Staff recollections as we turn 10
31/03/2021 (Anniversary Post )
April 2021 marks 10 years since Engage Renfrewshire started its operations as Renfrewshire’s Third Sector Interface. Over that time we have seen changes in both the understanding and approach to community work in the area. Through it all our staff have supported, championed and given guidance to our members.
As part of our 10 year anniversary we invited our staff to give some recollections of their time with the organisation. We are fortunate that many of our team have been with us for an extended period, some transitioning over with the creation of Engage, some joining more recently, but everyone bringing distinct skills and insights to the work.
This week’s blog comes from Alan McNiven, our Chief Executive and Stuart Miller, Community Capacity Development Officer, who have both been with Engage since its creation 10 years ago.
Over this time their roles have developed and changed to respond to the needs of our members.
As Chief Executive Alan has embraced the change, saying “I understood what my role was in terms of the management of the company when I started in the job but the day to day duties are mainly shaped by member and partner agendas so they change quite regularly.”
Stuart recalled that the initial years of operation were also full of change, saying “my change over from PPRC (Paisley Partnership Regeneration Company) to Engage Renfrewshire did produce some extra grey hairs” but ultimately he welcomed the broader scope of the new organisation, adding “with PPRC I worked in specific locations; Foxbar, Glenburn, Hunterhill, Renfrew, areas with high levels of social deprivation. With Engage I now work entirely across Renfrewshire.”
It’s clear that for both Stuart and Alan working in the Engage team, and working with people across the community, is one of the real personal drivers for their work. Stuart’s 10 year highlight was the fact that he had had the “opportunity to work for so long with a great team”. Alan noted that the last year of lockdown had been particularly challenging as our capacity to meet one another and with our members was suddenly limited, he noted “we’re an agency that’s used to working in rooms ‘face to face’ with partners and colleagues – so changing to carrying out lots of our work on remote digital platforms has been different. But I do believe that the digital approach has brought benefits too.”
As Community Capacity Officer Stuart is our main man when organisations are looking for funding support, and it’s an element he is (characteristically) quietly proud of, he said “looking back at the amount of funding we have managed to bring into Renfrewshire, which has had some very real and visible benefits for the people of Renfrewshire.” And it’s an element he should be proud of; over our 10 years Engage Renfrewshire have supported groups to secure well over £3.7 million in small local and national funds.
Alan’s role as Chief Executive means he is the organisation’s most prominent advocate. He is “very proud to be part of the Third Sector in Renfrewshire” and strongly holds that Engage’s partnership work allows us to be a strong advocate for the whole sector. He believes the “working with so many partners means you get an insight into lots of areas of delivery – health, employment, housing, youth work, culture, safety etc. I’d argue that having a bit of oversight across the wide range of partnership delivery helps me to understand how some of these issues inter-connect – and in turn that helps with how we can advocate for the services of Renfrewshire’s Third Sector within the community planning partnership.”
This is the first of our Anniversary Staff blogs which will be shared weekly in April. As part of our 10 Year Anniversary campaign we are also welcoming members’ recollections, if you would like to be a part of this work please get in touch with us or tweet your own reflections and include @EngageNews1 #EngageIs10 : )