Meet the team

Meet our friendly and experienced team who are based in our Edinburgh and Aberdeen offices.

Our Edinburgh Office

Stephen Small St Andrew's Children's Society

Stephen Small

CEO

I remember the feeling of freedom as a child. I spent most of the time outside playing with friends in the local woods and parks. While I felt that my parents weren’t always watching over me I had the security of knowing where they were and that they loved me. Every child deserves that feeling!

Charlie Egan St Andrew's Children's Society

Charlie Egan

Service Manager

My favourite holiday as a child was to Girvan with my Mum, Dad and 3 younger brothers. Simpler times!

Favourite TV programmes were Banana Split and Scooby Doo. I loved playing football (still do) and I enjoyed Bazooka Joes which was bubble gum. I did enjoy reading “The Hobbit” as a child and I remember playing a board game called Colditz (which I think was quite complicated and I am sure we didn’t follow all the rules but enjoyed it anyway!).

Tracey Turnbull St Andrew's Children's Society

Tracey Turnbull

Service Manager

When I was very little I loved spending time at the weekends with my dad ‘helping’ him to fix up his stock cars and going to the racing. Even had a wee set of overalls!

Mel Meet the team

Mel Thomson

Adoption Support Manager

My parents were sociable people and so a lot of my childhood involved parties at our house and being surrounded by family, friends of my parents and their children. I have great memories of big group holidays in the north of Scotland and running free in a pack of children.

Claire McMahon St Andrew's Children's Society

Claire McMahon

Office Manager

My favourite holiday when I was younger was when my parents booked a house on a farm and we got to help out on the farm.

Lorna MacFarlane St Andrew's Children's Society

Lorna MacFarlane

Senior Practitioner

My favourite film from childhood and still a favourite today is The Wizard of Oz.

Iona Hughes St Andrew's Children's Society

Iona Hughes

Senior Practitioner

As a child (Primary School aged) –

Favourite holiday – Summer holidays spent with my Gran.

Book – Don’t think I had a childhood book, used to read from the library, no titles come to memory. I loved reading the Beano.

Film – Not sure, we didn’t have a cinema in Fort William until Back to the Future came out, and Blockbuster didn’t come along until around that time as well.

Toy – Probably my bike, or my soft talking teddy bear – AJ Bear.

Hobby – Brownies/Girl Guides.

Sweet – Home baking – my gran’s Millionaire Shortbread.

Game – Probably races, or running around.

Julie Arbuckle St Andrew's Children's Society

Julie Arbuckle

Senior Practitioner

I’m from a Forces family and we moved every couple of years but my grandparents’ home was always our constant. They worked for the National Trust and lived/worked in an apartment inside Brodie Castle in Forres. I used to fib to my friends that it was my family’s castle!

I have many fond memories of time spent with my grandparents there, and with the lovely Laird who liked to stand beside his portrait and surprise the visitors.

Katie Delap

Senior Practitioner

My favourite toy was a cuddly dog called Scooby who I always slept with. I still remember being upset when I came home one day to find him pegged to the washing line by his ears as Mum had decided he was badly in need of a clean. This was undoubtedly true but he was never quite the same again.

I also went through a period when I was very attached to a large metal chain which I pretended was a snake and called Sidney! I am still teased about this by my family.

I particularly loved the Winnie the Pooh and Magic Faraway Tree books and watched all of the Disney films many times over.

Tim Rogerson St Andrew's Children's Society

Tim Rogerson

Social Worker

Although no family is perfect, I grew up in one in which I felt very loved, happy and secure. When I was very young we lived in Nairn, and I fondly remember my parents taking us on long Saturday afternoon car journeys to remote places in the Scottish highlands, for what seemed like far longer family hikes.

Although these often felt like seemingly endless forced marches, I always felt a deep sense of comfort in being wedged between my older brother and sister (who were often bickering) in the back seat of my dad’s semi-reliable Toyota Carina.

On our way back from these daytrips, we would often stop for a chippy, inspect/compare blisters, and eat our food in comfortable silence.

I still think of these times when I eat a fish supper.

Emma Quinn St Andrew's Children's Society

Emma Quinn

Social Worker

My favourite memory from my childhood was our Sunday ‘hurl’ where my grandad would get me and my many cousins into his minivan and we would explore somewhere new. We often visited beaches, parks and sometimes the amusements! We always had something cool to listen to, mainly Elvis Presley!

 

Georgia Gialpa

Georgia Gialpa

Senior Practitioner

Growing up, I spent most of my summer holidays on the Greek island of Lefkada, with my sister and our grandmother. My most vivid memories are of us playing with friends, swimming in the sea and listening to my grandmother’s bedtime stories. She was an amazing storyteller.

 

Eugenia Dorosz St Andrew's Children's Society

Eugenia Dorosz

Reception/Administrative Assistant

The most memorable time of my childhood was winter in Poland.

I remember building deep tunnels in the snow and playing hide and seek with my sibling and friends.

Carolyn Smith St Andrew's Children's Society

Carolyn Smith

Administrator

My favourite childhood film, which is actually my all time favourite film (and I have many favourites!), is E.T.

Rex McBride

Administrator

My most cherished childhood memories are of exploring the different environments surrounding where I lived. We moved a lot when I was young, so there was always a new landscape to explore with new mysteries to uncover.

Despite the constant change, these experiences fuelled my curiosity and broadened my horizons, shaping the person I am today.

Tara Macgregor

Head of Marketing

As a young child my favourite toy was my teddy bear. When we went on holiday I would create a little suitcase for him and fill it with a homemade beach towel, sun glasses and a book (this is all pre Bears R Us days!). I remember buying a tiny parasol for him when we were on holiday one year.

My favourite sweet was a strawberry bonbon and my favourite TV programme was Grange Hill.

Dan Docwra St Andrew's Children's Society

Dan Docwra

Fundraiser

My dad bought an MG Magnette in 1958. I just loved that car so much, I bought and restored one myself.

Our Aberdeen Office

Stephen Small St Andrew's Children's Society

Stephen Small

CEO

I remember the feeling of freedom as a child. I spent most of the time outside playing with friends in the local woods and parks. While I felt that my parents weren’t always watching over me I had the security of knowing where they were and that they loved me. Every child deserves that feeling!

Debbie McDonald from St Andrew's Children's Society, an adoption and fostering agency in Aberdeen

Debbie McDonald

Service Manager

As a child, my favourite toy was my Sindy dolls (the UK version of Barbie, I guess).  I had twelve dolls, the house, the car and the swimming pool. 

I also had a bride outfit and bridesmaids for them but there was no groom as my dad would not let my brother have Action Man as he considered dolls girls’ toys. Believe it or not, I did not grow up in Victorian times, just 1970s values. Thank goodness we have moved on! All three of my boys have had dolls.

Gill McHaffie

Senior Practitioner

I loved playing ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf’

I also spent hours and hours playing with my Sindy and Barbie dolls and their various outfits.

Pink Panther bar and fruit flavoured Spangles were my favourite sweets.

Our family days out were always spent, without exception, at Spittal Beach, rain or shine. Fond memories!

Shiona Freeman

Senior Practitioner

When I was a child my favourite holiday was going to stay with my Granny and getting spoilt rotten.

Loved to read and read all of Enid Blyton books and then read any horse stories. I loved horse riding and still enjoy looking after horses my favourite toy was a spacehopper which was my pretend horse and my friends and I would set up gymkhanas in the back garden.

Which leads on to my favourite TV programme being Folly Foot which was all about horses.

My favourite sweet was whatever my Dad brought home from work on a Friday night (as it was pay day,) for a treat! Five boys Chocolate Bars were a big treat then and we always got a packet of crisps that night too.

Lisa Edwards from St Andrew's Children's Society, am adoption and fostering agency in Aberdeen

Lisa Davidson

Senior Practitioner

My first memories are of walking through the woods to primary school in Pencaitland, East Lothian. This was a beautiful walk where there were many flowers and lovely smells. I also had a gorgeous rough collie (a bit like Lassie) throughout my childhood and have many fond memories of long Sunday walks with my parents, sister and brother. We moved to Midlothian when I was in P6 which meant a change of primary school and leaving my friends behind. My parents had bought a newsagent and I remember helping to serve customers, weighing out potatoes and making up the roll orders on a Sunday in the back shop. I always loved counting money, which I unfortunately as a parent, can’t say this is something I ever really have have the opportunity to do anymore!

Brian Chalmers from St Andrew's Children's Society, an adoption and fostering agency in Aberdeen

Brian Chalmers

Senior Practitioner

My childhood was spent playing football and I went everywhere with a football and in my football kit. If forced inside I enjoyed classic 80’s series such as the A-Team, Airwolf, the Fall Guy, and probably my favourite, Knightrider with the Hoff. Holidays were always fun with all the family and with our cousins exploring Butlins around the UK or some very long journeys by train to Europe.

Velga McDougall

Office Administrator

Holidays … Didn’t really go on holidays as such, but I do remember days at the Beach in Aberdeen and Stonehaven and down at the Bay of Nigg picking Buckies, and playing with bandy nets.

I believe I liked the Secret Seven Enid Blyton books.

I cannot recollect any favourite film from my childhood.

I used to love playing with Lego and my Pippa Doll.

I loved my plastic craft, and I suppose I could class that as a hobby, I really enjoyed making things, loved arty things also sewing and knitting.

My favorite sweet was Mint Cracknel and I wish they would bring it back lol.

My favourite game is a little harder, I loved being outdoors playing with friends, kerby is definitely up there and balls, hide and seek and skipping also German bulldogs (ouch) lol.

Tv programme, I remember Hong Kong Phooey, Magpie and Swap Shop all being very enjoyable (and unfortunately I also remember being an avid Jim’l Fix it watcher ?? ) .

Our Trustees

Robert Swift

Chair/Trustee

Robert trained as a social worker in the 1970s. After qualifying he worked with children and families in Cumbria before a period of voluntary service overseas in Malaysia. He later worked in Edinburgh and the Lothians before moving to South Lanarkshire in 2011 where he was Head of Children and Justice services and Chief Social Work Officer.

Robert has always had a keen interest in fostering and adoption, both as a practitioner and a manager. He has chaired fostering and adoption panels and has been agency decision maker for various organisations. He chaired the Social Work Scotland sub group on fostering and adoption for many years.

Though now retired Robert continues to be involved in fostering and adoption matters with a number of voluntary organisations.

Robert is an adoptive parent and is the author of Adopting a Child in Scotland, published by BAAF. He is the Agency Decision Maker within St Andrew’s Children’s Society.

Since retiring Robert has been learning to play the bagpipes and trying to unicycle, though not at the same time.

Anne Hampton

Anne Hampton

Trustee

Anne is a retired social work manager and has worked in both local authority and the voluntary sectors, specialising in fostering and adoption placements.

St Andrew’s Children’s Society is an agency with which she has worked closely over many years and she has held different roles in the organisation in that time. She is a Panel member and the Deputy Agency Decision Maker, and in the past she has also been a Panel Chair.

Since her retiral she has been able to commit additional time to the agency, and has been a Trustee since 2008.

Leisure interests are cycling – fair weather preferably, and a hobby of late is fly fishing – she recently caught a rainbow trout weighing a whopping 2Ib 5ozs.

Roddy MacLeod

Trustee

Roddy John MacLeod joined the Board of St Andrew’s Children’s Society as a Trustee in 2011. He and his wife, Lorna, adopted their son, Robert, through the Society back in 1997 and he was so grateful to St Andrew’s Children’s Society for how they had handled the adoption, that he felt he should give something back.

A Gaelic-speaking native of the Isle of Skye, he came to Edinburgh in 1971 to study law and then stayed on to become, successively, a solicitor, advocate, sheriff and, in October 2014, Chairman of the Scottish Land Court and President of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland (under the judicial title Lord Minginish). However, that doesn’t tell the whole story, in that he broke off from his legal career briefly in the late 1970s to work for the BBC for a couple of years and has been an occasional Gaelic broadcaster over the years since then.

Having practised as a solicitor in Leith, being a long-standing (should that be long-suffering?) season ticket holder at Easter Road and having stood as a candidate for Edinburgh East (Liberal-SDP Alliance) in the 1983 General Election, he has always had an affinity with the east side of the city and particularly with Leith, where, of course, St Andrew’s Children’s Society is based.

Omar Durrani

Trustee

Omar is a technology strategy professional. After the birth of his daughter and reflecting on his happy childhood with supportive parents, Omar was committed to finding a way to give back and try to improve the lives of children less fortunate. This led him to being involved with St Andrew’s Children’s Society in an advisory capacity since 2021 before being appointed as a Trustee in 2024.

Omar brings a wealth of experience to his role, having worked in the IT and Financial Service industry for several years. His expertise in IT strategy has been instrumental in guiding the strategic direction of the organisations he has worked for.

As a Trustee, Omar is deeply invested in using data driven and technology based approaches in decision-making processes, offering valuable insights and perspectives to drive positive change within St Andrew’s Children’s Society and the wider community.

In addition to his professional achievements, Omar lives by values of compassion, integrity, and unwavering commitment to serving others. Actively engaging with stakeholders, volunteers, and beneficiaries, fostering strong relationships built on trust and mutual respect.

In his spare time, Omar enjoys spending time with his family, watching Formula 1 and lifting weights.

Kay Barton Trustee St Andrew's Children's Society

Kay Barton

Trustee

Kay worked in social policy and housing roles for Scottish Government before she retired, and before that at Barnardo’s Scotland and in the social security system. She has experience of developing policy and strategy as well as managing operations, risk and finance systems 

Kay has been a board member of several Third Sector organisations, both national and local over the years, and has really enjoyed and learnt from these experiences. For 6 years recently, and throughout Covid, she was a trustee at Home-Start Leith & NE Edinburgh, supporting families with young children, and chaired the board. She is also a volunteer mentor with teenagers, who keep her active and grounded 

In her spare time, Kay likes hill-walking, cycling, reading and music. She is trying hard to improve her German. She is a proud parent and step parent, with 4 young grandchildren. 

Celia Borland Trustee

Celia Borland

Trustee

Celia qualified as a social worker in 1976 and was involved in adoption and family placement as a social worker placing children and family placement worker recruiting and supporting adopters and foster carers in Edinburgh, Lothians and Sunderland.

She retired in June 2019 as Service Manager, Children’s Services, East Lothian Council after 22 years. She was a senior manager in Children’s Services in various roles, responsible for the long-term care and support of children including management of the Adoption and Fostering services.

She has learned much from the adoptive families and foster carers determined to make a difference to the children they love and care for and from the care experienced people she has met throughout her career.

Her connection with St Andrew’s Children’s Society arose through East Lothian’s longstanding partnership with the agency. She became a St Andrew’s Children’s Society panel member in 2009. The values of St Andrews’s Children’s Society are closely aligned to her own as is the positive culture and creative leadership within the agency. She became a Trustee of St Andrew’s Children’s Society in October 2019 and wishes to contribute to the future development of the agency in this role.

Early in her career, inspired by her spaniel Bruce, a colleague and Celia wrote illustrated letters from Bruce to children telling his life story–enabling children awaiting permanent placement to talk about their own story. Bruce’s Story was later published as a children’s workbook, by Children’s Society, 1986. In contrast today there are many helpful publications and materials available.

Donald Canavan

Trustee

Donald’s association with St Andrew’s Children’s Society began in 1962 when he was adopted through the agency. He is the first adoptee to become a board member of St Andrew’s Children’s Society, although hopefully not the last. 

As an adult tracing his birth mother, St Andrew’s Children’s Society were a vital resource and a reassuring presence who later provided further access to data when searching for and identifying his father. The senior social worker involved in providing the documents asked  him if he would write an article about his experience of his life as an adopted child, and this led eventually to his being asked if he would consider joining the board as a trustee.  

That was three years ago. He found the board, the staff and St Andrew’s Children’s Society impressively capable, friendly, compassionate and remarkably focussed and committed. Watching them providing ever more vital adoption and fostering services around Scotland has been a highly rewarding experience – with a reassuring circularity for an adoptee.  

As an Architect and expert witness, and a business partner, he also enjoys advising over property and premises issues. 

 

Keith Sadler

Treasurer

Keith’s background is in finance, having spent 16 years in a banking environment delivering strategic change programmes and laterally on working with businesses suffering financial distress. 

Having decided to branch out on his own in 2012, Keith has acted as a consultant, working for both financial institutions and businesses to advise on financial restructures, seeking to bring multiple stakeholders together around common solutions. 

Keith has been a panel member for the Children’s Hearing System since 2019 and has been continually inspired by the dedication and care demonstrated by foster carers and adoptive families who provide vulnerable children a safe and secure environment in which they can learn to form stable relationships and grow their self-confidence. He has seen first-hand how much difference this can make, even in relatively short periods of time. 

In his spare time, Keith enjoys golf, gardening and going to the gym.     

Richard Clark

Trustee

Ric works in the emerging world of data engineering and analysis and has a background in finance and accountancy. He and his wife adopted a boy through St Andrew’s Children’s Society in 2018 and enjoyed the experience so much that he became a Trustee at St Andrew’s Children’s Society in March 2023.

Ric has a broad range of interests outside of work. He is a keen runner with Edinburgh Athletic Club as well as a regular volunteer, baking cakes for fellow cross-country runners, organising events, taking photos and editing videos. He is also a Global Ambassador for US based non-profit Chromodiversity Foundation. 

Training is one of the best parts of the process.