Iain celebrates 25 years of helping Renfrewshire - courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express
Iain celebrates 25 years of helping Renfrewshire - courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express

Iain celebrates 25 years of helping Renfrewshire - courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express

30/06/2021 (Engage Post )

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A much-loved member of staff at an organisation which supports hundreds of charities across Renfrewshire is celebrating 25 years in the job.

Third sector development officer, Iain Cunningham, has been working with Engage Renfrewshire, and its organisational predecessor, for a quarter of a century - making him the group’s longest serving staff member. Iain started his career with Engage in June 1996 and has since helped create and support a number of vital projects over the years.

Among some of his successes, Iain secured guaranteed apprenticeship placements with Rolls-Royce Hillington, encouraging young people from Ferguslie Park to take up engineering. This successful relationship eventually led to Iain and three young people being invited to London for Prince Charles’ 50th Birthday party, as guests of Rolls-Royce.

Over the years, Iain’s role has evolved from youth activity and employment, into community regeneration and planning, eventually working with groups and organisations, to ensure that communities were safer, stronger, and better connected. He has come a long way from when he started as a training officer. Speaking about his starting role, Iain, who is originally from Foxbar, said: “The primary focus of the role was to encourage young people aged 16 to18 into the Ferguslie Park Partnership employability and training initiatives, and to link in with the many agencies providing support at that time, like the careers service. “The activity side acted as a hook to engage young people in positive activities including their mental and physical health and well-being.”

Looking back at his early days in post, Iain said: “Communication was a real challenge – no mobile phones or social media back then, just good old fashioned street work and door chapping. “Talking to the young people in the places where they hung out ,like street corners and local shops, even going into local youth clubs to deliver talks to the older teenagers. “There were no computers in the offices, all communications were via telephone and mail, correspondence was sent to a typing pool who would type all letters and reports, including internal mail, which was circulated via large envelopes. “These had to be signed-for before passing on. Systems were slow, to say the least.”

The staff at Engage were delighted to celebrate Iain’s career milestone with him, hailing him for his gift of the gab, which Engage chief executive Alan McNiven said makes him perfect for his role. He said: “Iain is a wealth of information and knowledge. “Everyone knows him in Paisley and beyond for his approachable and friendly manner. “One of his key strengths is his ability to talk – get a chat with Iain and you’ll soon learn why community development work is important! “ We’re lucky to have him as a member of our team.”

Courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express

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