Advisory Group

The ReNew Advisory Group are entrepreneurs, creators, business owners, artists and individuals with experience of setting up and running businesses in the Sheffield area and beyond.

The group voluntarily offer support and mentoring to people interested in the Renew scheme or in helping with your business idea in general. You can approach a member directly or alternatively ask the Renew Project Officer to introduce you.

The sorts of things the group have advised people on in the past include:
• Finding out what licences you might need,
• How to write your first budget,
• How to fund raise,
• Where to advertise and marketing.

The group are happy to help but please remember all support is voluntary and is done alongside their day-today roles.

The Advisory Group also guide the Renew board and offer input on how the Renew scheme should run in order to best support new and existing businesses.

Advisory Board

Jo Wingate

Sensoria Festival

Jo is the founder of Sensoria Festival, and since 2008 the organisation has enjoyed a national and international reputation for innovation and exciting ways of presenting. From music gigs to film shoot locations, the festival is particularly well known for its use of unusual spaces, many of which have lain unused for years.

Top Skills
  • Film and Music
  • Events management
  • Marketing and funding

John Clark

Bank Street Arts

John has set up a clothing business, a school, an arts centre, a-v publishing and packaging companies, written bestselling books, lectured worldwide, advised on all aspects of writing and contractual matters, worked in fashion, writing, higher education, theatre, done degrees in English & Drama, Linguistics and Fine Art, trained as a counsellor and much more!

Top Skills
  • Verbal dexterity
  • Provocative, if thoughtful, agitation
  • Maverick entrepreneur

Rachel Salway

[email protected]

After 15 years in retail and leisure management, Rachel launched her own fairtrade fashion website and party-plan business in Sheffield. She has recently taken a temporary space in Manchester similar to the ReNew programme, and believes this venture and the challenges it brings will also help the advisory group from another perspective.

Top Skills
  • Business Management (leisure and retail management over 15 years)
  • Visionary creative (delivering the creative vision)

Richard Motley

Integreat Plus
[email protected]

Richard is an urban regeneration specialist, broker, and facilitator, with over 20 years experience in the fields of place making, regeneration, housing, cultural and creative industries, social enterprise and economic development. Richard then set up Integreat Plus as a new social enterprise to support the public, private and third sectors in delivering their strategic ambitions for places.

Top Skills
  • Community and urban regeneration
  • Place based economic development specialising in place making for the Creative and digital industries
  • Feasibility and Business Planning

Sara Hill

Now ThenOpus Independents
[email protected]

Sara is Director of four social enterprises in Sheffield which she helped incorporate. Opus Independents publishes Now Then magazine and runs Wordlife live literature events. Mesters Events specialises in outdoor festivals and has a large portfolio of events. Mesters Works rents studio space to artists and start up businesses and Peace in the Park is a free music festival that raises money for charities.

Top Skills
  • Multi-Arts events
  • Licencing/Health and Safety /Finance (the boring legal bits)
  • Festivals indoors and out

Steve Rimmer

[email protected]

Steve is a Trustee of CADS Creative Art Development Space and an entrepreneur. CADs offers affordable studio space and is an enabler for new start-up businesses.

Top Skills
  • Property finding, negotiations and management
  • Production support
  • Creative Industry networks and contacts

Amy Beard

Point Blank Theatre

Amy has an artistic interest in using alternative spaces for performance. Having made work for; museums, boats, empty shops, storage facilities and warehouses. This interest led Amy to a chance meeting with an empty property third party negotiator, from this meeting Point Blank have worked with landlords to secure empty properties in various locations on short term meanwhile leases.

Top Skills
  • Working with landlords
  • Access to regional empty shop networks
  • Working methodologies and templates for ‘empty shop to occupancy’

Andy Cook

Yellow Arch Studios
[email protected]

At the age of sixteen, Andy leased his first city centre property from the Methodist Church and started 're-generating'. Andy has personally rebuilt, refurbished and project managed well over a dozen buildings, including music studios, performance spaces, retail outlets and most recently a fully licensed music venue, Yellow Arch Studios.

Top Skills
  • Property Refurbishment & Building Regulations
  • Business Ideas & Planning
  • Licensing & Health & Safety

Ben Keegan


Ben has been the CEO of Roundabout Ltd for the past 10 years, where he is constantly finding new and innovative to meet funding gaps. Ben has links with Sheffield's Voluntary, Creative and Digital sectors, as well as the Universities and City Council. Ben's experience of taking over an empty shop in Sheffield to use as an advice centre for homeless people gave him first hand experience of the logistics of bringing empty properties back into use.

Top Skills
  • Funding and volunteers
  • Charity status
  • Legal aspects of taking on properties

Carolyn Butterworth

Sheffield University Architecture

My role at Sheffield University School of Architecture (SSoA) is centred around fostering spatial collaborations between the university, the city and local communities through ‘live projects’. This has resulted in many instances where vacant buildings have been occupied by my students for exhibitions, activities and presentations.

Top Skills
  • Creative community engagement in the built environment
  • Design visions for bottom-up transformation of the city
  • The role students can play in the planned future of the city

Felicity Hoy

Common People
[email protected]

Felicity set up Common People up around a year and a half ago to try and combat the empty shop problem in Sheffield city centre. Common People has since grown to open a pop up shop and a meanwhile use coworking space in the city centre to encourage more self-employed people and small businesses to work from town.

Top Skills
  • Pop Up Shops advice and rental
  • Networking: Very well connected in Sheffield,
  • Social Media Advice

James O’Hara

The Great GatsbyPicture House Social
[email protected]

Being the owner of a number of busy bar businesses as well as one of the founding members of Tramlines festival has given James a good grounding in working with the council from the initial planning processes through to licensing and everything in between. James' new venture Picture House Social involved a lot of work in transforming the basement of Abbeydale Picture House from a dilapidated space back up to modern spec and standards, meeting a very detailed criteria from the planning department.

Top Skills
  • Brand creation and social media (In relation to The Great Gatsby & Picture House Social)
  • Management and Motivation of staff and colleagues (I employ 50 staff)
  • Owner of food, beverage, live music and night time economy based businesses.

Janet Barnes

York Museums Trust

I have had lots of experience working in the arts and heritage for over 30 years and am currently the CEO of York Museums Trust. I am retiring this year and as I have always lived in Sheffield I would like to put something back

Top Skills
  • Organisational administration especially Charity Governance
  • Fundraising - (ACE, HLF and trusts and foundations) and building Partnership working
  • Art projects development and programming