April 12, 2024 by Rikki Thompson
A Day In The Life
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Lisa Partridge, is a dedicated and passionate historian who is making a significant impact as the Community Network Developer for Northern Ireland with Eden Project Communities. A native of Portadown, Lisa’s journey has been marked by academic achievements, a love for history, and a strong desire to work within the realms of history and heritage.

As a dedicated volunteer in various local groups and organisations in Portadown, Lisa eagerly immerses herself in any opportunity to contribute. From cooking up hearty Ulster fry breakfasts to meticulously crafting funding applications, Lisa finds fulfillment in the diverse range of tasks.

Eden Communities Lisa Partridge Portadown

With an organisational addiction and an eye for detail, Lisa thrives on ensuring every aspect comes together seamlessly. Additionally, Lisa admits to being a staunch advocate for promoting women’s heritage and history, recognising the invaluable role and contributions of women in society. Through her involvement in local women’s organizations, she has witnessed the importance of women’s empowerment and the creation of a strong support network.

Lisa’s educational journey began at Craigavon Senior High School, where she completed her GCSE’s. Her thirst for knowledge and passion for personal growth led her to pursue A-Levels at Southern Regional College in Armagh. In 2014, Lisa achieved a major milestone by obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies from Ulster University, Jordanstown. Throughout her academic journey, Lisa’s favourite subject was always history, fueling her desire to delve deeper into the employment fields of Heritage and Tourism.

However Lisa admits her chosen career path wasn’t initially on her radar and following a stint of employment in the retail sector, an opportunity to marry her passion for history with earning potential soon presented itself.

From the age of 16, Lisa worked in the retail sector, steadily climbing the ladder after graduating. With a plan to pursue a career in retail, life had other plans for the budding historian. An exciting job opportunity arose as a Project Manager with Portadown Heritage Tours, focusing on community relations within Community Heritage and Tourism. It was an unexpected chance to combine her love for history and her business skills.

“I was inspired to pursue my current career  by complete accident and never set out with the aim of working within the community. Originally I wanted to do a degree in history but felt there wasn’t a lot of job opportunities so I chose to do Business Studies instead so it all started with a twist of fate and a desire to pursue my passion for history, which eventually led me to the fulfilling world of community work”.

“I went for the role of Project Manager was successful. It centered on building community relations within Community Heritage and Tourism. So, I ended up working within the history and heritage sector after all. But my Business Degree was so helpful for the role and I was able to learn the history along the way.

“There was a lot of community work within my role. I loved helping groups and individuals develop their ideas, bring them to life and seeing all the amazing things that happen when people come together”.

The more Lisa immersed herself in community work, the more she realised her passion for it. In late 2023, another incredible opportunity presented itself—the role of Community Network Developer for Northern Ireland within the Communities Team of Eden Project, based in Cornwall. It was an offer she couldn’t resist.

Lisa’s new role allows her to engage with individuals and organisations across Northern Ireland while fostering connections and collaboration. Her commitment to the community extends beyond her professional responsibilities, as she actively contributes her time and efforts to support local initiatives.

“Now I find myself fully immersed in the community sector, working towards creating positive change and making a difference in people’s lives”.

Although her free time diminished as her community involvement has grown, Lisa proclaims she “wouldn’t trade it for anything. I truly love what I do”.

Throughout her journey, Lisa has learned some valuable lessons about working within the community admitting that every day can be unpredictable and challenging. Along the way, she has learned valuable lessons that have shaped her perspective and approach to community work. But for this Portadown woman the importance of embracing criticism and building a strong support system, and fostering community cohesion is what helps her stay grounded.

“You can’t please everyone, and criticism is inevitable. It can take a toll on your mental health, but remember to surround yourself with a support system that recognises your fantastic work and how far you’ve come. Volunteers are the backbone of community work. Without them, it’s tough to bring ideas to life. When working with volunteers, make sure to value their input and ideas. It’s truly the power of bringing people together”.

“Community work requires dedication and commitment. Celebrate your successes, even if some events or ideas don’t receive the support you hoped for. Take a step back, appreciate what your team has achieved, and embrace the new skills you’ve acquired. If things don’t go as planned, regroup, go back to the drawing board, and give it another shot”.

Can you share a memorable or challenging moment you’ve encountered related to your role?

“I have a few memorable moments from the last couple of months. But I have been blown away by the creativity and success of fantastic community projects that are happening across Northern Ireland. A lot of those project ideas were born from neighbours coming together over a “Big Lunch.

“A Big Lunch can be anything from a small gathering in a garden or park to a larger party that involves the whole street. All sorts of ideas and projects can start with a Big Lunch. Often, they start simple and bring people together to share friendship, food and fun. I have the fantastic opportunity of bringing an Eden Project Communities Event to my hometown of Portadown on the 13th April. My first major event since coming to the role at the end of 2023, so that will definitely be a memorable moment. It is a fantastic opportunity for local community organisations and volunteers. It has been a wonderful opportunity to put Portadown on the map for all the right reasons.

What has been the most memorable or challenging moment you’ve encountered in your professional life? 

“I find the most challenging part of working within the community is knowing when to say No and by saying No, it doesn’t mean that idea doesn’t come to life but it just starts its journey in a different way. The reality is and those working within community will know exactly where I am coming from. We get so invested in peoples ideas and projects and want to see them succeed because we see how much they mean to those within that community. We can only stretch ourselves so far. Delegation is a wonderful tool and asking for help is perfectly okay. More than likely when we ask for help, we bring new skills and ways of thinking to the table”.

Amidst the busyness, Lisa cherishes moments of tranquility in nature, often accompanied by her beloved Golden Retriever, Shadow. Whether it’s serene walks on the beach or exploring forest parks, these moments rejuvenate her spirit. Furthermore, Lisa has a deep wanderlust and finds immense joy in travelling with friends, discovering new cities, and immersing myself in diverse cultures. As a self-proclaimed history freak, her heart is drawn to the battlefields of France and Belgium, particularly those of the First World War.

“Having been previously involved in a major research project which discovered so many forgotten stories of local men and women who served, I always feel a deep connection to their stories. I am passionate about keeping those stories to the forefront of local history and travelling out to the battlefields at least once a year to learn more about their experience”.

“One piece of advice I would give to someone starting off within this field is be patient and be prepared for change. Outside factors going on within the world means communities are constantly changing and we have to adapt to that. But not everyone will be onboard for those changes and it will take time for the change to happen. This is where patience is key. Patience leads to a greater understanding and learning experience for all”.

In her pursuit of community involvement, Lisa has embraced the role of a volunteer across various local groups and organisations. Lisa always eager to lend a hand in organising events, assisting with administrative tasks, and contributing to fundraising efforts. Making a positive impact is her driving force!

Lisa’s unwavering passion for history and heritage has been a driving force in her professional endeavors. Lisa has found fulfillment in her role as the Community Network Developer and her work connecting with the community, preserving cultural heritage, and creating positive change for all.


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