A LONG-serving member of staff has taken over the reins of a Hexham charity.

Julia Ferguson became the CEO of Gateway into the Community in January.

Julia is the first chief executive of the charity, after working there for sixteen years.

The charity, which provides services for adults with learning difficulties, moved into new premises last year, and Julia explained that the role was created to show how Gateway has grown.

Julia explained: “Because the organisation has grown, we have to have that level now when we’re in meetings with other organisations.

“I’ve been here since 2003, I started as a local coordinator for western Tynedale

“In 2010, I became life chances manager, then five years ago it was decided that I would take over in the future.

“Since then I’ve been doing all sorts of management and leadership training. Everything I’ve done is through Gateway.”

Julia added that working with the charity for so long means that Gateway’s values have made a lasting impact on her.

“When you grow up with an organisation it’s core values feed into you,” Julia said.

“My passion has always been living in Hexham and working in the local community.

“It might be people you went to school with, that’s why you really care – because it’s real.

“I want these guys to be able to do things like play football on the Sele, which without Gateway they might not be able to do. I want them to be part of the community.

“I’m still going to be involved, I’ll do individual support and sweep the floors because we’re all in this together.

“This job doesn’t mean you’re too big to get involved.”