It’s just short of 8 years since I joined Moray Reach Out, as their General and Business Development Manager and I can honestly say there’s never been a dull moment!
I was so impressed with the organisation, the opportunities and support they were giving to adults with learning disabilities, the enthusiasm and commitment of the individuals within the 4 project teams and was immediately proud to have become part of it.
The trainees (Adults with Learning Disabilities) are amazing and without them, Moray Reach Out would not exist, quite literally.
A sense of belonging is important to the majority of us, and that’s what we aim for here. People need to feel comfortable, welcome and at ease in order to learn new skills and develop their confidence and self-esteem. The range of projects incorporates retail, crafting, creative arts, recycling, and upcycling to name a few. The diversity of projects means that we have a fantastic range of services to offer to our Trainees.
The role has challenged me at times and taken me out of my comfort zone. I have worked in training and education, business development and various project and management roles in public, private and third sector organisations over a period of 25 years. I am passionate about empowering lives so being able to use the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years to help develop and grow this amazing social enterprise is very rewarding. I love empowering others and making things happen, that’s what I thrive on so Moray Reach Out is a perfect fit for me.
When not working, I enjoy the simple things in life – spending time with family and walking the dogs whilst enjoying the beauty of Moray and all it offers. Things you may not know about me are that I’m a bit of a linguist – speaking several languages (fluently once upon a time!). I love to learn about other cultures and have been fortunate in past roles to go on European exchanges, or to work abroad. My first job after studying was a Tri-Lingual Receptionist in Paris! To relax and unwind, there’s nothing like an hour of Zumba or dancing the night away with friends!
I’m the finance and HR administrator. Outside of work I enjoy gardening and reading and although I love all types of books, my favourite genre would have to be Nordic Noir, as their writing style is so different, which I find incredibly interesting.
I began working for Moray Reach Out in 2016. I had just moved to the Moray area and wanted to find a role that would help others and the community. When I saw the role advertised, I knew I had to apply as it not only combined my desire to put something back into the community, but MRO also embraced another great interest of mine, recycling.
We live in a throw-away society and I’m an advocate of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. Instead of immediately throwing something away, look at it from a different viewpoint and think if it could be upcycled or given to charity. Look into the companies that you get your products from, are they following a green initiative? If we all do our part, then as a society we could make a positive impact on reducing waste.
At MRO, everyone is striving for the same goal which makes it a great environment to work in. The staff, volunteers, trainees, and our customers are all a pleasure to work with and they are the biggest reason that I enjoy coming into work. Look for the good in everyone!
I am the new Digital Training Support Worker for MRO. My role encompasses everything online, from updating our website, marketing, photography, and everything in between. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when applying for the role, but I am so happy that I did. The best part about my time here so far, definitely has to be the people. Coming into MRO was like joining a wee family and they have all made me feel so welcome. Everyone has the same passion and drive and that is to empower others, the positivity is infectious.
I have learnt over the years, especially after working abroad, that I am definitely a home bird. Family and friends are super important to me, but I love my alone time too, everyone needs time to recharge. In my free time I enjoy exploring the outdoors and taking scenic photographs, going wild swimming, listening to music and drawing.
Art Yarn & Upcycling
Before joining MRO, I spent 40 years working in the agricultural sector, on a mixed dairy, arable farm, followed by agricultural contracting. The last 20 years were spent working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) managing farming operations on nature reserves.
Moving to a small croft 2014, I was able to fulfil a dream of owning an acre of land! This resulted in Sheep!
After research, we (Annie and I) settled on the Shetland sheep breed for their ultra-soft fine quality fleece, hardiness, and ease to look after. We bought 3 ewes and 5 lambs from a pedigree breeder, a fleece, and a spinning wheel.
So it began, hours and hours of frustration of teaching ourselves how to spin. Our wool stock grew along with a little bit of confidence, enough to take a pitch at the Portsoy wool festival in 2017. We sold wool. Amazing.
The next task was to share our skills, so I went knocking on doors. MRO were generous enough to open the door a jar and I started volunteering with Trainees with all things woolly. We all realised this might be a hit. Successful lottery funding ensued to support the first chapter of MRO Art and hopefully there will be many more to come.
I started with Moray Reach Out in August 2013.
The Lossiemouth recycling site was advertising for a relief training support worker which is what initially piqued my curiosity. I knew what a support worker was as my mum has been in care work for over 20 years, but I couldn’t understand why one would be needed in a Material Recycling Facility (MRF) so, I called up and later that day went down to see what it was all about!
Within ten minutes I was mesmerized! I loved the fact that the trainees were so enthusiastic about what they were doing and how excited they were to show me round and tell me how the process worked! I spent some time being shown the process and then also spent some time with the trainees during their break whilst they told me of all the things they do! I also very quickly became a keen recycler after being told about the do’s and don’ts of recycling. A week later I was offered the job and started my first few days as relief.
I continued as relief until 2016 where I was offered a full-time position which I was more than happy to accept!
Flash forward to now (2021) and I am now the operations manager for our Elgin and Buckie recycling sites. I have been with MRO for over 8 years, and I love every minute of being with this organisation. In the last eight years I’ve completed a HNC in Social Services, Talking Mats Training, Team Leader role and soon to do Makaton Training amongst other achievements!
I love working with the trainees and supporting them in developing their own skills and watching them move on to other opportunities! I absolutely love being a part of MRO and taking part in anything that Moray Reach Out is doing. I can’t imagine not being part of the organisation!
After I became a Granny I decided that I did not want to carry on doing 24hr shifts in Social Care but I still wanted to help the community. So, when the role in MRO came about, it was a perfect fit for me, working 9-4 gave me ample time to spend with my family.
I have now been with MRO for over 14 years, and I can honestly say that I still love my job and what we do as a charity. The fact that I know that I can make a positive impact on someone’s life by doing things that I love, arts and crafts, is genuinely such an amazing feeling.
I feel that MRO is such a unique charity with all our training projects in the Moray area for vulnerable adults. We do exactly what our mission statement says, we empower people’s life’s, not just the trainees but staff and volunteers too. I am so proud to be able to do my part for the community and be involved with MRO’s projects.
My name is Anna and I have a Master’s in Business Administration. I joined MRO in 2016 after changing my career path to focus more on social care. This line of work grabbed my attention because I believe it is important to help out and empower others where you can.
I love my work-life balance as I am a happy wife with 2 wonderful children and enjoy spending time with my family. Animals, especially cats, and good weather is always a great way to make me smile.
Art Yarn & Crafts
I am Suzanne the Yarn & Crafts Team Leader. I only started working for MRO 3 weeks before the initial COVID-19 lockdown. So my main focus has been getting to know the Trainees and restocking the shop with some of the new yarns and old favourites.
When not working I spend a lot of time with my 2 Weimaraner’s, who need walking whatever the weather. So good job I have plenty of yarn and hat patterns to hand in the shop to keep warm.
My other passions aside from Knitting and Crochet are Patchwork and Quilting and recently started Weaving.
Before getting my role here I owned a Wool Shop which unfortunately I had to close and realised that I didn’t want to go back into accounting so took a job supporting Vulnerable Adults. When the position with MRO became available, I just had to apply as it incorporated both of my passions, helping and supporting Vulnerable Adults and yarn. Couldn’t have wished for a better job if I had tried.
Working at MRO is fantastic as I love being surrounded by yarn (heaven) but mostly as it gives me the chance to work with the Trainees and when you see their smiling faces when they have accomplished a task or a craft item, just makes your heart sing and knowing that you have helped them is an amazing feeling. Knowing that you can make a difference to someone’s life even for a short time is one of the best reasons to get up in a morning for work.
It’s not just the Trainees though, I love to help customers choose the right pattern and yarn for themselves and it’s even better if they bring their completed items back to show us. I love to teach people to knit or crochet so that they too can get the same joy that I get from these hobbies.
MRO is an amazing place for anyone to work in but especially for the Trainees, as by coming here it gives them a sense of purpose and pride in what they can do and achieve.
I am the team leader for MRO’s thrift store in Buckie, I began working here just last year (2020) and I started off as a volunteer and loved it so much that I applied for a permanent position. A particular interest of mine is Antiquates which is why I feel this role is perfect for me. I also love animals, I own 3 Alpacas, a cat, lizards, and budgies, I feel animals have such a calming effect on people which is why I enjoy having them around.
Before working here, I was with the Red Cross, and I wanted to continue doing work for the community. Although I had never previously worked with vulnerable adults, I really believed in MRO’s mission of empowerment, so I dove straight into volunteering with them.
Out of everything, my favourite things about MRO has got to be working with the trainees and being around Antiquates. For me, it is the perfect balance. MRO is leading by example by giving vulnerable adults a safe, empowering, and productive environment which lets them all flourish. Everyone is treated fairly and with respect, staff, volunteers, and trainees alike.
My passion for thrift was definitely passed down to me from my Granny, she began taking me to auctions and charity shops from a very young age. I will always remember being around 4 years old, and I would use the clothes horse to set up my ‘pretend thrift store’ in my Granny’s backyard as it was something, even then, that interested me. So really, this is my dream job come true.