The FPA Naturally Birmingham Project team a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with you.
I graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in Genetics, after which I joined a a large pharma, Pfizer, discovering drugs against obesity, HIV and pain. I decided to study a Masters In Public Health as I felt quite passionate about focusing more on prevention of ill health, and have never looked back. I secured a place in Public Health Specialty training, and qualified as a consultant in 2014. I’ve worked in Derby City Council and Walsall MBC on a range of portfolios before joining BCC.
Role: I’ve been recruited to lead Naturally Birmingham, a programme all about embedding the value of green spaces in our City. Many of you won’t know but Birmingham has 591 parks and open spaces. My role involves helping citizens and officers get the most out of these assets.
Specialism: ask me about Public Health or volunteering!
Hobbies & Interests: when I get some time between being a CPH, a Mum and Step Mum, I enjoy reading, getting out into green spaces whether walking, cycling or running and learning languages. I’m also Chair of Friends of Swanshurst Park. Playing and cooking with my four yr old son is one of my favourite things to do.
Coffee or Tea: coffee! And preferably a cappuccino.
Favourite Place… New York – whether upstate with my family or in Brooklyn having an amazing brunch.
Fun Fact: I’ve done a 10 mile swim in a local swimming pool for charity.
Role: Green City Manager at Birmingham City Council; part-time Senior Research Fellow at University of Birmingham, and Advisor to the Future Parks Accelerator-‘Naturally Birmingham’
Specialism: Master of Horticulture with the RHS; Landscape Architect; Post Graduate Diploma in Public Service Management. Former Climate Change & Sustainability Manager for 10 years; Research on Sustainable Cities, Urban Green Space and Air Quality.
Hobbies and Interests: Cricket is first love; enjoy world music – community choir, gardening & reading; all forms of natural world.
Coffee or tea?: Both! Favourite tipple- Real Ale.
Favourite place: Japanese Temple Gardens
Fun fact: World Of Music And Dance (WOMAD) is my favourite festival
Sophie is currently on maternity leave. Congratulations Sophie!
Rupi has now left the project to work as a Landscape Architect in a full time role. Congratulations Rupi!
Deborah / Debbie Needle
Role: Community Facilitator for the FPA Naturally Birmingham Project
Specialism: Started her own company, Sylvanus llp, in 2015 which is dedicated to helping people connect with their natural environment. Previously Deborah worked for Birmingham City Council Parks Department as a Park Ranger working closely with Friends Groups in both Country Parks and inner-city urban parks in Ladywood and Perry Barr. She advised the Ranger Service in the creation of a programme of outdoor education for primary schools and supported many, community led, environmental events in parks and green spaces. She is a qualified project manager, has a BSc in environmental science and is a trained Forest Schools leader and still takes groups of preschool children and their families out into parks to build dens, make flowers crowns and splash in puddles.
Hobbies and Interests: Science Fiction, photography, dragonolgy
Coffee or tea? Tea in the morning, Coffee in the afternoon.
Favourite place: Bartolomé Island
Fun fact: Sang for the Queen and Prince Philip.
Dan has now left the project to take up a permanent role with Sandwell Council. Congratulations Dan!
Samantha / Sam Hall
Sam has now left the project and has taken on the challenge of a new role with Birmingham City Council. Congratulations Sam!
Role: City of Nature Officer
Specialism: Despite initially studying economic and social history, I became increasingly interest in planning and city governance in my mid-twenties, leading to my current undertaking of an MSc in Spatial Planning with a focus on sustainability and cities. Following a year on the graduate scheme in Planning & Regeneration at BCC and with an emerging understanding and skillset from my MSc I found myself drawn to the City of Nature and am thrilled to be part of so innovative and necessary a project.
Hobbies and Interests: It has to be cooking! I am lucky to have a chef for a partner so 99% of conversation tends to revolve around food.
Coffee or tea? No question, it’s coffee for me. (sorry mum)
Favourite place: Scotland. Living in Glasgow for 4 years and since travelling around the coast, Highlands and Islands I am continually amazed by the landscape and warmed by the humour of the Scots. The UK has so much natural beauty to offer.
Fun fact: I was 6ft tall aged 11!