From award ceremonies at the House of Lords to avoiding cows on her lunch break, Alex Macfie talks about life as development manager at Beith Community Development Trust (BCDT)
What is your morning routine?
I wake up, read the news online then take my two dogs out for a walk. If I’m up early enough we get down to the beach which is great and means they’ll sleep quietly when we get to work. It’s a stunning drive through the Largs' hills and Fairlie moor to arrive in Beith ready to start a day’s work.
What makes a good day at work?
A good day at work for me is when I see some progress, success or achievement. We try really hard to help people move into employment so if volunteers get interviews, gain qualifications or are offered jobs this is a good day. We run lots of different groups and seeing children, young people and volunteers progress is very rewarding. It's great to see others achieving so seeing children from Soup Group getting Sports Leader Awards or young people from our Band Factory working towards their arts awards all makes for a good day!
Is lunch a five-minute sandwich at your desk or do you find time for yourself?
Lunch is usually a 20 minute stroll through the fields behind work with a couple of colleagues. It's refreshing to get out and we always have fun wading through burns and avoiding cows.
Being in the third sector means you can be totally and truly responsive to the needs and wishes of the community. You're not tied up with bureaucracy
Why do you work in the third sector?
It's great working in the third sector. You have the opportunity to be creative, flexible and to make a difference. Being in the third sector means you can be totally and truly responsive to the needs and wishes of the community. You're not tied up with bureaucracy or answering to long chains of middle management, if someone has a good idea everyone knuckles down and makes it work.
What are you working on just now?
Right now I am on the train to London. We've been shortlisted for the UK Sports Leaders Young Leadership Trophy and are going to the House of Lords for the ceremony, pretty exciting! (Editor's note BCDT were announced as runners-up)
How do you inspire your colleagues?
I'm really lucky, my colleagues are pretty inspirational themselves. We have a great atmosphere at work, everyone has something to share and it's a really fun environment. Although it's a very informal environment, (with dogs and chickens, footballers and artists) everyone does work very hard. All the staff and volunteers know there is support there for them if they need it.
Are boards the strength of the third sector or a thorn in its side?
Boards are unquestionably a strength in the third sector. If you have a highly skilled and committed board, with ambition and influence this can make all the difference for your organisation. Having a pool of expertise attached to your organisation in this role is a massive strength.
Have you got thoughts on what you will do when you retire?
I'd like to spend my time climbing mountains and travelling round Scotland and Europe in a campervan.
Do you prefer working with volunteers or paid employees?
I prefer working with fun, reliable, hard working people who are clever and caring. Doesn't matter to me whether they are paid or not, as long as it doesn't matter to them.
What scares you most in life?
Our business administrator, Amy, is really scary. She started out as a volunteer, then got taken on as a modern apprentice and woe betide you if you don't meet her exacting standards!
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
I worked at Mecca bingo in the school holidays which was pretty hideous.
How often do you socialise with colleagues outside the Christmas party?
We're a sociable bunch and we get together fairly often.
Would your 18-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?
Absolutely, I am doing work where I know I can make a difference, I have fun and I get to learn new skills every day... how could I not be pleased about that?
Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?
Never heard of either of them, is that bad?