Ending the Year on a High

Ending the Year on a High 

An open day, a new home and a parade; MRO’s reflections on the last two months of a memorable year.

On the 16th of November Moray Reach Out held an Open Day in our new home in the centre of Buckie. Well supported by many from the local community and the surrounding area the day allowed us to shine a spotlight onto all of our current projects and initiatives in addition to telling people all about the exciting future we have planned for our new building.

Open day attractions included a yarn spinning demonstration by the MRO staff and volunteers involved in the new Art Yarn project, a display table set up by the Elgin based embroidery team who used the event as an opportunity to try and promote their services to local organisations in addition to a series of stalls selling some of the wares that can be found in MRO’s Yarns & Craft and Embroidery & Fine Gifts shops. The Buckie and Lossie recycling teams also participated, setting up an information booth where members of the public could learn more about what kind of plastics can be recycled.


Open Day team photo in our new home!


In addition to celebrating our first Open Day in the new building we also celebrated another exciting first; this was taking part in the Buckie Christmas Kracker parade on the 1st of December. The event is a Buckie tradition and consists of a parade through the town centre, a Christmas fayre and plenty of music finishing with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights. (More information about the event can be found on the Buckie Christmas Kracker Facebook Page).

Aiming to make a big impact on our first appearance we decided to enter a float that all three of our teams could help to decorate. MRO’s ‘Yarns & Crafts’ went on to create some giant snowmen, the embroidery team made some beautiful bunting and the recycling team, had great fun making some maracas out of some of the materials they normally help to recycle! Everyone had a great time and there’s definite interest from across all of the teams to make this into an annual event.


Some of the trainees manning our float during the Buckie Christmas Kracker parade.


On one final note, Moray Reach Out would like to wish all of its customers, trainees, volunteers, staff and the Board of Directors a wonderful time over the festive period. We thank you for all the support you’ve given us over that last year and hope that you, like us, are looking forwards to an exciting 2019!


We decided to enter into the Bucks4Buckie competition and ask for £2000 towards our Plastic Recycling Environmental Project – PREP. Now we would like to share our journey in a blog!

Presenting on behalf of Moray Reach Out were Shona Radojkovic (General & Business Development Manager), Laura Campbell (MRO Recycling Team Leader) and Buckie trainees Louise Chalmer and William Mair.

With the team in place, we started to make a plan of how best to get our message across. We thought of the questions people needed the answers to, in order to understand what we were planning to do. We wanted to express the benefits of our project to us and to the community. We decided to present it like a conversation, asking and answering the questions what, why and how!

Whilst Laura and Shona discussed the project, William and Louise were happy to show off their knowledge by separating a bag of plastic bottles and trays into types 1 and 2 (that’s PETE and HDPE). They also showed through some fun facts, just how achievable our plans could be.

We went along to the Bucks4Buckie open evening, where we familiarised ourselves with the venue, tried out the microphone and planned how we would set everything up on the day.

We met on two separate occasions prior to the event and practised until everyone was happy with what they had to say or do.


What did we want to buy? – A granulator and bagging unit.

Why? – 3 reasons
• To increase the value of our plastic and find an end market for it
• To keep plastic off the streets and out of the North Sea
• To create a new training project and learn new skills

How? – Have a look at the video to see our fun facts! You can watch the video of the presentation via this link. It’s only 2 minutes long!

We were all so chuffed and there was no hesitation from all our team to get up and receive the Award from Stewart Stevenson, SNP, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast once the voting had taken place.

On behalf of Moray Reach Out, we would like to thank Buckie Area Regeneration Forum for organising the event, which gave so many groups in Buckie a real boost! Congratulations to all who presented, you were all amazing!

An interview with Shona, the General & Business Development Manager

How long have you been working for MRO?

I joined MRO on 14th March 2014, so have been here for almost 4 years now. The tsiMoray ‘Join the Dots’ event was what I attended on my very first day working with Moray Reach Out. This marks my anniversaries each year very nicely!

Brief Description of your background preMRO:

Before MRO, I worked mainly in training & education specialising in employability skills and supporting vulnerable adults, I also did some interesting project work. One such project was working for the Scottish Government promoting relocation to Scotland for skilled workers and arranging immigration advice for companies and individuals. Some of my favourite and slightly more unusual jobs in the past were working for Thomson Holidays as an Overseas Representative which I did for a few years. I also taught English as a Second or Other Language here in the UK. Another was being a Community Interpreter, helping out with the Bosnian refugees who came to Moray just a year after my husband and I fled from the former Yugoslavia because of the war. In fact, we were only going to be here for a year maximum but that’s nearly 27 years ago. Showing my age now!!! I spent some years living and working in Germany, France, Greece and what is now Croatia. I love languages and different cultures. Also music and dancing.

Why did you decide to join MRO?

The post seemed to combine all the skills I had gathered over my working years plus it presented some new challenges. To be honest, it was my Mum who saw the advert and said that it looked like the perfect job for me. I had been working in Inverness and Invergordon and not enjoying the commuting.  The job description was a huge ask and I nearly didn’t apply because of that, but I am so glad I did.  It felt like coming home – not just to Moray, but to an organisation I really believe in.  It’s fantastic and it’s the people that make it so – our wonderful Trainees, dedicated and enthusiastic Staff and Volunteers.


Brief description of your role:

My role is to develop the business whilst keeping its social purpose at the heart of everything we do. In fact, we have two social purposes. Our first is to provide training opportunities to vulnerable adults and as we like to put it – empowering their lives. The second is to protect the environment through recycling as much as we can locally.

I try to ensure that the team which is spread across Moray work well together, sharing best practice and supporting one another. It’s important that they have all the resources and training to do their jobs with excellence. I would like to think I provide support and guidance where it’s needed but otherwise it’s about enabling our enthusiastic and experienced team to deliver the best service we can to our trainees and customers and trusting them to get on and do this. We have a very committed team at Moray Reach Out who believe in the work we do within the Moray Community.

What does your typical day look like:

There really isn’t a typical day! The work is so varied but that’s what I like about it. Sometimes, I’m busy researching ideas or writing funding applications for new projects. There’s the ongoing general management ensuring we keep up to date with legislation, visiting all the different sites to support staff, Volunteers and trainees or just catching up with them. Keeping the Board informed and preparing for Board meetings and Management Committee get-togethers where ideas are shared and decisions made about the future direction of the organisation.

What do you like best about working for MRO?

I love the upbeat and welcoming atmosphere that working with our Trainees and the Staff and Volunteers creates. It’s pretty unique. Our Chairman, Lloyd Watt, puts it well when he says we are all about Training and Trading. As the Trainees are in a real, working environment, it gives them a sense of purpose to be part of that. To see the outcome of their efforts is so rewarding for them and us.

Shetland COPE CEO and Business Manager visiting us in Moray.

Why do you think MRO is important to the Moray community?

Our Vision is Empowering Lives and everything we do is about helping people be the best they can be by teaching new skills, increasing their confidence, socialising and being part of the community.

What projects are you currently working on?

We have several projects in development at the moment. Most exciting is the proposed purchase of a building for Moray Reach Out. This will house our Head Office, our Yarns & Crafts shop (Buckie Yarns), our Thrift Shop and we will still have space for a couple of new projects. In addition, we will be able to offer workshops to the general public and become even more involved with the local Community.

What do you hope for MRO’s future?

I have huge hopes and plans for MRO’s future, the staff, Volunteers and trainees are so enthusiastic and full of ideas for both the training and the business side of things. It was an extremely proud moment when we won the Community Impact Award. Here’s some of the team and myself celebrating and having some fun with the props! There are exciting times ahead for the organisation, its people and the local community.



Exciting times could be ahead for Moray Reach Out with plans to purchase their own building.

Please take part in our community survey. It will literally only take 2 to 3 minutes and will help us shape our future and that of services we provide within Buckie and Moray.

Moray Reach Out’s Fundraising Week


We would like to thank everyone who supported our fundraising and awareness raising week!  We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope you did too!  Our hope was to promote awareness of what we are about – empowering individuals within the community through participating in our various business activities – Buckie Yarns wool and haberdashery shop, Waste Watchers Buckie recycling collections and processing and In Stitches embroidery service.

The week kicked off with Waste Watchers setting up our Thrift Shop.  As well as our own collections, the public gave generously and items of clothing, bric-a-brac, books, DVDs poured through the door!  So much so, we opened for 4 days instead of the planned 3 days and we are thinking of opening again soon so watch this space! Waste Watchers and Buckie Yarns trainees helped out in the shop and did us proud.




Saturday 19th August was a very busy day indeed with Buckie Yarns hosting a coffee morning, which was very well attended – we think around 150 people.   I haven’t seen so many delicious cakes and home bakes in a long time – we are overwhelmed by the generosity of people in and around Buckie.



Waste Watchers were also busy on Saturday.  They were doing a clean up in and around the skatepark in Buckie.  They collected 2 bags of aluminium, 3 of mixed plastic, 4 of rubbish, 1 of ground up dirt/glass and 3 of weeds.   For their hard work, the trainees and staff received a wee treat from ‘Czech This’ catering which was very tasty indeed.  Food made with love!

Ready for action!
Buckie Skatepark

Kevin and Alisdair

Alex and Shona collecting recyclates
The reward for their work!
Waste Watchers and Czech This