We're continuing our series of posts about our amazing Directors, this time with our newest recruit, Suzie. It's really important for us that volunteer voices are heard at Board level, so Suzie is with us to represent all you lovely people who spend time with us on a voluntary basis. Here's what she had to say.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm 39, born and raised on a family mixed farm just outside Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire. I spent most of my youth as a member of my local Young Farmer's Club. I'm a past club secretary and have always enjoyed taking part in the annual variety concert, on stage singing and dancing. I enjoyed being on the stage so I joined my local Am Dram group. The most memorable play I was involved in was “Calendar Girls” and, yes, I did get naked on stage!
I spent most of my working career as a hairdresser. In 2014, I decided it was time for a change and to follow a passion for working with animals. I returned to collage as an adult student and then attended SRUC Elmwood in Fife gaining an HNC in animal care before starting work with a local wildlife rescue centre as a wildlife rehabilitator. I worked with a wide range of wild animals, including seals (my favourite), birds of prey, pine martins and hedgehogs.
I married my partner of 10 years in 2016. Michael and I enjoy finding interesting places to stay while on holiday. Our latest was a 1920s converted train carriage. We have 2 cats and 4 hens. Photography, bird watching, baking, cooking and playing the ukulele are some of the things I also enjoy doing when I’m not playing with sharp things.
What drew you to become a Director for Green Aspirations?
It’s amazing what trying something new can do!
I've been involved with Green Aspirations since attending their “Introduction to Green Wood Working” course in January 2018. What I learned that day had a profound impact on me; I was hooked! A new appreciation of wood and a love of sharp things took over. Since then, I've been whittling, spoon carving, attending monthly spoon club, volunteering on and off site with the Axe Maidens, playing with axes, learning new skills, and even contributing to building a timber frame structure! I'm also part of the regular "cutting crew” for the coppice volunteer days, where we learn about traditional methods of woodland management and the renewable supply of materials for a wide variety of uses.
When Paul asked me to represent the volunteers on the Board, I was delighted and honoured! I love getting to be involved behind the scenes to help with the running of such a fantastic organisation.
What do you do as a Director?
I joined the Board earlier in 2020, so I don't think I've seen what a typical time as Director would look like! But, as we find a way out of the pandemic, I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and making sure the volunteer perspective is represented in all the major decisions. For the time being, I'm focusing on making sure Paul gets more organised!
What do you get out of being a Director?
Volunteering with Green Aspirations has done so much for me in so many ways. I'm proud to be able to give back to the organisation and help others experience a community where I have learned so much and been made to feel like part of the family.
What’s your favourite aspect of Green Aspirations’ work, and how do you think it might develop in the future?
I love Axe Maidens! While not exclusively female, it's great as a woman to be encouraged to swing an axe, and it's an excellent opportunity to get more women involved in an activity that is seen as a primarily male. The volunteer days are fabulous. I can take some aggression/stress out on a log with an axe, it feels great! It's a great way to keep fit, learn new skills and meet new people, all of which I love. So, I want to see Green Aspirations continue to grow its community, and especially the group of female volunteers. The diversity of volunteering days and workshops are great, so I'm just going to make sure the opportunities continue to appeal to all ages, fitness and mobility levels, so more people can get involved. And, of course, encourage people to try something new!