Call for help as new Chief Officer joins GRA team

Chair of Gordon Rural Action, Sarah Flavell, with Review volunteer Dorothy MacPherson
Chair of Gordon Rural Action, Sarah Flavell, with Review volunteer Dorothy MacPherson

A new Chief Officer has joined Gordon Rural Action (GRA).

Suzanne Rhind has joined the Huntly-based advice centre, replacing Alan Busson who has retired after 10 and a half years with the organisation.

“I am delighted to be working for an organisation that makes a real difference to people’s lives and am really looking forward to getting to know the local community”, said Suzanne.

Suzanne has moved to the area from Norfolk, where she was the Business & Community Manager for a Development Trust.

GRA has been supporting individuals from the local community for nearly 40 years and is going through a period of transition as it strives to provide a high quality advice service that is ever more in demand whilst managing the impact of declining grant funding from authorities.

To see GRA through this, Suzanne brings with her an extensive background in community development and experience in fundraising, developing partnerships and projects and working with the community to identify needs as well as organisational management.

Suzanne added: “Key to the future of GRA is the success of our social enterprise function”.

GRA manages two charity shops: Review in Inverurie and Bargain Box in Huntly.

These two shops provide much needed income to the whole organisation to support the work of a dedicated team of advisers on the ground who offer free, impartial and expert advice in areas such as welfare, debt and housing as well as providing a more general advice service.

The shops also provide local people with good quality, affordable goods on the doorstep.

Suzanne continued: “We are now looking for people to get involved with our shops in lots of different ways.

"We have had a very busy summer and are keen to get new stock into the shops so if you have unused or unloved items in good condition, please donate them to our shops.

"We are also keen to recruit new volunteers to our team to help staff the shops in the important run-up to the Festive period. Volunteering can be a great way to gain new skills, build confidence before returning to work or make new friends."

Sarah Flavell, Chair of GRA and Volunteer Adviser added: “Without volunteers GRA couldn’t function – they really are at the heart of our organisation.”

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with GRA or how to donate items, please contact the Review team on 01467 624421 or email enquiries@gordonrural.org.uk.