Meet Alex Sutcliffe – Volunteer manager and arctic explorer!

31 January 2024
As part of our work to highlight the contributions of people whose work involves or supports volunteers, we met up with Alex Sutcliffe, North Yorkshire Council’s Major Incident Response Team Manager. We asked her about her role and also found out something unexpected!

Please introduce yourself

Hello everyone. I am Alex Sutcliffe and I work at North Yorkshire Council. I’m the Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) Manager of the Resilience and Emergencies team, and Manager of the Ready for Anything volunteer group. I have worked in my current role for the last 10 years and prior to that was a volunteer in the MIRT team myself for 8 years. I have the best job in the world!

What attracted you to the organisation and role?

I have always enjoyed working for the public sector. I started my career in the NHS and then moved across to local government. I had coveted the MIRT Manager’s role for a number of years while being a volunteer. I have always wanted to assist in helping those in emotional trauma within our communities. So, being able to lead a team in a council that shares the same ideals made this the perfect job in my eyes.

What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming a Volunteer Coordinator/ Manager?

Do it! It is so rewarding being the custodian of volunteers. You learn so much from them, and they bring a wealth of experience with them. I am humbled every day by the selflessness of our volunteers, and it is very satisfying to be able to help them enhance their skills, keep them engaged and looked after and knowing the value of the work they do in their own time.

What have you learnt about yourself while in this role?

I have learnt that I’m not afraid to walk towards someone’s pain; I will not shy away from approaching someone who has been caught up in something very distressing. I have also learnt that you must never ‘assume’ anything – everyone has a story and we don’t always see their story. They might be outwardly happy (the life and soul of the party even), while inwardly they have a lot of unhappiness. Treating everyone with kindness and respect, never judging and just being myself seems to work.

Finally, please tell us something about yourself that your colleagues would be surprised to know.

In 2022 I circumnavigated Iceland and crossed the Arctic circle before it moves – did you know that the Arctic circle moves? Soon it will be out at sea and we won’t be able to cross it on foot!  It was super cold, but worth the two-hour walk.

Want to find out more about how we can support you?

If you are currently in a volunteer coordinator role, why not have a look at our specialised training or why not join our coordinator’s network that offers practical guidance and support to volunteer coordinators and managers across North Yorkshire.