Managing a complex operation comes naturally to Irene Grassick, who worked for over 40 years in the NHS. As a senior nurse and midwife, Irene brings a calm and practical outlook to AberNecessities, which will be vital in the charity’s busy Dyce HQ.

Irene, who also held the role of Unit Manager at charity Archway, as well as two years spent working at the Royal Cornhill Hospital supporting patients, has joined the company as it forecasts continued high demand due to the ongoing effects of CV19 and the cost-of-living crisis.

AberNecessities has grown exponentially since its inception in 2019, with the initial aims of supporting families in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire becoming overwhelmed by the arrival of the pandemic and now the results of soaring prices and energy bills. From supporting 3,000 children in its first year, and 8,000 in its second year, AberNecessities expects to provide assistance to over 10,000 young families in 2023.

Every day at the headquarters building in Dyce, a team of volunteers sort donations and collate emergency packages to be sent to families referred by professional partners such as healthcare workers and midwives. Irene will oversee a team of seven employees and over 50 volunteers who ensure that each item is individually chosen to meet the needs of the family – from underwear and winter jackets to school books and toiletries, before being personally delivered.

As the need for the services of AberNecessities continues to grow, Irene is building for the future with slick, streamlined procedures aimed at easier collation and distribution. Commenting on her new role, Irene said: “Every day staff members and volunteers hear heart-breaking stories of young children desperately in need, and they then go above and beyond to meet those requirements. With the help of the whole team, we aim to put in place procedures which will enable the personnel to meet the increasing needs but still provide each family with personalised, carefully curated items.

“I am delighted to be joining the AberNecessities team. They are an impressive group, having managed a 100% increase in demand for support packages over the Christmas 2022 period. Every staff member and volunteer was working flat-out in November and December to meet the needs of over two and half thousand children who would not have otherwise celebrated Christmas, at the same time as dealing with new requests for emergency support.

“In 2023, we expect is to nearly double our output again, and as a team we must be prepared. The cost-of-living crisis is not going away. Energy bills are not going down. The number of families struggling to feed and clothe their children is growing and we will make sure our personnel and our processes are ready to meet that demand. The charity relies heavily on its large team of volunteers, and I look forward to working with the team of men and women of all ages who give their time to support others less fortunate than themselves.

Founder Danielle Flecher-Herd added: “Irene’s appointment as Operations Manager is an important strategic move forward for AberNecessities. We have grown very quickly and the team has more than met the needs of thousands of children across the city and shire. Now, as we face such a bleak economic outlook, we expect demand for support to grow exponentially. Irene’s impressive array of skills and experience are a welcome addition to the team, and we are confident she will play an important role in supporting the staff and volunteers as well as helping us continue to assist those in our community most in need.”

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