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1-2-1 with Richard Gammage

Last week, I sat down with our new Chief Executive, Richard Gammage to ask him a few questions about his first week at Stoll, what are his immediate priorities for the organisation and a few quick fire questions as the hallmark of any ‘serious’ interview!

MF: So I think it is best to start with the most obvious question, why Stoll?

RG: Having been in the military family for 27 years, my natural inclination is to do things to support the Service community. When I began to look at where best to add value, one is drawn to the natural conclusion that having a roof over people’s heads is the single most important thing to provide stability, stability upon which wider help can have the best effect. It is the basic fabric of life and the fact that Stoll can deliver that and a range of support services really hit all the buttons for me. Stoll being a place where those who have served their Queen and country get to live amongst their own is unique, and it is already apparent to me that it generates a real sense of community and of being part of a wider, caring family.

RG: Some of the issues that our Veterans at Stoll have faced are similar to the challenges that I have seen amongst my own family and more widely. I knows how housing can affect people and the nature of that is very close to my heart. Lastly, many of the skills I built in my 27 years in the Armed Forces, whether on HR, strategy, finance, estate and service support, and more recently with 7 years in an educational charity are all directly relevant to the work here at Stoll.  It feels very much a natural fit.

MF: What are your key priorities coming in as our new CE?

RG: I think we have to recognize that we are in a very unusual time, so key for me, first and foremost, must be supporting our beneficiaries through this time, keeping a roof over their heads and helped where they need it. For us it must be about getting the basics right and that will be our central priority for as long as the pandemic continues.  The staff at Stoll are quite remarkable people – they care and they are immensely experienced. That is important to me, as is their welfare.

RG: Over my first few days I will be meeting people at the sites, having already enjoyed meeting some of the beneficiaries here at the Fulham site, hearing some interesting tales from the Korean War, the Gulf and Northern Ireland. Just in my first few days, every individual I have met has a story to tell, all of which are entertaining.

MF: Obviously, you served for 27 years, so can you tell me about your time in the Royal Air Force?

RG: I had an incredibly varied career, spent some limited time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Falklands, as well as much in Whitehall. I learnt a great deal and had an incredibly broad experience, which has given me a good background in facilities and people. It was also all fun!

MF: Okay, so for the predictably silly part of the interview I am going to throw you some quick fire questions, your favourite food?

RG: Bacon roll and a mug of coffee, ideally two or more of each!  Not good I know…but honest!

MF: Favourite holiday destination?

RG: It has to be the West Coast of Scotland, so Lewis, Harris and the like.  The best beaches in the world.

MF: Favourite Stoll site?

RG: Oh dear, that put me on the spot.  Maybe the townhouses because I have not been to them yet!

MF: Football team?

RG: Leeds United, since 1974.

MF: Favourite movie?

RG: Grease, saw it 13 times in the cinema (sad to say)

MF: And lastly, I know you are a bit of a cycling enthusiast, so the UK’s best cycling destination?

RG: To and from the Olympic Park (from Hampshire), through the City very early on a sunny, summer, Sunday morning.  Contrasts, culture, challenge.