ANGUSalive employs over 250 people to help change lives by inspiring healthy, active and creative lifestyle choices.
Below we feature some of our colleagues from across our service areas who tell us more about their experience, role and why they enjoy working here at ANGUSalive.
Sport and Leisure
Scott Nicoll - Community Sports Hub Coordinator
Scott carries out a number of tasks including working with local clubs and community organisations to establish Community Sport Hubs in Angus; helping develop Angus clubs and making them be the best they can; a sport specific remit including the organisation of development squads in swimming / gymnastics; national athlete support; club accreditation; coach education (organisation of CPD courses for volunteers); planning for holiday programmes and Sports Awards.
One of the main reasons he says he is in this role is the passion he has for sport. He said: “Sport has been a big part of my life and I’m now in a position where I can give something back to the community and try to ensure that there are opportunities for all in Angus, to encourage the local communities to take part in physical activity and sport.
“I enjoy my role and there is never one day the same with a wide variety of tasks, meeting clubs and seeing clubs grow and using sport as a tool to change lives which makes you appreciate the role you are in.”
Scott has been with ANGUSalive from the start (December 2015). He transitioned across from Angus Council where he started off in 2005 as a supply sports coach, before being successful in the recruitment process for the development assistant football role and acted up in the football development role until March 2015 where he then undertook the community sport role and is still here today!
Laura Smith, OBE - Disability and Inclusion Lead
Laura’s role at ANGUSalive is all about developing and delivering exciting, innovative and highly engaging programmes across all service areas to facilitate participation for all, enabling all Angus residents and communities to improve their well-being by pursuing their interests, aspirations and potential. Basically making sure that when we talk about inclusion and diversity, ANGUSalive’s commitment is more than just words and which have a direct impact on the lives of people within Angus.
Laura explains more on her role, she said: “Many moons ago when I worked in the Reporter to the Children’s Panel Office, one of my friends invited me along to a disability sports club. That was my lightbulb moment, I decided there and then that I wanted to work with people with a disability and I’ve been captivated ever since.” For her it’s all about helping to create change for every individual or family through building skills, adapting services or assisting with modifications to make sure everyone has that sense of belonging and feeling of being part of a community.
Laura continues: “I love that my role allows me to build relationships with children, adults, families and colleagues as I believe strong relationships are a great foundation for positive outcomes and achievements. I always feel privileged that people share so much of their lives with me, I feel it helps me do a better job and sometimes the most important thing I can do is be part of their team and journey.”
Laura is a Director of Special Olympics Great Britain and the Special Olympics Scotland Chair, and was the first woman to Lead a Special Olympics GB Team to a European and World Games. She is also a short break foster carer for Barnardo’s, and is passionate about making sure children and families receive the care and protection they need.
Rhona Guild – Health Walk Co-Ordinator
Lesley Matthews - Operational Lead
Lesley started working for Angus District Council back in Jan 1988, based in Forfar Library which was where the Meffan Museum is now. By March 1988 it had moved into its current location – just up the road. She spent a few years there before taking up a new post in Library Support Services, though again she didn’t go far it was only downstairs!
27 years went by in a flash and in 2015, with the transition to charitable trust ANGUSalive, she was excited to move into her new post as Rural and Home Delivery Services Officer. Lesley has always been passionate about providing the best service to those who are more socially isolated and vulnerable. Lesley said: “Now we had far more opportunity to develop our Mobile Library service. It was an exciting time; I completed my first funding bid securing the purchase of two new vans and visited Belfast to be involved in their design. I learnt a great deal in those four years and I couldn’t have done it without the team I had around me.” It remains one of her proudest moments introducing mobile library vans, Isla and Glen, to the ANGUSalive family.
Lesley’s current role is Operational Lead for Forfar and Kirriemuir libraries, she said: “I have truly come full circle. If you had told me as a 21-year-old that one day I’d be given the opportunity to be back running that same library I would never have believed it. I am now blessed with two great teams around me and I’m excited to see where the road will take me next.”
Museums, Galleries and Archives
Rachel Jackson - Museums Exhibitions Lead
Rachel Jackson, Museums Exhibitions Lead, didn’t start out working in museums but was drawn to it as a second career by a love of working with communities and aspirations of promoting heritage.
Rachel graduated with a BA hons in Business Administration and started working in customer service for a large supermarket. She then took a career break when her three boys were little and volunteered for community groups in her local town. It made her rethink work choices and realise that she wanted to work with communities and heritage projects. Rachel then started work for a community regeneration project in Perthshire which involved understanding the demographic of the town and bringing together many community groups.
After this Rachel began working part-time in her local museum, promoting local heritage and engaging with community groups. Once in the role she recognised she wanted to update her skills and in 2018 completed a Masters in Museum and Galleries at St. Andrews University, which she admits was ‘very difficult’ with trying to juggle work full time, studying part time and bringing up a family.
Rachel’s skills in business administration are now very useful in the lead role she is in which is to deliver innovative exhibitions and collaborative displays, especially the task of planning exhibitions in each of our ANGUSalive museums and galleries.
Rachel says: “Although 2020 has been an extremely difficult year it has been an opportunity to learn new ways of working, build strong relationships with colleagues and think about finding new ways to tell the story of Angus through the incredible museum collections in our museums.”
Theatres and Venues
Audrey Hood - Theatre Manager
Audrey Hood started her career with Dundee Council in 1989 working in Community Education, before moving to Tayside Contracts and then to Angus Council working with Cultural Services. In 2015 excitingly she transitioned to ANGUSalive - a newly formed charitable trust.
Audrey manages all the venues in the Theatres & Venues portfolio including the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath, Reid Hall in Forfar, Kirriemuir Town Hall, Montrose Town Hall, Inglis Memorial Hall in Edzell and Arbroath Community Centre. She works with a small team of dedicated colleagues who always aim to go over and above to help ensure all our customers and visitors are happy. Our venues are available for so many different purposes, from music, comedy and drama shows to community hires, weddings…. it’s vast.
Our venues and what they offer bring so many different benefits to the local community and life of individuals. During the COVID-19 lockdown this has been even more apparent as people can’t get to the venues to enjoy their favourite club, society, show and so much more.
Audrey said: “The job is extremely busy and there are always a lot of time sensitive pressures involved but I do thrive on that kind of environment and take great pleasure in seeing how it all comes together. The ultimate joy is seeing our customers leave after a show having been entertained and having had a great night out!
“In the venues, we can be assisting a charity fundraiser or helping someone organise their special wedding day. I am blessed to have a great team working with me - I couldn’t do it without them. We may be small, but we are perfectly formed."
Claire Drummie - Duty Manager
Claire Drummie is our Duty Manager/Front of House Manager at The Webster Memorial Theatre.
She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Webster Theatre, Arbroath Community Centre, Forfar Reid Hall, Montrose Town Hall, Kirriemuir Town Hall and Inglis Memorial Hall.
She has been with ANGUSalive since its formation in December 2015, however she started with Angus Council in 1997 holding a number of roles including working with Recreation Services and Cultural Services before moving to a newly refurbished Webster Memorial Theatre in November 2007 later becoming Duty Manager in 2014.
Claire has a passion for event organising and customer service and says she is lucky because her job allows her to do both these things every day. Her duties include meeting and greeting the customers that visit the Webster Memorial Theatre for a performance and making sure that everything from the stage to the front door runs smoothly. Other day-to-day duties include dealing with production companies who visit our venues, assisting with the scheduling of staff to make sure customers’ needs are met and she is also responsible for the Box Office.
Claire loves getting feedback from customers who tell her they’ve had an enjoyable event or thanking the team when they leave the theatre after they have run a successful show. Claire adds: “The buzz in the theatre on show night is great, people come to have a good time and that atmosphere definitely rubs off on all the staff…you can’t beat it.”
Claire is also the Producer of our in-house annual pantomime. The team generally start work for the Panto in February so it is a year-long project of holding auditions for the local dancers, casting our stars, writing and editing scripts and the design of set, props and costumes. She loves her involvement in the pantomime, and it has taught her so much and has even brought an artistic side out of her that she never knew she had.
Claire adds: “Everyone who works in the theatre would agree that panto and Christmas is a magical time of year for us, it is hard work but also so rewarding. Theatre & Venues have an amazing team, everyone is committed to bringing a great service to the people of Angus it makes going to work every day easy… we are very lucky.”
Business Management & Development
Graham Thom - Board Executive Assistant/Operations Supervisor
I began working with ANGUSalive in September 2019 as an Operations Supervisor at Webster’s Sports Centre in Kirriemuir and I am currently seconded as the Board Executive Assistant. Taking on this role has allowed me to develop a much better understanding of the big picture for ANGUSalive, and how the various elements of the Trust link together. I have enjoyed the challenges that have come with the position with providing support for the Board and Senior Leadership Team, as well as having been involved in the development of some of the exciting new projects like the ANGUSalive mobile app.
I have always enjoyed sport and went back to university in 2008 where I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Strength and Conditioning, before going on to complete a PhD in Exercise Physiology. I’m an Accredited Coach with the UK Strength and Conditioning Association and have been coaching International level athletes from a wide range of different sports for nearly 10 years now. I am passionate about helping athletes develop their sporting potential and I find it very satisfying helping them reach their goals.
In my spare time I enjoy watching rugby and taking part in a range of outdoor activities on offer in the nearby Angus glens.