With this year being the 20th anniversary of Moray Reach Out we wanted to highlight some of our members of staff and volunteers who have been with the organisation the longest! Their years of work and heartfelt passion is why Moray Reach Out has thrived!

Shirley started working at Moray Reach Out March 10th of 2007. She had a background and career in supporting adults with learning disabilities in residential accommodation for over 18 years. She wanted to continue her work in a different setting and the job at Start 2 Knit (our retail shop in Elgin before In Stitches) combined her love for working with adults with learning disabilities and her keen interest in crafting! When asked why she decided to join the organisation Shirley explains that she loves supporting and helping others so she felt that this job was a perfect fit!

Shirley said that she couldn’t pinpoint one favourite memory, saying that she has loved everything! The most rewarding is to be able to work with trainees on knitting or sewing for instance and seeing everyone’s skills grow.

The most significant change she has seen in Moray Reach Out since she has joined was the creation of the embroidery service. Her idea to diversify Start 2 Knit created and opened In Stitches Personal ised Embroidery and Gifts in 2014. We worked on attracting funding from Awards for All and HIE which were able to fund the embroidery machine, software and training for staff. She also recognised the introduction of new technology across all of the sites and increased networking in the community has changed the organisation. Shirley found her visit to another social enterprise in Shetland particularly inspiring!

Her hopes for Moray Reach Out’s future is to help trainees progress and expand to the point that they may move on to paid employment. She wants to continue providing an excellent service while increasing the awareness of who we are and what we do within the wider community.

Shirley concludes that she has a very enjoyable and rewarding job that she could not do without the wonderful support and effort made by her volunteers and other staff members!