We work as a team to support our members

Staff Team

- Michael Cook, CEO

Michael Cook

Your role

As CEO  ultimately  I am responsible for the leadership and management of Circular Communities Scotland, reporting to our Board of directors. In practice we are a small team and we all work together to tackle what needs to be done, so I can get involved in anything! My focus areas include delivering our strategic plan, representing the organisation to key stakeholders (e.g. Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Government), leading and supporting the staff team, maintaining our relationship with existing members, reaching out to potential new members, and supporting our Chair and Board.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

We are a strong staff team who support each other and work well together – I  definitely value  that. I have really enjoyed seeing the Board grow and develop and have a huge respect for our directors who have tremendous knowledge about our sector, giving their time freely to take Circular Communities Scotland forward. I also enjoy visiting and meeting our members who are central to what we are all about, they are doing great work and we exist to support that. Lastly  I value the opportunity to make a difference at Circular Communities Scotland, together with our sector we are working towards a more circular economy with all the environmental and social benefits which flow from that.

Supporting the environment

Since joining Circular Communities Scotland I am much more aware and informed of environmental issues such as the climate emergency and waste and recycling issues. Now I do put the right waste in the right bin and know what kinds of plastic can and can’t be recycled (I bore my family and friends on the subject too!). At Circular Communities Scotland we always take public transport if practical and one personal commitment we have made as a family is only to holiday abroad every other year.

- Izzie Catlin, Executive Assistant and Administrative Support

Your role

As Executive Assistant I support our CEO, Michael Cook, so that he is better able to deliver our strategic plan and represent the organisation to key stakeholders, as well as taking some of the daily ‘chores’ off his hands! In addition, I provide administrative support the wider organisation, assisting with the planning of events, such as our Annual Conference, and staying in touch with our members.

The Circular Communities Scotland Team

It is an exciting and challenging time to be working for Circular Communities Scotland, as a nation we are learning the importance of making decisions and taking actions that will have positive environmental impacts. Our members are so varied and it is inspiring to learn about the amazing projects they deliver, as well as the inclusive ethos of what it means to be an environmentally-focused organisation, with a strong focus on social justice.

Supporting the Environment

It can feel overwhelming to realise how much of what we consume goes to waste, but it is inspiring to learn about all the ways we can reuse and repair things that we already own, as well as reducing the amount of things we buy in the first place. I want to ensure my son grows up understanding the importance of protecting the environment, and making the extra effort to make sure there is always a space for nature in our lives – we are currently building a wildlife garden that I hope will bring lots of birds, bees and butterflies to us!

- Michele Donegan, Finance and Office Coordinator

Michele Donegan

Your role

I have been Finance and Office Coordinator with Circular Communities Scotland since 2008. The role includes finance management, finance operations, office management and ensuring we are compliant with governing bodies such as HMRC, OSCR and the Information Commissioner.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

What I enjoy about working at Circular Communities Scotland is we all have our own individual jobs to do but when we need to come together and work as a team, we do it so well. It’s also great to know that the fantastic work our members do contributes to a circular economy and hopefully improves the environment that my children will grow up in.

Supporting the environment

Working at Circular Communities Scotland has made me more aware of how to reuse and recycle items responsibly. I am an avid Facebook selling pages/gumtree user to offer goods that myself and my family no longer need/use. As a family we recycle as much as possible at home.

- Matt Lewis, Membership and Policy Manager

Your role

My role is to look after our existing members and potential new members. I also manage our Member Services Team, including our Events Officer, who runs our annual events programme, and our Communications and Campaigns Officer, who delivers our marketing output.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

Working for a national charity that supports its members is rewarding because you are getting to know some great projects and people right across Scotland that are doing some really remarkable and inspirational work.

Supporting the environment

I have always worked in the environment sector both in Scotland and abroad, I have always tried to do the right thing around my house and in the garden. Trying to minimise our own carbon footprints is important but not always straightforward.

- Elaine Ritchie, Events Officer

Elaine Ritchie

Your role

I joined Circular Communities Scotland in 2014 as Events Officer, and my role centres around managing a portfolio of events which includes our annual conference, awards dinners, seminars, forums and ad hoc meetings. I love networking, relationship building and working with a diverse range of people and organisations! I use this passion to build new connections and forge strong relations with Circular Communities Scotland members, stakeholders and sponsors. My responsibilities involve the planning, marketing, delivery and evaluation of events as well as sourcing sponsorship and managing the event budgets. On a personal level I am a stickler for ‘detail’ which I suppose (and hope!) makes a difference with our events in that they are both professional and of a high standard.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

Working in the third sector can bring its challenges, however, it is also a very rewarding sector to be part of. The role which Circular Communities Scotland plays, its ethos and services all resonate with me, as caring for people and planet is so important. I enjoy the fact we support so many members, located all over Scotland, to deliver a service that benefits both. It is admirable how members work away, unassuming, making a positive difference in their own localities and in turn collectively on a larger scale. I am fortunate to work with a very small, close knit team of individuals who all support each other when required and who make a ‘day in the office’ enjoyable!

Supporting the environment

Being exposed to the world of reuse, repair and recycling through working at Circular Communities Scotland, and learning about what we can indeed breath a second life into, has helped at home too. We as a family are now more ‘environmentally aware.  We reuse, repair and recycle regularly, compost at home and use local preloved online groups to exchange a multitude of items with members of our community.

- Sarah Case, Communications and Campaigns Officer

My role

As Communications and Campaigns Officer, I oversee all marketing output across Circular Communities Scotland and our sub brands, including the Share and Repair Network, and our Reuse Consortium. I created and manage our marketing strategy, with a view to sharing our vision, and telling the story of our membership to promote the benefits of a circular economy in Scotland. I provide communications support to membership by leading our marketing events, and run both policy focused and public awareness campaigns that support our sector.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

Working with Circular Communities Scotland for me means riding the crest of the wave of change when it comes to the circular economy in Scotland. We’re a super forward-thinking organisation and that’s really reflected in our membership and the team as well. We have so many phenomenal members supporting people and the planet, and some of my favourites are here where I live in Glasgow. I work remotely and I am supported to work from home with regular travel to the office – so the culture is very modern, it’s about trusting and supporting one another to do the best we can for our members, the sector and ultimately the planet.

Supporting the environment

I am an advocate for individual consumer responsibility, whilst also supporting wider scale political and economic change. I shop vintage and reuse where I can, particularly for clothing and furniture, which is made so much easier online. The awareness around environmental impact and poor working conditions for cheap clothing is coming to the fore now. I’m hopeful this will continue and extend even more into reuse across all industries and sectors, and hope to work in my role at Circular Communities Scotland to help that happen.

- Nicola Aeberli, Projects and Reuse Consortium Manager (Maternity Leave)

Your role

As Projects and Reuse Consortium manager, I both line manage and support our Share and Repair Coordinator and Bike Reuse Coordinator, as well as overseeing our Reuse Consortium, which provides high quality reuse furniture to Local Authorities and Housing Associations, helping households facing difficult circumstances such as poverty or homelessness. I support our Consortium members to provide the best possible service to Local Authorities and Housing Associations, work to expand our network of buyers and Consortium members, and take care of quarterly impact reporting to Scotland Excel and our buyers.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

It’s great to work among such a dedicated team of changemakers who really know their stuff and support one another. I’m inspired daily by the work of our members in driving the circular economy and providing communities across Scotland with the opportunity and encouragement to repair and reuse items that might otherwise have gone to waste.

Supporting the environment

The philosophies of reuse and repair have been part of my life for a long time, starting as a young graduate delighting in the vintage markets of Berlin. This has continued to today where I will go to great lengths to fix a pair of beloved boots that have graced my wardrobe for over 15 years, and almost entirely decorating my home with reuse furniture, including a beautiful oak dining table and chairs which I was lucky enough to find on Gumtree for a steal.

- Rhoda Reid, Reuse Consortium Coordinator (Maternity Cover)

Your role

‘Holding the fort’ during Coordinator Nicola Aeberli’s maternity leave, I coordinate the Reuse Consortium, which provides high quality reuse furniture to Local Authorities and Housing Associations, helping households facing difficult circumstances such as poverty or homelessness. I support our Consortium members to provide the best possible service to Local Authorities and Housing Associations, work to expand our network of buyers and Consortium members and take care of quarterly impact reporting to Scotland Excel and our buyers.

The Circular Communities Scotland team

I’m privileged to use my coordination skills in an organisation where values are central, and their aims concerning the future of the planet are dear to my heart. The wide variety of projects that are covered have a common theme with the staff working together and supporting one another towards their strong common purpose. I look forward to playing my part, meeting people across Scotland who are passionate and dedicated to making a difference in their communities.

Supporting the environment

I have become increasingly aware of the impact that over-consumption has on our environment and for some time now have sought to purchase only what is necessary. My gift giving to family and grandchildren has moved away from ‘stuff’ to providing relationship-building experiences and recently I’ve discovered the joys of using my sewing machine, repurposing a set of curtains bought second-hand 35 years ago. I reuse and repair when I can and although finding at times that this is not the easiest thing to do, remain committed to the vision of a more sustainable and equitable future for everyone.

- Emma Erwin, Share and Repair Coordinator

Your role 

My role is to set up and coordinate Circular Communities Scotland's Share and Repair Network. The network supports Sharing Libraries and Repair Projects across the country to get set-up and to assist the many amazing projects which already exist to grow their impact and become more financially sustainable. I listen to what our members need and find ways to support them through this exciting project.

The Circular Communities Team

It’s such a strong team and everyone is so supportive of each other. My last role was working for a member organisation so I know first-hand how much of an impact is made by the team supporting our members and how much singing about members’ successes and helping them when they face challenges can benefit them. I’m really enjoying getting to know the variety of projects there are out there and the incredible work they are achieving.

Supporting the environment 

Being a new mum my most recent environmental interest has been reusable nappies. It’s been a bit of a messy journey of trial and error but now we’ve found what works for us and I love seeing my baby wearing gorgeous prints instead of single-use plastic. Sometimes making changes to reduce our impact can be difficult (or messy!), but I think we shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we fall short- the important thing is to just keep trying.

- Chris Sanderson, National Bike Reuse Coordinator

The role

As National Bike Reuse Coordinator, I am responsible for planning, managing and delivering our Affordable Access to Bikes project and improving bike access in Scotland by removing barriers to reuse. I work with a wide range of stakeholders across the bike reuse sector.

The Circular Communities Scotland Team

It’s great to be part of team that’s driven by passion, professionalism and a strong sense of purpose. I’m very motivated to work for climate and social justice so Circular Communities Scotland is the perfect fit for me. I enjoy leading on my areas of responsibility while being able to support the wider work of the organisation.

Supporting the environment

I reuse and repair as a habit and have rescued many great items this way – bikes, furniture, clothes! I’ve always been keen on active and sustainable travel and I build this approach into my plans wherever possible. This is very consciously about reducing emissions but it is also about taking the time to appreciate the seasons, the world around me and the people I wouldn’t otherwise meet. I create gentle opportunities to say what I’ve chosen to do and why in everyday conversations.

Board Members

- Naomi Johnson, Chair, Freelance Consultant

Naomi Johnson has been working as an independent freelancer in Scotland since September 2016. Naomi is client focused and has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Previous roles include leading the Scottish Charity Firstport (2007-2011) and also working for CRN UK (1999-2007). Naomi holds an MBA from the Cranfield Trust. Naomi has previously served on the Board of Social Enterprise Scotland and is currently a non-exec board member at Dumfries and Galloway College.

- Ian Harley, Treasurer, Bupa

Ian is currently the Director of Control & Governance in Bupa’s insurance business. Before that he held senior positions in Prudential across risk, compliance and audit disciplines. He has extensive experience of developing risk and governance frameworks and has also worked as an accountant and financial auditor in the public sector. Ian brings a strong advisory approach and continuous improvement mindset. He is married with grown up children and lives in Lanarkshire.

- Ian Matheson, Blythswood

Ian Matheson is the Head of Operations for Blythswood Care.  Ian has overall management of Blythswood Care’s 24 Scottish reuse shops and 2 hub depots, processing goods for reuse and recycling sale. Leading 98 staff and 100’s of volunteers in this work, it provides funding towards Blythswood Care’s projects in Scotland and abroad e.g. food bank centres, supported training, life-skills for ex orphanage boys, education and community programmes etc.

Effective resource management is at the core of Blythswood Trading’s operations with 2100 tonnes reused or recycled each year in Scotland. Ian has led Blythswood’s work with/support for over 30 like-minded community organisations in Scotland. Ian is a founding member of the Zero Waste Scotland Revolve Users Group.

Prior to joining Blythswood, Ian spent over 18 years in the IT sector, implementing and project managing IT systems for clients in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Ian is a trustee of The Elsie Normington Foundation and a trustee of the Blythswood Romania charity.

- David Bryan, Social Enterprise Academy

David manages the Social Enterprise Academy’s activities in the North of Scotland and leads on rural programmes for Social Enterprise Academy International. He has account managed learning programmes on 28 different Scottish islands and scores of remote mainland communities, including in Gaelic medium programmes. Internationally David has account managed programmes in 12 countries on four continents. He works closely with Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Government and British Council.

Before joining Social enterprise Academy, David was Development Officer for CRNS from 2004-2008, covering the North of Scotland. The social and environmental outcomes of the sector are what drives David, avoiding what one CRNS member called ‘wasted resources and wasted lives’.

David has worked as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University for 17 years, tutoring on three Environment modules. He lives in Dingwall, and enjoys running, cycling, hillwalking and wild camping, often with some of his four children.

- Mark Morgan, Stella Voice

Mark is a Director of Stella’s Voice and in charge of its UK operation. Having been with the charity for over 32 years Mark not only brings a passion and keen interest for all things reuse, he also brings extensive experience and insight from his decades of working in the charity and reuse & recycling sector and how these projects can be used to impact and transform lives in communities locally and overseas.

Since joining, Mark has been actively engaged with Circular Communities Scotland and more recently (2019) Stella’s Voice joined the Reuse Consortium which has increased the involvement and engagement with Circular Communities Scotland.

- Jon Molyneux, FareShare

Jon Molyneux is Scottish Affairs Lead for Fareshare, which is the UK’s largest charitable redistributor of surplus food. In Scotland, Fareshare works through four regional centres and supports over 750 community-based organisations to access good food. Jon is also a serving councillor on Glasgow City Council, representing the Pollokshields ward for the Scottish Green Party since 2017. Previously, Jon was Head of Communications and Engagement for Zero Waste Scotland and he has held a variety of policy and front-line roles in the environmental and social enterprise sectors. Originally from West Cumbria, and via university in Liverpool, Jon now lives in Glasgow with his wife and two boys. He is also a Trustee of Spruce Carpets, a social enterprise focused on flooring reuse.

- Sasha Taylor, The Bike Station

Sasha Taylor is the CEO at The Bike Station, working alongside a team who work tirelessly, to ensure more people have access to the benefits of cycling whilst improving our environment.

Sasha brings experience from a career across the third sector, health, equalities, environment and social justice; and brings an unwavering commitment in collaboration and the social change.

Outside of work Sasha will be found riding bikes, avoiding squirrels and collecting Netsuke.

- Rashid Khaliq, SoulRiders

Rashid is the Chief Executive of SoulRiders, an innovative community cycling organisation based in Glasgow.

He has a passion for sustainable innovation and embedding grassroots scale-able projects. Rashid is also very proud of his Scottish and Pakistani heritage and has developed many strategic models with diversity at the heart.

As a keen believer of a just transition across many facets he is currently focused on the climate transformation. With a network that transcends all sectors he is developing a net-zero zone with a great ambition for Glasgow to become an exemplar community, cycling, green city.

Rashid also loves his bike and can be seen sipping a coffee having engaged in his favourite, ‘rolled up trousers’ riding style.