Chief encounters: Gavin Yates from Homeless Action Scotland

Saturday night sunday morning

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning - Yates' favourite film

New Homeless Action Scotland chief executive Gavin Yates on what makes him tick

5th September 2017 by TFN 0 Comments

What makes a good day at work?

Getting in early and trying to make good progress before the emails start flying in. I’m in my early days here at Homeless Action Scotland so any day meeting members and supporters and talking about or work is pretty good too.

How many hours do you normally work in a week?

Too many according to my children! I am a former councillor and had a very odd working pattern so my family are used to me being around some of the time but not at others. Getting the right balance is hard but I’ll get there eventually.

What do you procrastinate over?

Writing speeches. As a former journalist, knocking out copy is par for the course. Trying to write good speeches and presentations that are not bum-achingly dull is something that concerns me and I’ll tend to put off committing to paper until I have a half decent idea.

Gavin Yates

Gavin Yates

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

Cold calling by commercial companies. Don’t like it in the office and don’t like it at home. Write me an email please.

Is the third sector a calling or an accident?

More like a reoccurring experience. I worked in the sector a decade ago and left to do other things but came back because of the opportunity to make a difference. Working in politics is great fun but can be really frustrating. In the sector even on a bad day you can feel that you’ve made progress.

What happens during your perfect weekend?

I play with the kids (I’ve got a nine-year old and twin seven-year olds) and also ride my bike. I do a sport called audax which is officially self-navigating long distance cycling but it turns into a long ride in the pursuit of cakes and other comestibles. I’ve done rides of over 600km in the past which amounts to a lot of cake.

What’s your favourite film and album?

This is really difficult and changes almost all the time. I have a real soft spot for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and in terms of an album – Low by Bowie.

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?

Probably. If we had a society that was more inclusive and people had the time to contribute to voluntary endeavour I think we would live in a kinder more just world. From my own charity’s position, I would love there to be an end to homelessness and therefore we would cease to be.

Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?

Nope. I’m not on Top of The Pops

You’re home, fully fed with your feet up – which comes first Eastenders or emails?

Emails. I don’t watch TV really and having three children means a non-stop background of YouTube videos, Harry Potter and Minecraft.

Is this a step on the ladder to success or your final destination?

Neither. Life’s a journey and I’m just enjoying the ride.

What do you think is the main strengths of the Scottish charity sector?

Passion. People in the sector genuinely care about what their mission is. We destroy this at our peril.

What does your dream retirement look like?

A bike, some hills and lots of cake.

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox? 

I would always go scientist usually but Brian Denis has just done some voice over work on Unkle’s new album. If pressed then I’ll stick with the Infinite Monkey Cage presenter.

Gavin Yates is chief executive of Homeless Action Scotland.