Wednesday 10 August 2016
“It feels like coming home.”
That’s the view of Lisa Firth, Sheffield City Council’s brand-new head of Parks and Countryside, who is taking up the post after an established career in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Ms Firth was born and raised in Stocksbridge, and loves to walk, run and ride around Bolsterstone, the Ewden Valley and the Peak District.
Now, she is in charge of Sheffield’s 800 or so green spaces, including 95 parks and recreation grounds. Together, these make up more than 3,602 hectares of open space.
The 46-year-old said: “I’m really excited about taking up this job, especially at a time when Sheffield is making the most of its credentials as The Outdoor City.
“There’s nowhere else in the world with that blend of urban life and the outdoors, where industry, commerce and outdoor recreation are so seamlessly combined.
“And, being from Sheffield, I’ve seen the city centre being transformed over the years. I’ve worked in London, Leeds, Birmingham and all over the UK, but this is really the only place with such an attractive and friendly city centre.
“Places like the Winter Garden and the Botanical Gardens really are amazing. To now work here, in the city I call home, is a long-held dream come true.”
Sheffield is famous for its parks, being the only major city to have a national park within its boundary, and also having more trees than any other city in Europe – around two million trees, four for every person.
The city also has 14 Green Flag Award-winning parks; more than any other authority in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Ms Firth began her career working at a high street bank, and progressed through the ranks to management level.
She later moved into the voluntary sector, working as Head of Operations for charity Shelter, and latterly as Director of Operations for a housing charity based in Leeds.
Her career has taken her all over the country, but there’s nowhere quite like Sheffield – The Outdoor City.
Ms Firth said: “I’ve worked in everything from banking to helping homeless people finding accommodation, but there really is something special about working in the city that I love, especially at such an exciting time.
“What is going to be particularly important to me is ensuring that communities across Sheffield have access to great quality green spaces, regardless of whether they live in more affluent areas or not.
“I’m really looking forward to taking on this challenge and working with colleagues, partners and members of the public to ensure that Sheffield’s green spaces continue to be outstanding places where people can relax, exercise, play and enjoy themselves.”
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, leisure and parks at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m very happy to have Lisa on board, and look forward to working closely with her to make green spaces in Sheffield – The Outdoor City the very best they can be.”