Perthshire's voluntary sector is brimming with local charities and organisations working to create stronger communities. This week we chatted to Clare Gallagher, the woman who’s been at the helm of Independent Advocacy Perth & Kinross for almost 10 years. Clare’s incredibly proud of her team, who she’s steered towards becoming a prominent local charity known for upholding human rights, and helping individuals to have their voices heard.
With such a hectic work life Clare has wisely discovered the importance of balance and can often be found working out at a spin class, taking it easy at yoga or heading out for a long walk in the Perthshire countryside with her husband and their gorgeous dog Moxie.
1. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Working for Independent Advocacy Perth and Kinross is the most interesting job I have had in all my years of work, and I feel passionate about the benefits of independent advocacy support. We are the key human rights organisation in Perth and Kinross, and support a significant number of people who may otherwise be marginalised or unheard.
The start of my day can be either at my office in Tay Street joining the staff team to look at new referrals to the organisation, or it can be catching up on emails on the train to a meeting in Edinburgh or Glasgow. I spend a large part of most days in meetings, either internally or with external organisations, and whilst I find the variety of topics interesting, I relish the days when I can spend time in the office catching up with the staff team at IAPK, and with myself. We have a great team of office and home based advocates which makes work enjoyable, and in amongst our hectic days we are able to share lighter moments.
At the end of the day I can be found at one of the classes at Bells Sports Centre, Northinch Campus or Birnam Institute, and I particularly enjoy spinning, yoga and TRX. I can go home then feeling healthier.
Home during week nights tend to be shorter than I would like, and so mostly consist of cooking dinner, a very brief time to watch some t.v. and catch up with my husband. Then bed and onto the next day.
2. What signals the start of your weekend / days off?
With very little time to myself during the week, I like to plan time off on a regular basis, and love holidays and weekends (as I am sure most people do). I start my weekend with a half hour spinning class, then on to pick up some food. I particularly enjoy stopping at Marks to buy something nice for my husband and I to eat at the weekend, and of course some treats. We also often enjoy a take away on Friday night, and definitely a glass of wine.
3. What makes for a perfect night in?
We have a summer house in the garden, and recently had a wood stove installed, so a weekend night in there feels like a distinction between a busy week and time to relax. Although it is just in the garden, it feels like being away as we just listen to music and watch the birds – feels peaceful!!
4. What makes for a memorable day or night out?
My husband and I love comedy shows, and from time to time we book one in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. We usually book a nice hotel and combine this with a meal and overnight stay.
5. Tell us about the weekend you’d love to live again?
The weekend I got married in 2000. It was a bit last minute, as we had already booked a weekend away with some friends. We decided to get married on the Friday of that weekend, and just invited close family and friends. After our wedding we went on to have a really enjoyable weekend with our friends, so I suppose we had company on our honeymoon! We had a great evening of ‘murder mystery’ where we all got into character, finshed off with a relaxed and enjoyable meal and a fair amount of hilarity!
6. And now your best ever day at work?
My best day at work was just over a year ago. The organisation I work for, Independent Advocacy Perth and Kinross, had a full independent evaluation. This involved the evaluators selecting at random people we had supported and people who had referred people to us, to interview and get their views on the service. The feedback was great, with everyone saying that independent advocacy had made a difference in people’s lives at a time when they were their most vulnerable. It probably sounds a bit corny, but knowing that what you go in to work for makes a difference is extremely motivating.
7. Any workday or weekend rituals?
My favourite ritual is a glass of wine when I get home on a Friday night.
8. What’s in the perfect day off breakfast?
My husband and I are very interested in politics, so Sunday morning watching the many politics shows on T.V. with a leisurely breakfast is my perfect start to the day. My absolute favourite thing to eat for breakfast at the moment is greek yoghurt with honey, fruit and granola.
I also love breakfast in hotels, especially when they have a fabulous selection of fruit, pastries etc.
9. Any words of wisdom for us?
Favourite quote is from Henry Ford:
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”
Clare is the Executive Director at Independent Advocacy Perth and Kinross. MORE >>>
Both rural Perthshire and the city. There's more of a community feel than anywhere else I've lived.
The surrounding rural countryside is stunning, with lots of excellent places to walk my dog.
For a smaller city there are plenty of amenities, with good restaurants and the concert hall.