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Social enterprise Glencraft strengthens board with two non-executive appointments

Social enterprise Glencraft strengthens board with two non-executive appointments


Aberdeen-based social enterprise Glencraft has appointed two non-executive directors to bolster its existing team as part of a broader development strategy.

The addition of Neil Skene and Ken Robertson as non-executive directors takes the charity’s board up to six, following on from the appointments of Laura Bruce and Allan Clow in late 2022.

Glencraft, which has provided employment opportunities for disadvantaged people for 180 years, manufactures luxury mattresses and other soft furnishing products from its facility and showroom on Whitemyres Avenue in Mastrick.

Inverurie-based Neil Skene is an experienced advisor, entertainer and public speaker. He is one of Scotland’s few blind comedians regularly performing at Aberdeen’s Breakneck Comedy and other venues across Scotland. Neil’s appointment marks his return to Glencraft, having previously worked at the social enterprise for almost 13 years as an upholsterer. He also has over 20 years’ experience as a fundraising co-ordinator for North East Sensory Services.

Aberdeen-based Ken Robertson is a chartered engineer and member of the Institution of Chemical Engineering. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the energy industry with a career that has seen him work in the UK, Asia, Africa, Canada and Europe. Ken is also a non-executive director of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and advisory board member for Empirisys, a data science/process safety start-up.

Ken and Neil will join fellow non-executive directors Laura Bruce, Allan Clow – who came on board in September 2022 – Leigh Stott and Jonathan Smith who is also chairman of Glencraft.

Jonathan said: "We have strengthened our board to six non-executive directors, with a diverse range of skills and experience. Ken and Neil are an excellent fit to the Glencraft board and I am sure their first-hand professional and personal life experiences will be of huge benefit to everyone at Glencraft.”

Neil said: “Glencraft gave me my first taste of working life - everything I have achieved in my personal and professional life can be directly attributed to the foundations I built during my time spent at Glencraft. I am delighted to be returning as a non-executive director of the board and it is my mission to ensure Glencraft continues to provide dignity through work and to ensure others have the same life-enhancing experience that I had.”

Ken said: "I’m really looking forward to getting started with Glencraft and adding value to its mission of delivering dignity through work. It is an extremely successful enterprise and I hope that, with the expanded board, we can build on this success.”

The charity supports 26 jobs and more than 80% of its staff are visually impaired or have some other form of disadvantage in relation to health or socio-economic challenges. One member of staff provides key manufacturing skills despite being blind. He has been with Glencraft for 40 years. Another member of staff, Nataliia Zaplitna, is a Ukrainian refugee who joined the organisation in 2022 after fleeing the war in Kharkiv.

Glencraft was granted a Royal Warrant by the late Queen Elizabeth II and has supplied four generations of the Royal family. The social enterprise has also won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility) in 2021, recognising its commitment to supporting people from under-represented groups.

Customers in the North-east of Scotland include The Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar, Buchan Braes Hotel near Peterhead, and Maryculter House Hotel and The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. Others include The Balmoral in Edinburgh, Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair district and the Caledonian Sleeper Service. Glencraft has also experienced increased demand in international markets and for its industry-compliant mattresses for use on offshore installations.

The not-for-profit social enterprise’s deluxe handmade luxury mattresses, some of which have 3,000 pocket springs, have been showcased in Vogue magazine. They also incorporate UK-sourced natural materials such as horsehair, mohair, cashmere, wool and alpaca wool.

Glencraft manufactures upholstery in-house, including divans, ottomans, headboards, blanket boxes, cushions and other soft furnishings. The charity saw a rise in trade at its showroom, just off Lang Stracht, following the closure of the John Lewis store in Aberdeen.

Glencraft also has two international stores operating under brand licensing agreements. They are in South Korea and Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit: www.glencraft.luxury

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Published: 19-04-2023

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