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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Chief encounters: Jane-Claire Judson of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland

This feature is about 6 years old

Find out what makes Jane-Claire Judson of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland tick

What makes a good day at work?

Hearing from one of our volunteers or service users that what we are doing is what they need from us to live the life they want to live. You can get swept up in the day to day operational aspects of the job – meetings and reports and decisions are only as good as the impact we are having.

How many hours do you normally work in a week?

Anyone in this role knows that your contracted hours are at best a guide and usually are an unattainable goal! I dislike the focus on hours as it’s an output and not an outcome measure and plays into a set of values I don’t subscribe to. What is important is that as a parent to an 18 month old I have a supportive chair who values my work and skills and encourages me to work flexibly to spend adequate time with her. He knows I will work flexibly for the charity in return and have a huge commitment to our aims. And I know he understands that attending my daughter’s Christmas party is critical to being a well-balanced and effective chief executive. The problems I solve for work when playing with my daughter are akin to when people say they have their best ideas in the shower. I’m proud to demonstrate that when old sexist notions of what works at work are dispensed with we can all win. Not all organisations are there with that yet.

What do you procrastinate over?

The small things! What to choose from a menu (fear of food envy) or what film to watch. The big stuff I find easier.

Jane-Claire Judson
Jane-Claire Judson

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

Arguments over whether the kettle should be left filled by the last person who used it or not. And, more seriously, poor health and safety practices.

Is the third sector a calling or an accident?

Both – I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t know where to do it. I saw the advert for my first role by accident – the rest is history.

What happens during your perfect weekend?

Bit of a lie in, then playtime with my daughter and husband, usually spent outside and followed by an afternoon café stop, a moment to surreptitiously check out the latest in store at the Bridge of Allan CHSS shop on the way home.

What’s your favourite album?

Garbage – any album. I finally got to see them live in Edinburgh in 2015 and it was the best gig of my life.

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?

Depends why they would be doing more. I’d rather not see more foodbanks. Charities can do more though in that we can be nimble, person centred and tend to be closer to the pulse of easy to ignore groups in our society.

What’s your new year’s resolution?

Get back into my running - particularly as I’ve committed to do a run for CHSS…!

You’re home, fully fed with your feet up – which comes first Eastenders or Facebook?

Facebook – or more likely, my family Whats App group.

Is this a step on the ladder or your final destination?


What do you think is the main strengths of the Scottish charity sector?

The ability to move fast – there are some caveats within that but generally speaking if the will is there we can move faster than the public and private sector to address real need. Being a voice for people who often are denied theirs gives the sector a sense of mission and with devolution it can be mobilised quickly. Scotland is also small enough that you can get the people you need to speak to in a room relatively easily. You have to be conscious of groupthink but in the main I think it is a positive.

What major challenges is your charity facing this year?

More people are surviving with our conditions – which is fantastic – it does mean though that there are more people out there who need support to transition from diagnosis to living the life they can and want to lead. We need to be close to where people are, in their communities, to deliver that support. Long term commitment to local communities in a tense economic environment and with a rapidly changing health and social care structure is a massive challenge.

What does your dream retirement look like?

A cottage by the coast and balancing some serious downtime with some voluntary work.

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?

BDC for his fantastic support to Diabetes Scotland when I was there and BEC for D:Ream. And the accessible science stuff.