Craigshill Good Neighbour Network

About Spark

Craigshill Good Neighbour Network (CGNN) was established 37 years ago when many people moved to the “New Town” of Livingston from Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

Many of these new residents had left behind family and friends to set up a new life in Craigshill. Consequently, they did not have the same support network as they did “back home” which led to feelings of social isolation and loneliness in a new community that was establishing itself. Craigshill Good Neighbour Network connected people then as it does as SPARK today to meet, make new friends and share skills and experience. 

It’s Vision and Values remain the same as they did then: 

Our vision is that everyone experiencing social isolation in the communities around Craigshill feels valued and has the chance to spark their potential.

  • At Spark we love to see new faces.
  • We bring people together.
  • Everyone is welcome whatever their social and ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation.
  • We help them connect and build relationships.
  • We nurture their confidence and develop their skills and creativity.
  • We spark possibilities for a different way of seeing themselves.
  • We are where people thrive and make changes to have the life they want.

At SPARK we value everyone for who they are and the potential they have.  
Whoever they are, whatever their situation, they will find a warm welcome and a place where people care about them. 
Together we use our positive and imaginative approach to create a space where anyone can thrive. 

We create spaces for people to connect and build relationships so that they feel supported, encouraged and valued – and can then help others feel the same in return 

We encourage fun and a sense of hope in everyone who walks through our door so that they know this is a place where they can thrive  

We believe everyone deserves the chance to feel better about themselves and make a change to their lives

Meet the Team

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Alex Fleming - Chief Officer

With a strong background in place-making and community relationship building, I joined Spark in March 2022 and as Chief Officer, and have the responsibility for the strategic direction of the organisation. 

I lead an amazing team, whom I am very proud of, and truly appreciate the input the team, our members, and volunteers put in to make Spark the welcoming and friendly place it is. I love people and believe our communities need the capability to provide opportunities for everyone. 

Organisations like Spark, along with our partners and other anchor organisations have a duty to help those who live, work, visit and learn here, create the type of place that makes them proud. 

Previously, I co-founded a charity focused on learning, well-being and collaboration. This was a great insight into some of the challenges faced by our communities and how people pull together to overcome them. Prior to that, I was the Business Improvement District Manager in Falkirk. Leading a small team, we delivered programmes individually and in partnership which helped ensure the town centre was safe, clean, and friendly. It was a role that was both challenging and rewarding. 

Like Spark, never a dull moment! Whilst I love my work and sometimes forget to switch off, I also love a holiday! I love packing my sunglasses and flip-flops to jet off to the sun. I also love spending time here, in Scotland. We live in a truly beautiful country, something I encourage people to see more of and appreciate. 

Finally, I’m a bit of a music geek. My brain seems to retain all sorts of useless information on songs, bands, artists etc. so if you need a team member for a pop quiz, I'm your girl.  

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Tina Love - Operations Manager

Hello My Name is Tina Love and I am the newest recruit to SPARK, I took on the position of Operations Manager on 17th April 2023 and very much looked forward to the new challenge. 

I previously worked in Social Care gaining experience working in Residential young people's settings and moving on to work with Homeless young people. 

I worked in partnership with Spark in my previous role and have always been taken by the positive rich vibe Spark holds, the service users enjoy coming and gaining friendships, which helps prevent loneliness and isolation by breaking up their week with visits to all the activities on offer. You are always made to feel welcome and there is always a cuppa and blether on hand. 

Spark has given me a new outlook on life, helping people is what I have always promoted within my working life and I feel that I am at home within Spark. Working with Spark is allowing me to have a better work-life balance to the benefit of my family. 

When I’m not at work my favourite thing to do is to spend time with the family, adventuring with the younger kids and our crazy dog Jessi or watching my son at his football games to spending girlie day with my youngest daughter. I also have 2 older sons who no longer live at home so it is always a special treat to have everyone home at the weekends now and then.

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Pauline Hanratty - Enterprise Manager

I started volunteering at Spark in March 2018, I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and having a blether, Spark was the perfect place for me to volunteer and I remember thinking to myself, this would be my dream job. Fast forward 3 months later and I landed myself the best job ever as Sparks Social Enterprise Manager. 

My role enables me to create volunteer opportunities within our Social Enterprise shop, supporting and inspiring volunteers to get involved helping them develop new skills and encouraging them to share their existing ones with others. I love that I get to be part of a volunteer’s journey, its incredible to see their confidence and self-esteem grow. 

The role allows me to facilitate volunteer focus groups sharing new and innovate ways to generate income to support the incredible work Spark does within the community. Spark to me is all about welcoming everyone with open arms, encourage one another, having fun and making new friends. One of the thing I love most about working at Spark is listening to the members and volunteers sharing their memories and stories, I feel so lucky and privileged to be part of such a fantastic charity.         

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Kirsty Robertson - Activities and Volunteer Co-ordinator

I started working with Spark in September 2022. I was in my previous job for 22 years so moving was a huge change for me but with my daughter starting her university journey I felt it was the right time for me to seek out a more fulfilling job. 

I have certainly found that in Spark, from the minute you walk in the door you feel the warmth and special vibe that you just can't explain. I'm a very sociable person so the role of activities and volunteer coordinator really suits me perfectly. 

Every day is so varied and honestly so rewarding I couldn't wish to be in a better place. I love watching new members join us, sometimes a bit shy or nervous and watch them blossom, grow in confidence and make new friends. 

My friends do say I'm the social organiser, so I'm in my element when planning events or new activities for Spark members to enjoy. Working closely with our amazing team of volunteers, who we honestly couldn't do without, is a real pleasure. 

When I'm not at work I love going away with my husband and our crazy dog Buddy, in our campervan "Cliff" all over Scotland. Taking in the beautiful views and can often be found with a good book and a glass of something cold and bubbly - what's not to love! 

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Alina Gologan - Community Development Assistant

I started off volunteering with Spark before I got offered a position in September 2022. 

I love my job and my most favourite part is working with the volunteers and members. I love the interactions with them and they always make me feel appreciated. 

When I’m not at work I am a busy Mum to David (9) and Sofia (7). My husband and I enjoy nature and like to take the kids fishing, on road trips, and generally have adventures. For relaxation, I enjoy meditation and mindfulness.

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Niamh Baxter - Apprentice in Media Communications

Passionate about all things media and film, Niamh will be responsible for SPARK'S social media content. 

“I started going to the SPARK Film Making group when it started in February since I wanted to expand my knowledge of Film and Media since I’ve always had a passion for media ever since I was younger. I taught myself how to video edit when I was 11 years old as I had seen on social media that people were editing tv shows, movies and even youtubers at that time. 
I decided to try it out for myself and found I really enjoyed the creative process. I also studied creative and digital media at college and when it came to the digital marketing, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to and became really interested in the analytics of posts on social media. 

I always wanted to go into something in the media sector and it’s amazing that my first ever job can be in that sector. My role at SPARK is Social Media Management Assistant so it involves creating and posting content for SPARK’S social media pages. 

Outside of SPARK I have an interest in video games and the soundtracks from those games, they are my favourite to listen from calming game music to anything that’s upbeat and fast paced. I also have a dog named Hamish who we got back in November of 2021, he is a very loving dog and loves meeting new people. I love to read and have so many well worn books to show for this passion.”

2, Almondbank
The Mall, Livingston.  EH54 5EJ
(01506) 442093