We’re really excited to announce that Grant Sugden has recently been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at Circle. Grant is highly respected in the Third Sector community having led Waverley Care as chief executive since leaving Circle in 2011.
Grant previously worked at Circle as a Senior Manager before leaving in 2011 to take up his current full-time role as Chief Executive of Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C Charity.
Grant has an MSc in Social Work and an MBA. Both skills will be vital in ensuring that Circle’s work with vulnerable families across Edinburgh, East & West Lothian and North & South Lanarkshire continues to grow to meet the increasing demand for help.
Grant says he couldn’t resist the opportunity of coming back to Circle to take on a new role.
He says: “I’m absolutely delighted to join the board of Circle as its new chair. Circle is an organisation I’ve had a long association with. I’m looking forward to working with everyone involved in supporting its vital work with children and their families in Scotland.”
We asked Grant a few questions about his vision for Circle and got to know him a bit better, check out his answers below.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Modest, positive, quirky
What is your history with Circle?
I joined Circle (or FSU as it was at the time) as its Operational Manager and enjoyed 7 happy years with the charity until moving on in 2011. This was a really interesting time as the charity broke away from its UK counterpart, rebranded as Circle and continued growing into new areas of work. I was responsible for managing and developing a number of services such as Harbour, Haven and the work with families affected by imprisonment. It’s heartening to see that these fantastic projects are still going strong today. Some of the brilliant staff I worked with are still there doing a great job too!
Have you seen any great acts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer?
My highlight this year is definitely Mark Watson who starred in two comedy benefits for Waverley Care. There is something very endearing about him and he’s a great storyteller too. Loved his anecdotes about continually being mistaken for David Baddiel!
What skills do you bring to the role of Chair of Circle’s Board?
I worked in children and families social work before moving into the third sector. I have a good understanding of the organisation and totally get what it is trying to achieve for children and families in Scotland. Hopefully having a number of years away from the organisation also allows me to take a fresh look at things too. I’m also CEO of a charity, Waverley Care, in my day job so I am very aware of what is involved in running and funding a charity.
What happens during your perfect weekend?
A perfect weekend would be spent down in our favourite haunt, Alnwick in Northumberland. We’d start with a morning run then a good breakfast and a trip somewhere nice in the area. There’s also a really nice pub that we like to visit for a couple of pre-dinner pints and our guilty pleasure of scampi fries!
What’s your favourite album?
This is an easy one – Parallel Lines by Blondie. The first album I owned and still my favourite from my all-time top band. Great songs sung by the greatest woman ever to lead a rock band.
What is your vision for the future of Circle and the families we support?
The work Circle does with children and families is incredibly important. It makes a huge difference to the children and families involved and it also supports the work of local authorities and NHS boards. My vision is that Circle’s work is sustainably funded and better recognised across Scotland. We’ve got great stories to tell about what we do and more people need to hear the stories.
Health inequalities and the lack of life chances affect so many of the families we work with. Working towards a Scotland where every child can grow and prosper seems like something worth aspiring for!
What is your dream holiday destination?
A place we’ve gone to again and again is Barcelona – it’s a fantastically vibrant city that has everything. Great food, architecture, culture, people and history.
What’s your favourite book?
‘A Place Called Winter’ by Patrick Gale a really moving story of love, sexuality and migration set mainly in a young Canada.
What’s your favourite circle? E.g. doughnut, Frisbee, pizza, football!
I love watching tennis so I’ll say the tennis ball!