Emmaus Glasgow thanks its Board of Trustees as part of Trustees’ Week celebrations.

We are celebrating Trustees’ Week (7 – 11 November) by thanking all members of our board for the vital contribution they each make to the success of our charity.

Trustees’ Week is annual event to showcase the great work trustees do for charities up and down the UK.

There are just over 1 million trustees in the UK and here at Emmaus Glasgow, we’re lucky to have a supportive and dedicated board who bring a variety of skills and experience to help steer our work and develop our charity.

We spoke to Frank McGachy one of the trustees for Emmaus Glasgow, who was happy to tell us about his experiences so far.

Tell us a bit about yourself… 

I worked for 40 years in the voluntary sector. 18 years working with people experiencing homelessness; the rest working with cooperatives and developing a wide variety of community and voluntary organisations.


How did you first hear of Emmaus?

Through a friend who was involved in setting up Emmaus Glasgow.


What made you want to be an Emmaus Glasgow trustee?

  • The model which emphasises work as part of the mix makes it unique.
  • The commitment to earning its own money and the independence of action this gives. Voluntary organisations in Glasgow are dependent on public sector contracts. In my view, they manage homelessness, but they do not address it. Emmaus addresses it.


What is your proudest achievement as an Emmaus Glasgow trustee?

Being part of a team that turned the organisation around from near bankruptcy to the reasonably healthy financial position we are in today. Hard decisions were made and we made them.


What do you love most about Emmaus?

The informality of working alongside the Board, companions, and staff. There is no room for “airs and graces” in Emmaus Glasgow which reflects a very down-to-earth city.


Can you sum up what Emmaus means in one sentence?

I can sum it up in one word: Solidarity.


What is your best second-hand purchase?

A second-hand stove I purchased for my holiday hut that I spent 3 years building on a site on the periphery of Glasgow.


What is your best piece of upcycling?

A flour sieve that I upcycled as a water filter for the water supply to my hut.


How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

Cooking anything with olive oil in it; staying at the hut with my wife and singing in a male voice harmony singing group.


What are your favourite places in and around Glasgow?

Wandering the Kilpatrick Hills that run above the Clyde and walking in the Trossachs.


Tell us something interesting about you…

I was part of a World Council of Churches delegation to Central America in 1989 that opened my eyes to war, what it does to communities and how we in the UK are linked to all this. Humorously, I visited a refugee village in the jungles of El Salvador entitled: “Esperanza” (hope).

Humorous note: They wanted to sing and asked me to sing a Scots song while cracking open several bottles of homemade rum. I sang: My Love is Like a Red Red Rose by Burns and the rest is history.

Reflective note: they carried a large container of water 5k through the jungle from the main road in order that we could have a drink of clean water on our arrival. We take our supply of water too much for granted in this country.


Favourite quote?

Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) Czech politician, poet, philosopher:

“Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, and it’s not dependent on some observation of the world. Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. Hope in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is Hope, above all, which gives the strength to live and continually try new things.”