Favourite Things: Sheffield is full of great people, history and views

Jo Booth is the Talent Match Sheffield City Region programme manager at Sheffield Futures, which helps our most vulnerable young people into lasting employment.

Thursday, 9th November 2017, 5:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:02 pm
Jo Booth at Firth Park which is one of her favourite places in Sheffield.

The programme has just a year left to run unless more funds can be found. Sheffield Futures, which delivers the programme, is campaigning to ensure Talent Match’s legacy lives on - and is staging No One Left Behind, a conference to share the project’s success stories over the last two years, At Rotherham’sAESSEAL New York Stadium on Friday November 10.

Jo, aged 48, is from Nottinghamshire and began her career in education as a volunteer. She progressed to head of department in a large college before working nationally for a charity providing ‘more, better and different’ education.

She settled in Sheffield seven years ago with her partner, Joff, who she met online.

Family and friends

When I arrived in Sheffield the only people i knew were my partner and his family, so it was a totally fresh landscape.

My step-daughters were still at secondary school, so I got to learn the lay of the land quite quickly by ferrying them backwards and forwards, as you do.

I started volunteering at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, where my network of Sheffield friends really started building. In my time at Sheffield Futures that network has really expanded – it just shows how work connects you to people.

Firth park neighbourhood

This area has such a mix of people and cultures. And buildings, to - from the Edwardian house I live in to the old library (which is now an Islamic school) and the First Start Centre on the park (with a fabulous café serving home-made cakes)

You can buy almost anything you need in the local shops and you’re never far away from some authentic world foods. I love history and was fascinated to learn that the park itself was opened in 1875 by royalty after being gifted by Mark Firth, the steel manufacturer.

Voluntary Sector

It’s great to live in a city with such a vibrant and diverse Third Sector and I’m proud to work at Sheffield Futures, our local young people’s charity providing support and mentoring and specialist support for those who need it most.

Managing the Talent Match programme in Sheffield City Region gives me the opportunity to partner with some amazing organisations, who work alongside us to support long term unemployed people aged 18-24 move closer towards valuable and rewarding employment.


Coming to the city from a small village by the River Trent, I thought I’d miss the feel of the countryside and the open views I’d started to take for granted. But no.

Even in the heart of the city, you only have to look up to see the hills and fields around us. Although nothing quite compares to the view I used to have at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust – seeing as far as Drax Power Station and chickens just outside the office door.


When I relocated here seven years ago it was important to me to live somewhere with good transport links, in easy reach of my previous life in Nottinghamshire, and with varied job opportunities (as I was at risk of redundancy at the time).

I couldn’t have landed anywhere better. But I wish it was the same for the unemployed young people I support at work.

Accent and slang

Yes, I’m one of the many who’ve fallen foul of asking for a ‘fish cake’ in the chippy. And we regularly have the ‘cob vs bread cake’ debate at work.

I love seeing how Sheffielders wear their accent with pride. And I love that advert on Hanover Way - “Reyt good curreh”

Creative community

I’m a true believer in the power of the arts in helping people de-stress. I’ve experienced the beneficial effects myself, and am passionate about including young people in these types of activities.

I love playing around with arts and crafts; it’s a great way to relax. Since being at Sheffield Futures I’ve tried out pottery, fused glass-making and fabric printing classes, and am now trying to re-learn crochet.