Moray Reach Out is Rebranding!

Over the last several months Moray Reach Out has been working on an organisation wide rebranding.

This idea came to us after having another charity and social enterprise visit us. Their suggestion was a good fit with our aim to pull all of our social enterprises more closely together. As Moray Reach Out works in five different sites over three different towns we really wanted to make everyone feel more connected under the Moray Reach Out umbrella!

First we started with our Moray Reach Out logo. As much as we liked the colours we felt that our logo could be re-designed to represent who we are and what we do. We wanted it to be colourful, bright and inviting, just like us. We are always reaching out and trying to empower lives throughout our community and we want our new logo to do the same. Each hand and colour represents one of our social enterprises!

While looking at the names of our own social enterprises, it really made us think about how we could make them more clear to our customers. Over the next month you will see our website, social media and shop signs transitioning over to our new names. Our appearance might change but we continue to be the same Moray Reach Out!!

In Stitches is Moray Reach Out: Embroidery and Fine Gifts

Buckie Yarns is Moray Reach Out: Yarns and Crafts

Waste Watchers is Moray Reach Out: Recycling

Each of these names, we feel help to represent what we do at each of our social enterprises. The hands on each logo help to bring us all together under the Moray Reach Out brand, which is really about creating an inclusive workplace that empowers lives!

Our Your Choice Success: Interview with William

This week I sat down with William, our Your Choice success story turned volunteer! William started attending the shop about fourteen weeks ago. After completing the 12 weeks of the Your Choice Programme he said he wanted to continue to come to the shop as a volunteer.

William said that his Occupational Therapist first suggested attending the Moray Reach Out shop in Elgin. He remembers that he didn’t know very much about the project before coming here but he felt like he belonged right away when he walked in. Shirley, the project coordinator agreed that the staff, volunteers and trainees all felt like he fitted in right away.

I then asked William what he liked best about coming to the shop. He replied that he loves the banter with the trainees along with the friendship and company of all the staff and volunteers. He feels that training at the shop has increased his confidence greatly. Shirley agreed that she has seen a big difference in William’s communication and has seen his initiative in activities continue to increase. She also goes on to explain that all the trainees love William and are always asking after him when he isn’t in the shop. Shirley feels that William has really made an effort to get to know everyone and has really come out of his shell.

William also felt that the skills he is gaining in the shop can be used in other areas of his life. He explained that he is also involved in the Health Walk and uses his skills learned at the shop there. In fact they have recently suggested to train him as a leader due to his gain in confidence. He also mentioned that due to his experience here the Job Centre has now changed his job experience to include a supervisory role. Shirley explains that although William is a volunteer now and has different responsibilities, we are all continuing to work on building his confidence and his range of training and experiences.

Asking William why he thought Moray Reach Out was important to the community, he simply responded that the most important thing Moray Reach Out does is help people! He said that he always looks forward to coming in. William continued, saying that he definitely recommends people who are in a stage of recovery from a period of poor mental health to come in and try out the Your Choice Programme! He explains that if you’re prepared to put the time in and be patient with yourself and everyone around you, you can really give it a go!

If you have suffered a period of poor mental health and want to build your confidence through training at one of our sites please get in contact about our Your Choice programme! You can email info@morayreachout.org.uk, call 07842 356162 or come in to one of our sites!

Embroidery with the Moray School Bank

Last week we had a great group of girls come into the shop to learn about our embroidery service. The girls are volunteers on the fundraising committee for the Moray School Bank. They all take part in decisions about fundraising and participate in events. The girls are also part of a crafting club that create crafts to sell in aid of Moray School Bank.

The Moray School Bank recently approached our embroidery service to get their logo digitised and to get new hoodies and t-shirts. As the girls are all crafty they were really interested in seeing how the embroidery machines work!

We made an appointment for the girls to come into see the machines in action! The logo for the Moray School Bank takes close to an hour to embroider, so we thought it would be a fun idea for each girl to try out the machine by embroidering something on a hanky for Christmas!

The girls all did an amazing job putting the fabric into the machines, typing what they wanted to embroider and choosing fonts and colours. They were able to embroider their hanky from start to finish with minimal support.

We hope they all had a great time learning about embroidery and trying out our machines for themselves!

Sneak Peek of our Catwalk November 9th!

Several months ago we came into contact with Great Scot Scotland, a clothing company, whose offices are in Elgin just down the High Street from our shop In Stitches, our Moray Reach Out Embroidery service! Great Scot has been kind enough to sponsor our Catwalk and allow us to show off their amazing tweed trends!

We have been working very hard to pull together a fashion show with our own trainees, staff and volunteers modelling their jackets, waistcoats and more! The event will be held on the 9 November at 7:00 p.m. Entry if free! We will also be providing free refreshments!

Local businesses have been kind enough to donate some amazing prizes for our raffle! Some of these include a £100 Great Scot gift card, a hamper from Walkers, Tea for Two at Cafe Muse, a gift card for Kilt Hire, and much much more!

We will be selling raffle tickets all week at In Stitches (15 High Street, Elgin) Buckie Yarns (33 West Church Street, Buckie) and the Thrift Shop (51 West Church Street, Buckie). Raffle tickets will also be available during our fashion show where we will draw the prizes!

We would love to see everyone there! It is going to be a great event with amazing fashion! Each raffle ticket sold will be in aide of creating more opportunities for vulnerable adults throughout Moray!

Our Community Impact Award!

On 6th October the Third Sector Interface held their Impact Awards at Innes House. Moray Reach Out was very excited and honoured to discover a month ago that we were nominated in four out of the seven categories.

The categories included Environmental Impact, Economic Impact, Community Impact and Social Impact. With so many amazing social enterprises, charities and local businesses in attendance we were very excited to have been recognised with these nominations.

TsiMORAY put on a wonderful event at Innes House (with our own In Stitches providing the table decorations!). It was a fantastic evening with great hosts and speakers!

When the awards were being announced all of the Moray Reach Out attendees were thrilled and surprised when Moray Reach Out was announced as the Community Impact winner!

This award was judged based on the concept of Community Impact as:

‘An organisation making communities safer, stronger, healthier, wealthier or a better place to live. This could include starting or running community initiatives or activities, providing employment, training and/or volunteer opportunities for local people or those furthest from the job market. This category is open to interpretation and acknowledges individuals and organisations who make a difference to local people, improve community morale, the local environment and so much more.’

We want to thank our very passionate staff, volunteers and trainees for making Moray Reach Out such an inclusive place to work and train! We also want to thank the many individuals, local businesses and social enterprises that support us with their custom!

We continually strive to create opportunities that empower lives and hope that we can continue to positively impact the community for many years to come!

Moray Reach Out Trainee Spotlight: Paul

Moray Reach Out wants to highlight one of our trainees in Lossiemouth who loves working at the recycling facility! Paul is one of the originals on the Waste Watchers team as he started out at our Buckie site and then switched to working at Lossiemouth when we took over processing. Paul offered to tell us about his experience working with the Waste Watchers team and why he thinks recycling is important to the community!

When asked why he likes working at Waste Watchers Paul answered, because it’s really good fun, he enjoys working on every job and tidying up throughout the day. He also said that he enjoys working as part of a team and helping others!

Outside of Waste Watchers Paul enjoys taking part in the Six Harbour Walk/Cycle! He also loves football – he is a huge Chelsea fan! He explained that he has also been doing a lot of running as he is training for a marathon next March!

Paul discussed why he thinks recycling is so important. He said that if there wasn’t recycling, everything would just be dumped all around including the beach! He went on to say that if the Waste Watchers team didn’t help to process the recycling there would be big piles of rubbish everywhere. Paul feels that it is really important to keep our community clean!

Moray Reach Out wants to recognise all of the great work our trainees do to help our community recycle!

Creating Centrepieces for Tsi IMPACT Awards

Our team in Elgin have been very busy over the past couple of months working on a project for TsiMoray. Several months ago TsiMoray approached In Stitches about the possibility of making centrepieces for their annual IMPACT awards this October.

After discussing the concept for the centrepieces the team started work on transforming glass bottles and jars into candle holders and vases to rest on wood slices.

We used a combination of paint, fabric and decorations to transform these simple jars! The trainees helped to paint thistles, attached tartan fabric and design our creations.

Everyone had a great time making the jars and we are all very excited about the final product, explained Shirley the Project Coordinator of In Stitches.

The tsiMoray’s IMPACT Awards were on Friday 6th October, and Moray Reach Out is very honoured to have been nominated in several categories and to have won the Community Impact Award!

A Year at Moray Reach Out: Digital Marketing Officer

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started at Moray Reach Out! This year has gone by so quickly and I feel that we have all done so much!

I first encountered Moray Reach Out listed on the St Andrews job centre resource and after reading the description applied through ScotGrad. After researching the company and speaking with Shona, I was very excited at the opportunity of joining the team.

Coming in as a recent graduate I had no idea what to expect, but Moray Reach Out continues to surprise me everyday with how diverse, open and vibrant the company is!

I started my journey with the project of creating a Marketing Strategy Plan, that would lay out our where we were and where we wanted to go. Once this report was finished it was time to put all of this into action!

Over the next months we worked on the re-design of the website, and establishing this very blog to share all of the amazing stories that Moray Reach Out holds! New flyers were designed and printed, an e-newsletter was sent out every month and our Facebook pages were established and updated!

Marketing for such a diverse range of businesses and interests has been an amazing challenge, but it hasn’t stopped there. The team are always looking for new and greater opportunities to benefit trainees. For instance, I was lucky enough to be able to speak about MRO’s Your Choice Programme at a few different forums. This programme offers opportunities to those who have experienced a period of poor mental health and want to gain more confidence through working at one of our social enterprises.

I am so grateful to have been able to be involved in so many different projects over my year here and I have learned so much from staff members, volunteers and trainees! It has been so much fun to get to know everyone and show the amazing work we do to a greater audience!

Looking to the future, we hope to continue our push for a rebrand to help make each Moray Reach Out business more recognisable and connected! I am also looking forward to working with students from Moray College on some promotional videos for our businesses – watch this space!

Overall I couldn’t have wished for a better company to join! I want to thank all staff, volunteers, trainees and board members for welcoming me into Moray Reach Out. I want to especially thank Shona for teaching me so much over the past year!

Our new Embroidery Workshop and Show Room!

This week we have been showing off our new showroom and embroidery room at In Stitches! We made the decision that we should switch things around as we need a bit more space for the trainees to continue their training on the machines.

We started by clearing the back room which had previously been used for stock and as a meeting room. Then we invested in brand new stands for our embroidery machines. We (very carefully!) moved our machines to the back and setup shop!

Having the embroidery workshop in the back allows us to create a more structured day with trainees. Each trainee’s progress can be reviewed and monitored in greater detail.

With the machines moved to the back, our shop had a whole new free space in the front! We decided to use it to create a showroom where our customers can see the range of our stock and the quality of our garments!

We have been so happy with the results so far! Our trainees love the space and have been getting more and more involved in both the embroidery and the showroom!

Making over Mannequins

A few months ago a woman named Jacquelyn came in to In Stitches. Little did we know that we would both be able to help each other out!

Jacquelyn had spotted our mannequins in the shop front at In Stitches. She explained to Shirley, that she is a mature student doing a City and Guilds Textile Course and asked if they wouldn’t mind letting her borrow one to display a jacket she had made.

After being delighted by the loan of the mannequin Jacquilyn noticed that it could use a bit of a revamp. As a thank you to the store she offered to refurbish not just the one she used but all of our mannequins!

Silver is before and Beige is after!

As you can see she did an incredible job! She used paint to create an amazing and uniform effect. All of the trainees thought the mannequins look brilliant! You can see below that the trainees have been using all the mannequins to show off our stock! A big thank you to Jacquelyn for all of her hard work and In Stitches wants to wish her luck with the rest of her course!