Heeley City Farm welcomes new CEO Stuart Gillis

Heeley City Farm’s new boss says his new role has given him plenty to smile about.

By errol edwards
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 2:01 pm

Incoming chief executive Stuart Gillis started his new role on Tuesday and does so as the organisation celebrates its 40th anniversary.

He is the former director of the National Waterways Museum, the founding chief executive of Derby Museums Trust and former manager of Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk.

And until recently he has been a teacher of history at Sheffield Park Academy and Barnsley Academy.

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Sue Pearson

Stuart said: “Heeley City Farm has been embedding itself into the lives of Sheffield citizens for over 40 years. My first and lasting impression of the farm is to smile from ear to ear.

“I am delighted to be joining. I have been privileged in my career to manage galleries, museums, attractions, and even a rare breed farm.

“I have spent the last three years teaching in and around Sheffield.

“I see how special Heeley City Farm already is, and recognise our city as a place that is full of diversity, talent, and innovation.”

Heeley City Farm Cafe

Stuart says the farm’s specialism is helping people of all ages connect with questions about food such as where it comes from and where it should come from as well as how people can afford to eat the right food.

“I want to know how far Heeley City Farm can help Sheffield people work out their own role in answering these questions,” he explained.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with my team and with partners as we drive forward and try to make our best possible contribution to the city of Sheffield.”

Outgoing CEO Sue Pearson, who is retiring, has played a huge role in securing a good financial position for the charity, growing its health and well being offering and securing new funding streams to enable the farm to continue its work.

Out door Classroom

The farm is now the strategic lead for the Healthy Activities and Food programme in south Sheffield.

Sue said: “I'm delighted to have been part of the journey at Heeley City Farm for the last four years.

"It is a very special place and I know that what we do every day makes a huge difference to the quality of life of our many visitors and participants. The staff team, and all our lovely volunteers welcome Stuart, and will support him in taking the farm forward into a new era in which addressing inequality, taking action on climate change and developing sustainable local food systems will be more important than ever.”

Sue said the farm had grown quite a bit despite of Covid and now earns a lot of our money itself through the cafe and selling plants which it grows organically.

Sue Pearson Lives Heeley City Farm after four years.

“The plug is we’re is a lot cheaper than B&Q, and buying plants from us is supporting the work of the farm and the charity,” she said.

“We do a lot of services for the Government as well. The educational work on adult learning and health and wellbeing community-based projects.”

Projects include cooking courses for people on low incomes and growing, using and eating healthy food.

The farmʼs trustees thanked Sue for consolidating the farmʼs business model and getting it safely through the Covid pandemic and praised her dedication over the past four years which they say has secured a stable position for the farm.

Heeley City Farm