What I’ve done
Despite holding a range of national positions and roles, I have spent a lifetime innovating alongside – and being encouraged by – people at the edge of organisations, communities and society.
Over a 30-year period, I have worked alongside fabulous people, in incredible organisations and in astonishing places. A few highlights have included:
- Orbiston Neighbourhood Centre, a multi-purpose community facility still serving its community 25 years after it opened in 1995.
- theGKexperience, helping young people from some tough realities to flourish and thrive.
- Faith in Community Scotland, harnessing the potential of Scotland’s faith communities to tackle poverty together.
- WEvolution, establishing Self Reliant Groups across Scotland where women come together to earn money and improve their communities.
- Poverty Truth Commissions, bringing together people struggling against poverty and senior civic and business leaders to create change.
Alongside this work, I’ve held a series of senior roles within the Church of Scotland at a national level, including coordinating its work in Scotland’s economically poorest neighbourhoods, leading its political, social and ethical engagement and as its Acting Head of Staff.
I’ve served on a range of public bodies at a Glasgow and Scottish level and chaired the Independent Working Group on Food Poverty for the Scottish Government.
I love supporting individuals and building teams that achieve extraordinary things, helping us together to make a lasting difference in the struggle against poverty and injustice.
Values & Current Work
What gets me out of bed
I am in awe of the inspiring differences people and communities make, particularly those for whom life has been unjust and remains an ongoing struggle. I want to learn alongside and to commit myself to the changes that they desire.
I am clear that no lasting social change is possible unless those most deeply impacted are at the heart of that change.
As co director of the Poverty Truth Network I support a growing network of Poverty Truth Commissions across the UK which bring together those who struggle to overcome poverty in their own lives and senior civic and business leaders. Together they are tackling difficult issues and changing the ways in which our society works (or doesn’t work).
I am currently working alongside the Trussell Trust as we discover together how people who have to use food banks will be central to the movement that eradicates the need for them.
I chair the Scottish Government’s National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group, committed to how we strengthen and deepen democracy particularly amongst those who are most excluded.
Working with faith communities has been a big part of my life and its a great privilege at this time to be working alongside the Methodist Church of Great Britain and Cliff College as together we navigate change.
During 2021 it was an immense honour to work with Glasgow Churches Together as their COP26 Ambassador as Glasgow welcomed the world to perhaps the most important gathering in Scotland in our lifetime.
Many of the most inspiring things I have encountered, I’ve learnt from other parts of the world. So, I am privileged to be a trustee of Christian Aid and to chair its Advisory Committee in Scotland.
I am also a member of the Scotland Committee of the National Lottery Community Fund and continue to be involved in a range of national charities, and public bodies.
I strive to be curious and humble, recognising the insights of others that so easily pass me by. I am much more interested in working with people’s strengths than pathologizing about their problems. An open and inclusive faith continues to motivate and inspire me.
Trust. Food Poverty’s Missing Ingredient.
I am fed up hearing people in this country talk about food poverty. While there are food deserts, and too many places where good quality food is too expensive and not accessible, there is not a shortage of food. For too many people, however, there is a shortage of money. And there is an acute shortage of trust.
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