Meet the team

Training is one of the best parts of the process.

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

Our Edinburgh Office

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!

Rita Grant

Adoption Support Manager

As a young child, my sister and I loved to buy Tom Thumbs (very tiny sweeties) in the shop near our school. The shopkeeper was a very patient man, as there were about 30 kids doing the same thing. I have fond memories of playing out for hours with the other local children.

Coming from a large family we had lots of company as siblings, and we had many visitors (aunts, uncles and cousins) popping in.

I always loved listening to the radio (or wireless as it was known then…. I know, I sound like I am ancient). I actually thought people lived inside it!

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!).

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.

Tracey Turnbull

Tracey Turnbull

Service Manager (Acting)

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!

Lorna MacFarlane

Senior Practitioner

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

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.

Denise Burgess

Senior Practitioner

My biggest love was Irish dancing classes.

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.

Cathryn Thomson

Senior Practitioner

I remember beach holidays in the west of Ireland and swimming in the (very) cold sea! I also remember after these swims coming back to a big fry up!

There were fushia hedges everywhere on our west coast holidays and, as children, we used to lick the nectar from the fushia flowers! Delicious!

One year we took our pregnant guinea pig with us on holidays and she gave birth to 3 little babies! I also remember, with my pocket money, buying cheese and onion Perri crisps for only 2 and a half old pence! The cheapest crisps around at the time. I think they were only available in Ireland.

Tim Rogerson social worker at 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 social worker at 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!

 

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.

Sandra Williams

Administrative Assistant

Being brought up by the sea, I recall spending a very carefree childhood playing on the beach most days whatever the weather! My favourite holiday was visiting the big city – Edinburgh!

Carolyn Smith

Administrative Assistant

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

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 Dowcra is in charge of all fundraising

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

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

Service Manager (Acting)

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.

Carla Hume social worker St Andrew's Children's Society Aberdeen

Carla Hume

Social Worker

I am from a large family born and raised in Aberdeen. I have fond memories of playing with my brother and sisters as kids. As children we were never in and always out playing football with the local kids or at the park or woods.

I love animals and we always had pets growing up. We had two Yorkie dogs Benji and Rosie, I used to love walking them through the woods daily when I came in from school. They had a litter of puppies and I remember wanting to keep them all.

My favourite food back then and now is spaghetti bolognaise. My mum still has pictures of me in the highchair covered from head to toe in it. She still reminds me of this and proudly likes to show this picture of me to family and friends to this day, much to my embarrassment.

When I think of childhood memories one I always think of is listening to the radio with my sisters on a Friday night waiting for the UK top 10 to play and having a cassette ready to record so that we could play the charts back at a later date or in my mum’s car.  🙂

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.

Innes Ledingham

Trustee

Innes has over 20 years’ management consulting and programme delivery experience, leading large-scale change, and business performance improvement programmes in the financial services sector. Recently he worked with Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA), leading one of their business transformation programmes, and prior to SLA he was a director at PwC in their banking and capital markets practice and led consulting for financial services in Scotland. He became a Trustee of St Andrew’s Children’s Society in 2017, having been asked if he would be able to bring views and support to the board of trustees in the areas of business strategy, business performance and commercial awareness.

He is married with three children and enjoys time with his family, travel, sport of any kind, in particular golf and rugby at Boroughmuir Rugby Youth Club, where he coaches the under 16s.

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.

Kirsty Fergusson

Treasurer

Kirsty has been a Trustee with St Andrew’s Children’s Society since 2006 and subsequently Treasurer from 2011. After completing her studies in Accountancy & Finance at Heriot Watt University, Kirsty spent five years working for KPMG (Audit) in Luxembourg. Over the past twenty plus years she has worked across various sectors, including financial services, public sector and currently manufacturing, in addition to partaking in some voluntary work.

Her free time is spent mainly with her ten year old twins, Alexander and Emma and cocker spaniel Daisy. Hobbies include reading, swimming and jigsaws.

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.

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.