The Peak District National Park Authority has welcomed Zahid Hamid as the newest member of its 30-strong governing body.
Mr Hamid was selected by Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson for his lengthy expertise in working with young people and voluntary groups, especially in and around the Peak District.
Growing up in Sheffield, he first visited the Peak District as a child on a school trip in 1967. After university he spent more than 20 years with the Sheffield education authority, working with young people, schools, colleges and communities.
He then worked for seven years with voluntary and community groups, and from 2006 he was regional co-ordinator for the Mosaic project, encouraging links between national parks and urban communities who would not normally access beautiful countryside.
Mr Hamid said he welcomed the opportunity to make a difference, especially for young people: “Though I live in Sheffield I am fortunate to live within 3.5 miles of the national park and I feel strongly that all parts of society should know about and experience the awe, power, peace and beauty of this place.
“I think we can do more to connect rural and urban communities, especially young people, so that there is a sense of the national park belonging to everyone and all, then caring for it for future generations.”
He has worked voluntarily for several bodies including the Learning and Skills Council; he is a trustee of youth homelessness charity Roundabout and has links with both Sheffield universities and the Youth Hostels Association.
The Defra Secretary has also re-appointed two members who had reached the end of their current terms with the Authority: Suzanne Leckie for four years, and Christopher Pennell, who chairs the audit, resources and performance committee, for one year.
Authority members deal with planning applications throughout the Peak District National Park.and take strategic decisions on conservation, recreation, access, land management, planning and resources.
Of the 30 members, 16 are local councillors appointed by district, city or county councils, six are elected by parish councils, and eight are appointed for limited terms by the Secretary of State for their expertise in national park issues.