Mairi McCallum, Moray Foodbank - Women of Inspiration 2018

  

 Nothing inspires me more than seeing someone else reach their full potential and to see
the most basic project idea develop and make a difference in the local area. 

 What is your current role within the company?

Project manager of Moray Food Bank – I line manage all staff and oversee the day-to-day runnings of the Foodbank. I am also responsible for developing new projects, applying for funding and monitoring all activities for reporting.

 What is your background prior to working for this company/setting up your company?

 I have worked in the third sector for over 15 years taking on a variety of roles, both in the Glasgow area and Moray.

What makes your company and/or your role stand out?

Moray Foodbank is the only foodbank in the area and supports over 2000 people per year with emergency food provision. We recognised that more needed to be done to try and reduce the number of people needing support and developed several early intervention projects including the development of community larders, putting food stores into targeted community areas providing choice and dignity of provision. This work has been recognised nationally as an example of good practice and has been effective in supporting individuals and families at risk of food insecurity. We also have developed a growing programme of holiday hunger clubs and nourish sessions with younger people.

Our organisation is taking the lead locally to combat not only food poverty but poverty in general and was pivotal in the establishment of the Fairer Moray Forum, a unique public/third sector partnership whose main aim is to highlight the issue of poverty in Moray. The Forum is proactive and I managed to secure funding to develop a poverty conference which over 100 people attended at the beginning of February.

Our organisation was at crisis point just over 2 years ago and through hard work from myself, our board, staff team and volunteers we have developed into an innovative, progressive service supporting those in need across Moray.

What is your area of expertise/inspiration?

I am able to identify strengths in other individuals and have been able to assemble a committed team who are able to take project ideas and develop them beyond all expectations. Nothing inspires me more than seeing someone else reach their full potential and to see the most basic project idea develop and make a difference in the local area. I have good networking links and I am able to create projects bringing together partners that would not normally work together. I look to other areas outwith Moray for inspiration to see what good work is being carried out and whether any of it can be replicated, I am creative and I am able to develop project ideas that fit gaps in need.

What are your plans for the future?

My intention is to keep working at Moray Foodbank and to continue to develop the organisation. We have received funding to develop a food poverty action plan which will hopefully make a real difference to people’s lives; our work is beginning to be recognised nationally and we want to keep coming up with innovative ideas that make a real practical difference.

What inspires or motivates you?

The belief that every person has the right to food drives me to push and develop services that do this in the most dignified manner. Developing new services that support people and make their lives easier is highly rewarding and doing this in a collaborative, non-judgemental manner is crucial. The dedication of the foodbank’s board, staff and volunteers plus the community support we receive motivates me to continue to do the best I can for myself and for the organisation.