Edinburgh charity, Eric Liddell Centre has appointed Claire Ritchie as its Chief Operating Officer in a newly created role as the centre reopens.

Claire joined the team as Business Development Manager in June 2021 and has been promoted to help CEO, John MacMillan, bring his plans for the charity and its work to fruition.

Using her business acumen to support the charity, Claire has worked to ensure the charity recovers from a financial deficit of £225,000 caused by the impact of Covid restrictions leading to the Centre being closed from March 2020 until July 2021.

The specialist dementia day care centre is now offering a fuller range of services.

Claire Ritchie new COO at Eric Liddell Centre

John MacMillan said: “Claire is an accomplished senior leader with 20 years’ track record of successful strategic and operational leadership, demonstrated across a range of roles within the financial services industry, in addition to recent experience in the charity sector. I’m delighted to welcome Claire to our charity and look forward to continuing to work with her in this new role.

“With the worst of the pandemic behind us, we want to build on the innovative approaches we adopted to our services through necessity to ensure we continue to deliver for our community in the very best possible manner in this decade and thereafter.  

“This is a very exciting time for us having celebrated the Centre’s 40th anniversary in 2020 and the centenary of Eric Liddell’s legendary gold medal win at the Paris Olympics coming soon in 2024. We are extremely proud that we have the honour to carry his name and we are busy planning projects and events to mark the centenary which will enable us all to celebrate Eric, his achievements and legacy.”

Claire Ritchie said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Eric Liddell Centre and I’m excited to be playing a leading role as we enter this new phase. ELC has a fantastic team of staff and volunteers and it has been my pleasure to get to know them and the amazing work they do supporting our local community over the last eight months. 

“I’ve acquired extensive experience in financial services and I’m excited about this opportunity to combine these highly transferable skills with my deep desire to contribute to society more widely. 

“I’m particularly passionate about playing a role to address the loneliness epidemic that is invading our society and has the potential to be devastating both at an individual level and macro level. The team here already do fantastic work on this and I’m looking forward to working closely with them to develop and grow our services further. 

“The Centre’s building is a great asset now it is open again. We have started the phased return of our services and classes offered to the community. We hope to welcome many of our long standing and new customers back to the building.”