FD in Five Minutes: Graeme Farmer

Third Sector gets the views of the finance and resources director at the energy and fuel poverty charity Changeworks

Graeme Farmer
Graeme Farmer

Why did you choose finance as a career? It wasn’t really a conscious decision. I was good at certain subjects at school, which led to a degree in accountancy and finance then a place on the NHS finance management programme.

What made you work in the charity sector? I chanced upon the sector randomly when temping and never looked back. In the charity sector, finance is treated as a valuable resource to be used as effectively as possible to achieve charitable objectives, rather than as an end in itself to be maximised and distributed to owners. At the same time the sector embraces the risk, flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit of the commercial sector.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? Helping to set up Warmworks – a joint venture between Changeworks, the Energy Saving Trust and Everwarm, formed to deliver the Scottish government’s flagship national fuel poverty alleviation scheme, Warmer Homes Scotland.

What do you do outside work? I used to be heavily involved in environmental campaigning, but now that my work is heavily focused on this area I tend to spend my spare time in a different space.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? I'm not sure I can single anyone out. Perhaps my dad, who made it very clear that he didn’t care what I did as long as I did it with integrity and fairness.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? Yes. The charity sector will have a critical role in tackling the climate crisis, being trusted by the public, focused on delivery and experienced at working quickly and collaboratively to an effective end.

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