'Force of nature' Tessa is The Star and The Moor's first community champion

Our search to find Sheffield's unsung heroes has brought us to a 'force of nature' working hard to improve things for her neighbours.

Wednesday, 1st November 2017, 11:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:45 am
Tessa Lupton, who set up the Friends of Wolfe Road Park Facebook group and helped secure 10,000 towards improvements, is the first winner in The Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champion awards.

The Star can today reveal that the first winner in The Moor Pride In Sheffield Community Champion awards is Fox Hill's Tessa Lupton.

The 32-year-old was nominated by her local councillor Tony Damms for her campaign to get new play equipment for youngsters installed in Wolfe Road Park, which has been repeatedly targeted by vandals.

Tessa is working to improve the park for all who use it.

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Her persistence and positivity encouraged coun Damms and his fellow Southey members to set aside £10,000 from their ward pot for the improvements.

But Tessa has not stopped there. She has been busy promoting the park to try to get people to respect it and deter any future vandalism.

And she also hopes to secure further funding in the future to provide something for older children in the area to do.

Tessa's campaign stemmed from discussions with other mums at a Fox Hill toddler group. From there, Tessa set up the Friends of Wolfe Road Park group on Facebook, and began to speak to councillors about her hope for the park.

The park has been a target for vandals.

"I just sort of bent their arms and their ears about it," said Tessa, who coun Damms described as a 'force of nature'.

"There was a lot of negativity, saying it would just get trashed again. There are issues in the area.

"But I just thought you can't let people like that win. They are the minority in the area."

With funding for the new equipment secured, there might have been a temptation to say 'job done'. But that didn't occur to Tessa.

Tessa, pictured with daughter Penny, was described as a 'force of nature' by coun Tony Damms.

She is now planning visits to schools in the area to tell children about their new park and also spread a message of respect.

"They might not be the individuals causing trouble that you get to speak to. But maybe it's their siblings and others that they know," said Tessa.

"If we can get the target audience of who we want in the playground to engage as well, then we are off to a fighting start."

Other ideas include getting Fox Hill children to create a banner that will go on display in the park, and involving firefighters both in the outreach work and in the opening day.

Tessa is working to improve the park for all who use it.

Tessa's background is in play engagement, so some of this is familiar. But her work with Wolfe Park was her first foray into community work.

She has since joined the local Tara and is likely to become a well-known face in the area in the coming years.

"I would really like to see a community garden and a bit of grow-your-own," she said. "It could benefit people from all walks of life.

"We've got quite a lot of unused spaces in the back of Fox Hill Road. A lot of grass that no-one really does anything with.

"What's really good is that you see different generations pulling together. I've met people in the Tara who have lived here since the estate was built, and they can tell you what it was like back then and how much it has changed.

"Those kind of people are really useful because they have got so much input and they really care about the area as well."

The park has been a target for vandals.

The Friends of Wolfe Road Park Facebook group is always open to new members.

The Star is working with Aberdeen Asset Management, which co-owns The Moor. As part of its charity foundation the firm will give every winner £250 towards their cause. Tessa will also get a special prize from one of The Moor's businesses, and her photo will be featured on a special poster on the street for the next month.

The Moor centre manager Amanda Phillips said: "The Moor is delighted to have such a worthy first community champion. Looking at the entries it's really heartwarming to see so many doing great work for their local area."

Tessa, pictured with daughter Penny, was described as a 'force of nature' by coun Tony Damms.