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 CRNS, 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 CRNS 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 CRNS 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 CRNS, 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 CRNS 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 CRNS 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.

- Elaine Ritchie, Events Officer

Elaine Ritchie

Your role

I joined CRNS 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 CRNS 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 CRNS 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 CRNS 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 CRNS, 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 and friendly’. The children know which of the 5 compartments in the kitchen bin to place their leftovers and rubbish, we ‘sort’ vigorously on a weekly basis prior to kerbside collections and we now also have a large compost bin for fruit, vegetable peelings, eggshells and coffee grains. I also use our school’s preloved uniform scheme and walking as opposed to driving (when feasible) is starting to take off!

- Lesley Campbell, Reuse Consortium Co-ordinator

Lesley Campbell

Your role

The Consortium provides reuse furniture to Local Authorities to help households and people in need through poverty, homelessness and other difficult circumstances.  I support the Consortium members to ensure we provide a great service to Local Authorities, promote the Consortium to encourage more Local Authorities to get involved, and I do the number crunching and reporting bit for our funders.

The CRNS team

I love that as a  really small  team we all have our own areas of work to focus on, but we support each other and work together to get things done.  I also really appreciate and value the passion and commitment that our members have for the work that they do in their communities – you can’t help but be impressed, and it is good to play our part to support the positive stuff that is happening to counteract all the doom and gloom in the news.

Supporting the environment

Working with colleagues who are very knowledgeable about reuse and recycling, has given me a greater insight into what I can do at home to care better for the environment.  I didn’t know, for example, that plastic plant pots couldn’t be recycled …. and I am now trying to be a bit more creative about what I do with them!  Also, working with our furniture reuse members, I have been converted to look for reuse first, before going to buy something new. You can get some amazing quality items at great prices, and it’s doing good for local communities as well.

- Matt Lewis, Membership Officer

Matt Lewis

Your role

My role is to look after our existing members and potential new members and to manage our communications and social media feeds. I also support our events officer to manage our annual events programme for our members.

The CRNS 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.

- Michele Donegan, Finance Officer

Michele Donegan

Your role

I have been Finance officer at CRNS 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 CRNS team

What I enjoy about working at CRNS 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 CRNS 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.

Board Members

- Sam Mills, Chair, Changeworks

Sam Mills is an experienced senior manager with a strong track record of working across the public and third sector.  As Head of Projects at Changeworks, Sam leads a team of over 20 staff and 60 volunteers delivering innovative energy, fuel poverty, waste prevention and recycling projects.  Sam has worked for Changeworks for over 16 years in a variety of roles.  Before this she was Environmental Coordinator with Hart Builders and Environmental Health Officer with Midlothian and City of Edinburgh Councils.  Sam has been Deputy Chair on the CRNS Board since November 2017 and was appointed as Chair in January 2019. 

- Naomi Johnson, Vice-chair, Freelance Consultant

Naomi Johnson has been working as an independent freelancer in Scotland since September 2016 including helping facilitate a board strategy day for CRNS earlier this year.  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.

- Simon Laidlaw, Treasurer, Transform Community Development

Simon Laidlaw has worked in the voluntary sector for the last 23 years. As well as reuse experience, he has a great knowledge of homelessness, mental health and addictions service delivery. He has a degree in Social Policy as well as an MBA and a law degree. He began his career in the Royal Navy and later trained as a Registered Nurse. In the early nineties he moved from NHS forensic psychiatric services into the voluntary sector setting up homeless accommodation in Edinburgh for Bethany Christian Trust and later growing the organisation’s service delivery as Assistant Director. Currently he is CEO of Transform, leading the organisation in its delivery of social care and social enterprise activities across Tayside and Fife.

- Ray Georgeson, MBE

Ray Georgeson is an independent professional who is highly experienced in the resource efficiency sector.  With over 30 years experience of waste and resources management as a volunteer, campaigner, educator, policymaker, programme manager, chief executive and consultant. He runs his own consultancy business (RGR) and was also CEO of the Resource Association from 2011 to 2019.  Previous roles include Director of Policy & Evaluation at WRAP and CEO at Waste Watch, as well as acting as an adviser to Defra, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office and the Irish Government.  Ray was educated at the University of Lancaster and Cranfield University School of Management and is a Chartered Waste Manager and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

- Sophy Green, Instant Neighbour

Sophy Green is the Chief Executive of Instant Neighbour, a well-respected social enterprise operating in the North East of Scotland. She was appointed Chair of Senscot (Social Entrepreneur Network Scotland) in June 2007, is a mentor with Business Mentoring Scotland, a Mentor with the Sported Foundation, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an alumni of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a Burgess of Guild for the City of Aberdeen and a member of the Bonnymuir Green Community Trust.  She is married, has three daughters, a granddaughter and grandson.

- Laura Tainsh, Partner, Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Laura Tainsh is the lead Partner in the Environmental & Waste Team with the Davidson Chalmers Stewart law firm.   Laura has varied and wide-ranging experience which covers all environmental issues, with a particular specialism for dealing with the waste and resources sector and enjoys being involved in unique transactions which require a bespoke but commercial approach.  Laura is a Chartered Waste Manager with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the only solicitor in Scotland to have obtained this accolade. She is also a member of the Scottish Council of CIWM and the Scottish representative of the CIWM Scientific and Technical Committee. In addition, Laura is a Law Society of Scotland Accredited Specialist in Environmental Law and is an active member of Law Society of Scotland Environmental Law Committee and of the Scottish Committee of the UK Environmental Law Association.  On the more academic side of things, Laura is a member of the editorial board of the highly regarded Scottish Planning & Environmental Law (SPEL) Journal as well as being a regular contributor to the journal and also to Materials Recycling World Magazine as a columnist.

- Paul Johnston, Councillor, Aberdeenshire Council

Paul has served on the CRNS board since 2010 including acting as Chair for much of this time.  Paul has over 25 years in retailing, business sales and procurement, predominately in the food and drink sector.  During this time Paul has developed extensive experience in product evaluation, benchmarking and retail.  Paul has been a Councillor on Aberdeenshire Council since 1995.  Paul graduated from the University of Aberdeen.

- 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.

- Colin Freeman, Bike for Good

For the last 5 years Colin has been Operations Manager of Bike for Good – Scotland’s largest, and one of its longest established, bike recycling charities. Responsibilities include Operations Management of the Social Enterprise sector of the Organisation covering 4 departments (2 shops with recycling & repair workshops, B2B/Outreach department and the operation of the maintenance contract of Glasgow Nextbike, Glasgow’s mass automated bike hire scheme. Coaching and leadership of a team
of 60 staff and 50 volunteers, creation and control of annual and monthly budgets and financials and H&S administration.

Prior to working for Bike for Good Colin ran his own business for 8 years in both Scotland and then Canada. Before that he was Area Manager and Business Development Manager for Cafe Nero for 7 years.

Working for large corporations Colin has developed great communication, motivation, innovation & team leadership skills with a keen eye for detail. Through developing his own business, he is highly self-motivated with a focus on quality & financial controls whilst always aiming to exceed the customers’ expectations.  Colin’s main hobby is keeping fit and competing in Triathlon events.

- Paul Smith, The Reuse Shop

After starting his working life working with children with special needs in residential care, Paul Smith moved on to work in the private sector, before working for an inner-city local authority.  Over the past two decades Paul has spent his time working with volunteers in a regeneration role to develop a Furniture Project as a sustainable social enterprise that has a positive impact within our local community.

Otherwise life is all about his two daughters and what he can do to assist with their growth into adulthood.