able to keep volunteering whether the scheme itself shuts down or not.

Etsy Shop

I opened by Etsy shop yesterday. I have moved away from “graphic design” and utilised a more “crafty” approach. However, I have used my illustration skills to draw a background. I created a vector from it so I can print it and use it on several cards.

It took a bit just to get 10 items up for sale. I could do with working on the banner and logo for the shop, it was done quickly as I means to get the shop up and running before Valentine’s day. From what I have read online I will need to have Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram account, etc in order to drive traffic to the site. However, I’m not sure I have the time to commit to this level of promotion until after I have finished my degree.

Shop Front
Product Page
Product Page

I’m part of a group of Facebook called Crafty Business Sheffield, here are what some of the members have said about selling on Etsy:

I use Etsy and I like it. There’s a really good Etsy sellers community in Sheffield who have started doing Etsy Made Local fairs and such, which have been really popular. You do have to do a lot of social media marketing to get sales, and that takes a long time to build up, but it’s the same with any platform you use. I’m thinking of trying Folksy this year, too.”

“I have an etsy shop and went a few months before I sold anything. You do have to market it yourself but I’m also getting traffic through etsy search results and I’ve started having more online sales since doing fares and making people know about me that way. There is lots you can do to optimise your etsy and google search results, there’s lots of advice out there and help in the etsy guidebook on their website.”

“It depends what you are selling. Set up is free and listings are inexpensive, but very few make much money on there. Where Etsy failed for me is in the promotion. You sped so much time promoting it is ridiculous.”

This comment was posted in January;

Not too bad to set up, but you need to drive traffic to your shop. As yet I haven’t sold anything been on since October. Still trying.”

The group has been really useful for networking and receiving advice. It’s been a good way to connect with other businesses/local crafters.

UPDATE: Even though I did not promote my Etsy page I still sold several valentine’s day cards.  I now feel working for myself selling online is the best route until the kids are older at which point I will do a PGCE (assuming I get a 2.1 from this degree).

Further Park Research – Website Links

Considering an App to report vandalism in parks, also other issues such as fly-tipping, dog fouling. But also could be used for positive things such as letting park users know about Park events such as fayres, gardening/allotments groups, sports groups, etc.

Thinking about aiming the app and both children and adults. Maybe engaging children with some sort of reward scheme? Or maybe get them involved more in their local park by getting them to plant bulbs/flowers, litter pick or maybe paint murals? Creating a sense that it is “their” park so hopefully this will reduce vandalism/anti-social behaviour. Also create a sense that the park is looked after/maintained/watched. Vandals are less likely to create problems if they think they are being watched. – App for reporting problems like broken street lights to council. QR Codes Can used as inventory management – NFC codes for inventory

Age is just over 10 for getting first smartphone: – app to find playgrounds in your area, not sure if UK? Check if covers UK. Also this one and others. – Sheffield MoveMore – maybe combine with this activity and reporting park problems?


Social Media Engagement – Creative Practice

I have shared the work across social media.

Behance – 


Dribbble –

183 Views, 32 Likes

Pinterest –

Unknown Number of Views

Student Show –


Twitter –

1 Re-tweet, 2 Likes, 83 Impressions

Street Art – Graffiti

Don’t what is about Graffiti that I like, I think its probably the bright colours. Was out on a walk when I realised I could get onto the old Industrial site near Wooley Wood/Ecclesfield Road. Took a few photos and then I though I would search for other graffiti in Sheffield to see if others had taken photos. Came across this blog, He has photographed many pieces of street art around Sheffield and other places too,

“This website is a personal project, a place to share the photos of Sheffield’s varied street art that I’ve taken as I’ve been walking around the city.

My aim is to put the best grafitti, wall murals and specially commissioned works that I find on the map. I’m no photographer, the majority of the pictures have been snapped on my camera phone, but I hope to inspire people to come visit and seek out Sheffield’s creative street art.


Found out via Twitter than Andy works at Evoluted – a web development agency who have been around since 2006.

I also came across this artist,, she has worked with some big brands such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Ikea. She defines herself as “Artist, Painter, Graphic Designer”

Some of her work includes Illustration too:


Ben Moon


Blackburn Open Walls Stoke

Loving the use of colours, so vibrant and fresh. It’s inspiring me to work on my illustration/artwork side more. I have always enjoyed art/crafty things including drawing and painting. My work is nowhere near as good but with practice it could be better.

My images of some Graffiti near Wooley Wood/Ecclesfield Road. I’ve been along the road many times and noticed the tags. There was a gap in the fencing which allowed me to get into the area to take photos, which I didn’t know was there until I was walking past.

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-10

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-9

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-7

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-8

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-7

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-6

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-5

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-4

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-3

Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-1


Shiregreen/Ecclesfield graffiti-2






Major Project Research – Parks

I’m looking to the issue of park funding, reduction in funding and the condition this leaves parks in. This is not just a local issue, it is something that is effecting parks all across the UK.

“…the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) study warns a decline in the condition of parks predicted in a first report in 2014 is set to continue, with almost all park managers experiencing ongoing cuts as austerity squeezes local authority budgets.

Some 92% of park managers had seen budgets cut and 95% were facing more reductions, a worsening of the situation since 2014, according to a survey of 193 councils as part of the report.”


However, it has been reported that councils in the East Midlands and North of England are suffering deeper budget cuts and thus park services are more likely to be affected in those areas.

Sheffield has recently received decided to buck the trend and invest money in local parks. The first to receive funding is Norfolk Park. However, my nearest Colley Park has yet to receive any improvements other than the removal of old outdoor Gym equipment. Currently Colley Park has no play facilities (as in swings, climbing frames, etc) as they were removed many years ago.

I contacted the Park and Countryside department about Colley Park in 2015.

From: Ayshea Siddall
Sent: 20 February 2015 18:28
To: parksandcountryside
Subject: Colley Park


I moved to Parson Cross last year, I had not been to Colley Park since I was a child. Your website mentions play areas for toddlers and older children – your website needs updating as I found out the first time I visited the park with my toddler and baby. Very disappointing, it is such a shame that there is not a nice park within walking distance of my home.

I think the website should be updated to remove details about the play areas, the park is really only somewhere to walk a dog at best – not really a park at all.

Do you have any plans to do up the park? If not I think there should be, especially with all the new homes being built nearby.


This was the response I received;

Hi Ayshea,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding Colley Park.

Some years ago Colley park had a major investment programme to improve the play areas in the park but these have suffered repeated vandalism, unfortunately the cuts the council have received over the last few years means there has been a major reduction to the parks budget therefore we have not been able to invest in replacing or upgrading the park we have just had to concentrate on health and safety issues.  I will get the web site changed so it does not mislead people as to what facilities are in the park.

However the new housing development do have to provide new facilities for the community I believe there are plans to put in new play areas but within the new housing areas, this could change and they may wish to invest in the park, at this stage this is all the information we have.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to clarify anything relating to this matter.

Regards Darryl.

Darryl Dawson
Area Officer – City Wide Services

Parks and Public Realm
Clay Wheels Lane Depot, S6 1LZ
Tel: 01142 2500 500

Since then a survey was given out to local residents about both Parson Cross and Colley Park.

What funding is currently available?

Colley Park Improvements Funding – We have one pot of funding to do some general park improvements. The S106 legal agreement for this funding requires us to carry out some improvements to Colley Park including: removal of old playground and gym equipment; re-profiling of mound to improve site linesdrainage improvements and tree planting. These improvements are included in the options plans. We would also like to hear what other improvements you think are important for the site.

Play Facilities Funding – We have a second pot of funding, which is allocated to ‘play facilities in the catchment of the development site’, which means it should be spent in open space within 400m of the housing development. The option plans show a range of ideas which this funding could be spent on including: skate and bike park or skate bowl; climbing boulders, tarmac bike track and robust playground equipment. We would like to hear whether you think we should be investing this play money at Colley Park and what you think of these ideas.

I don’t want to sound sceptical but is says within a 400 metre radius of the housing development. It would not surprise me if they sold at least some of Colley Park off to developers. At the moment the Gleeson development is being built around the Park, but there are old football fields plus other flat areas which could be used. Plus as part of the new housing development Gleeson had to agree to build new football pitches, which leaves the old ones redundant. Would I sacrifice some of the Park to leave a smaller but well equipped park? Well as it stands yes but only if we get a decent park out of it.

I have found the S106 agreement on the Council’s planning portal, Which mentions £218, 715 to be given by Gleeson to the council for play facilities within the aforementioned 400 m catchment area and £100, 000 to general park improvements to Colley Park – improving drainage, removing old play equipment and new paths amongst other improvements but no mention of new play equipment at the Park itself.

Another Park not far from me, Wolfe Road Park, recently received funding to do up the Park. A Facebook group was created by Tessa Lupton and she met with members of the Parks and Countryside department and they agreed to fund new play equipment at the Park:

Some Parks receive funding because individuals set up groups to develop facilities at their local park as with Millhouses Park.

Their aims are to

“Provide facilities in Millhouses Park in the interests of social welfare, recreation and leisure time for the community of Millhouses and for the citizens of Sheffield and to improve the conditions and quality of life of those people who use the park, without discrimination or exclusion by sex, race, ability or age.

Increase the enjoyment, relaxation and health of all those who use the facilities and to encourage greater use of the park as a public amenity.

Stimulate the educational, physical, creative, imaginative, social and cognitive development of children and young people across a range of ages and abilities.

Minimise the risk of accident, hazard or infection to users of the park.”

Some research has been done in to the effectiveness of schemes which provide alternative funding to parks,

“While there is no one ‘silver bullet’ for replacing local authority funding, some promising new models emerged during the programme:

Burnley Go to the Park project involved moving from a culture of “controlling nature” to one of “working with nature”, turning some areas of parks over to meadows and planting some traditional beds with perennials rather than annuals.  This has created savings of nearly £70,000 since its launch and is forecast to save the council £119,000 per year (10 per cent of their parks budget) by 2020.

Bournemouth Parks Foundation has proved that people are willing to donate to public parks, including via text, projecting a donation stream of £46,000 a year by 2020/21.

The Heeley People’s Park subscription scheme has shown people will donate on an ongoing basis to their local park, demonstrating it is not just flagship parks that can tap into people’s willingness to give.

The Bristol ParkWork project worked with volunteers and saw 40 per cent of participants transitioning into employment and training, while delivering £27,000 worth of improvements to parks across the city.”

I have emailed Sheffield Council again and await a response as to what is happening with Colley Park.


I’m just wondering if there are any updates on what is happening with Colley Park?

I went to an event during the Summer holidays at Mount Tabor and filled a survey in about Colley and Parson Cross Park.

The last I heard was that there was something basic ground work to be done at Colley and I noticed, on my recent visit, that the Gym equipment had been removed. Do you have any further information about what the next stages are, if there are any, with the park?



Other Links:


Received an email about Colley Park.

“Hi Ayshea

I have been forwarded your email below. Apologies I have not replied sooner, I have only just returned from annual leave.  We carried out consultation during August and September and had a good response from people locally, both at events and via the online survey.  We have collated all the consultation results and we are currently in the process of feeding back these results and recommendations to local councillors for agreement before we feedback formally to those involved in the consultation.

I can tell you that from the overall results, there was clear support for developing new play facilities on the site with a majority of people feeling we should invest the play facilities funding in Colley Park. New play equipment also came top of the votes for what would encourage people to use the site more, closely followed by security measures such as CCTV so there is clear support from local people for both play and CCTV.

We plan to progress some general improvements which would include security measures such as CCTV and removal of old and damaged equipment a ‘Phase 1. The Gym equipment was removed earlier as it had been causing some significant antisocial and noise issues for residents living nearby and was also in a poor state of repair. We anticipate the rest of Phase 1 would take place in the Spring.

As the consultation results give a clear mandate for the investment of the play funding on this site as well as security measures, if local councillors are in agreement, we will then look at developing more detailed designs for this play facilities as a ‘Phase 2’ in consultation with local people. At this stage, it is likely that we would develop an area for younger children including play equipment and a small tarmac bike track and an area for older children including climbing equipment, which was voted highest in the schools consultation. We will ensure the siting of these is a suitable distance from properties on the site boundary to minimise any disturbance in the future.

Once we have agreement from the local councillors that they are happy with the proposals, I will be forwarding out a formal consultation report and proposals to all those involved in the consultation. I will ensure one is emailed to you at this email address.

If you have any further questions, please let me know

Kind Regards

Kate Clark
Project Officer”

Not date sadly on when on Phase 2 will happen. However, it has got me thinking more about the reporting of Vandalism/damage, etc in Parks. I’m thinking along the lines of maybe an App, perhaps aimed at children as well as parents that will use the GPS to locate where you are and will automatically email the council once you upload a photo taken on your phone. It could store the photo and location and send it later if it loses a signal or has no data, etc.

Also thinking about if there is more ways to get children involved in parks, like community events, mural painting/art, Gardening groups for children, so they can feel a sense of pride in their Park because they have contributed to it.