Jen Lowthrop - Chair of Peak District National Park Foundation
Originally from Birchover, Jen has travelled widely and was based in London before moving home to Derbyshire in 2016.
Jen has been chair of trustees of the Peak District National Park Foundation since its launch in February 2019.
She says: "My parents inspired my love of the Peak District and my interest in the environment and sustainability.
"My mum, Roma Bothamley, has run various cafes and delis in the area while my dad, Nigel Lowthrop, used to run a fencing business, working with farmers and landowners in the Peak District. There are pictures of me plonked in a field in a baby seat while he worked!
"When I was 10, my dad moved to Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire to run an environmental social enterprise. He lived in the middle of a 34-acre wood, so I’ve been doing what we now call forest bathing for many years!
"I love woodland - there’s so much to learn. There’s still so much I need to learn about plants and trees, but my dad knows it all.
"I used to volunteer for environmental youth projects – my first volunteering was when I was about 11 when me and my friend cleared out the pond at the Whitworth Institute in Darley Dale."
Jen has previously worked in the charity sector and started her career in volunteer management. She has been a freelancer for eight years and continues to work primarily with charities, councils and small and medium-sized businesses.
In addition to Feel Good Do Good and Coworking Corner, she also maintains a blog, She Gets Around, which began when Jen was travelling and volunteering around South and South East Asia.
Previously a trustee of organisations in Lincolnshire and London, Jen was looking for a new opportunity when her boyfriend stumbled across news of the fledgling Peak District National Park Foundation.
Jen recalls: "Olly was looking for a job and this came up! I was wanting to do something more environmental - and this matched my passions. It was a trustee role and a challenge - setting up a new charity and being involved right from the start.
"I’d like to see the Foundation grow and grow and become a core part of the Peak District - something everyone knows about. I want us to be able to support more and more projects, both Authority ones and community projects.
"It’s also about helping more people to appreciate the National Park and I’m particularly keen to support accessibility projects, whether that’s in terms of creating more easily accessible paths or helping people to get here.
"It’s about people experiencing that feeling of being in nature, feeling their feet squelching in the mud."
Though always a ‘country girl’ at heart, Jen admits to not fully appreciating the benefits of growing up in the Peak District until she left.
She says: "When I look back at my childhood, there’d be camping trips with friends and parties in fields - things we couldn’t have done in a city.
"My work took me to London, where I lived, on and off, for 10 years. But more or less every weekend, I'd escape back here or to my dad’s in the woods. I love London but I don’t feel the need to go back to the city as much as I felt the need to come home when I lived there.
"I need fresh air and views. It’ so important for our health, as the last year and a half of Covid-19 has highlighted.
"Olly and I have adopted a rescue dog - Cookie - from Romania and I made a pledge to do a proper walk every day. Some days during lockdown, I'd walk to my mum's in Birchover, wave to her and walk back - a 12 to 13 mile round trip. It kept me going through a difficult time.
"As part of the Foundation, I want to help more people to experience that and to benefit, but also to understand the importance of looking after the Peak District."
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