End of an era as Fairfield community champion retires

A community stalwart in Buxton has stepped down from her role after more than two decades of helping those in need.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:44 pm

Lia Roos has taken the decision to retire as chair of the Residents of Fairfield Association (RoFA), an organisation she has led for over 20 years.

She said: “I’m at that wonderful age of 73 where everything is starting to ache where it didn’t ache before.

"It's time for new blood and some fresh ideas for RoFA.”

Sign up to our daily Buxton Advertiser Today newsletter

Lia Roos retires from the Residents of Fairfield Association

RoFA has been at the heart of the Fairfield community for many years, with volunteers helping local residents with all aspects of their life.

This could be through helping people find employment or supporting those in need with food.

Lia has been at the helm of the association for more than two decades and says that while so much has changed over that time, the core values of the group have remained the same.

"We are still a community helping the community but back when I started people were coming to us asking us how to fill in paper forms,” she said.

Lia Roos retires from the Residents of Fairfield Association

"Now although we still help people fill in those overly complicated government forms everything's online now.”

RoFA goes back many years to when Rose Byatte and Alex Hopkins set up the community group based out of their dining room.

Lia, who became part of the Fairfield community more than 40 years ago, popped along to see them one day and asked if she could help out.

She was initially given a Wednesday morning shift and then took on more and more shifts and responsibility until she became chair when Alex and Rose retired.

When asked what she loved most about her time at RoFA, Lia said: “That’s an easy one.

"I love watching people achieve their potential, particularly those who may not even believe they have any potential but go on to do something that makes them happy.

"For me RoFA isn’t about getting people a quick fix of a job and giving a meal or two to people who may be struggling.

"We deal with everything and help people in all aspects of life.

"There is no point getting a job for the sake of getting a job if it’s not going to make them happy in the long run because they won’t want to go and then they will not be giving their best.

"So we help people follow their passions, put people on training courses and help them get the job they want.

"We don’t just do the discounted food shop, we help people with budgeting too and we provide a place for families to play together and a safe space for youngsters to hang out.

"But it’s not just me at RoFA, there are so many wonderful and talented volunteers who all help make the group work.

"It’s the volunteers who come up with the ideas and help run the groups and make change happen.

"And it will be the volunteers who continue to run the groups now I have stepped down as chair."

Read More

Read More
High Peak sisters to join Ashgate Hospice's Sparkle Night Walk in memory of dad

Lia has been involved with many new projects over her 20 years with RoFA but she is most proud of the Dream Scheme, a programme which she set up for children under 16.

The project provides extra curricular and community based activities for youngsters in Fairfield.

One main initiative the Dream Scheme youngsters have been involved with over the years is helping to clear snow from the properties of elderly residents.

She said: “I love my Dream Scheme kids.

"I love seeing them blossom and grow.

“You can’t help everyone in the world but you can do your bit for your community and these young people are our future.

"So we have to work with them and understand them and help set them up for a positive life.”

Lia stepped down at the AGM held earlier in the month and officially passed the baton on to Paddy Bann who will become the new chair.

She said: “Paddy has so many great ideas so it will be exciting to watch RoFA develop and grow.

"I think every small little town needs its own RoFA because the love and support given by everyone makes the community a better place.

"I know when the chips are down the people of Fairfield step up to help others.

"I have been here so long now I have seen it thrive but also fall on hard times but then rebuild and come back stronger.”

She added: "I feel very lucky to call Fairfield my home. I love it here and it has been a true privilege to work with such a wonderful community.

“But this isn’t the last you are ever going to see of me.

"I'm still here, still living in Fairfield and I’ll still talk to people as they walk past my garden.

“It just means now I will be able to join in with some of the groups like the new walking group rather than just organise them!”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. – Louise Cooper, editor.