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Moray Reach Out

Moray Reach Out is a CHARITY and Social Enterprise which supports and provides training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and those recovering from mental health problems is going from strength to strength.

We are grateful to Buckie Radio for the opportunity to tell you more about us and keep you up to date with what is happening in our projects.  First, a little background information.

First established in Buckie in 1996 and incorporated in 2001, Moray Reach Out (MRO) has four different projects which all help build the self-confidence of its trainees.

•Waste Watchers Buckie is an aluminium can and plastic recycling social enterprise which was winner of the Environmental Champion category at the Moray Social Enterprise Awards, organised by TSI Moray.

•Buckie Yarns gives people training in craft and retail through its West Church Street shop.

•In Stitches is the newest project, based at 15 High Street, Elgin, which offers customers a ranger of embroidered products.

•Waste Watchers (Moray Council) recycling facility in Lossiemouth.

Across the projects, MRO offers more than 100 placements each week.

Waste Watchers Bucke was in danger of folding 18 months ago through lack of funding, however, following negotiations with Moray Council it is once again a recognised training project and individuals can be referred using their Self Directed Support budgets.

We have now taken on additional processing at the site and are gradually increasing the number of training placements.

The team of trainees, paid staff and volunteers collect recyclable cans and plastic materials from 120 different outlets a week.

They process around 105,000 cans a month at their March Road premises.

Trainees from Buckie and throughout Moray attend Waste Watchers.  They love the work and the camaraderie among the trainees and staff.

We thank the public for their support but also issued a plea for people to put only recyclable items into collecting buckets. In 2016, we hope to do a short promotional video about what you should and should not put in your recycling.

Moray Reach Out Buckie Yarns is at the forefront of promoting good mental wellbeing with their ‘Reach Out’ project. In 2014, MRO successfully applied for £1,500 funding from Foundation Scotland to pilot a craft and shop skills course for those recovering from mental health problems.

Following a successful pilot, we are now open to receiving referrals to run the course for the third time. Individuals learn new skills, meet new people resulting in an increased level of confidence and self-esteem as well as new employability skills or craft skills for their own benefit.

In Stitches is the newest project. It started out as a business plan to diversify the Start to Knit shop in Elgin to include embroidery services as well as the wool and haberdashery it provided.

As the business plan evolved, we decided it should be launched as a new project in September 2015 and with a new name ‘In Stitches’.  You can find us opposite the Council HQ Annexe (old Safeways building for those who remember it!), High Street, Elgin. for In Stitches to make it easier for new customers, both corporate and members of the public, to browse its online catalogue and gifts selection.

Staff and trainees provide a world host first class service for customers visiting the shop. In Stitches received runner up in the growth category of the tsiMORAY Social Enterprise Awards as well as recognition in three other categories – collaboration, community impact and innovation.

Among a range of Christmas gifts are hand-crafted tartan handbags, a range of IPAD bags and phone holders which can be personalised but don’t forget In Stitches is not just for Christmas, it’s for every special occasion throughout the year.

The charity also tries to offer social activities for trainees as well as their participation in the projects and it is fundraising on a regular basis.

We fundraise to support the social activities.  One of the ways people can help us fundraise is to hand in good quality items of clothing, shoes, handbags bags, linen, towels, curtains to Waste Watchers Buckie or to any of our projects – Buckie Yarns, In Stitches in Elgin or Waste Watchers (Moray Council) Recycling Materials Facility in Lossiemouth.

Moray Reach Out held a big celebration in December to congratulate trainees and pay tribute to staff, volunteers and Board members.  Staff and volunteers are knowledgeable, dedicated and enthusiastic and we couldn’t do it all without them.  We are looking for additional Board Members.  Anyone interested needs to fill in a simple application form, agree to conform to Moray Reach Out’s Code of Conduct.  Any applications are considered at the next available Board Meeting.  If you would like an informal chat about this, please contact Shona on 01542 839324 (please leave name and number on answer machine if I am out at other projects and I will get back to you).

Shona’s post is a three year role, part-funded by the Bailey Thomas Charitable Fund and The Robertson Trust.

Now a little more than half way through, there is still much work to be done, but we are definitely making great progress.

You can find out more about Moray Reach Out at www.morayreachout,




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