Staff Team & Board of Trustees

We also have a number of brilliant Sessional staff and Volunteers supporting our service.

Management team

Margaret Murphy, Chief Executive
margaret.murphy@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I have worked in the Third Sector for over 30 years and have loved every minute.  My experience has varied from working within the Criminal Justice Sector, working as a Senior Manager for 13 years in the Community and in the prisons across Scotland, to then working for Fairbridge in Scotland as a Senior Manager for the Edinburgh based project for 10 years. This project focused on outdoor education and support for young people who were having difficulties maintaining school or having other difficulties in their lives.

In October 2012 I was successful in securing the role of Chief Executive of Edinburgh Young Carers and I am privileged to work with a fantastic team.  I believe that we have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of these amazing young people who are entitled to a positive childhood that prepares them well for adult life, and it is up to us all to ensure that is what they get.

Best thing about working for EYC:
Although this job definitely has its challenges due to us working in times of austerity, the rewards are endless due to the amazing young carers we work with.  Children laughing is the best part, seeing them having fun, smiling and hearing those giggles. You can’t help but smile.


Tracey Stewart, Operations & Development Manager
tracey.stewart@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I joined Edinburgh Young Carers in 2012, and after spending over six busy years managing our Schools Awareness Raising Project, I moved into the role of Operations & Development Manager, a brand new post for EYC which I am really enjoying getting my teeth into.  Despite leaving the University of St Andrews with a science degree, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with people. 

I spent over six years working with Highland Estates and conservation charities in people engagement and youth and education roles – with tasks such as giving a guided tour of a Scot’s Pine forest to David Attenborough, dissecting owl pellets, making fairy dens in the woods, and everything in between.  I took a year out of youth work and trained as a florist, but realising that wasn’t the best choice for someone who suffers from hayfever, I found my role within Edinburgh Young Carers.  I was new to young carers, but I’ve learnt so much since coming on board and I’ve enjoyed these learning opportunities as well as lots of new challenges over the past few years. 

Best thing about working for EYC:
I think everyone will acknowledge that the children and young people we work with are so very inspiring.  The Young Carers we support motivate me every day to do the best job I can; finding ways to continue providing respite to young carers, and raising awareness of their situation.  It’s also incredibly rewarding working in such a small but diverse and skilful team, with a Chief Executive who gives us freedom to develop new projects and initiatives to improve outcomes for young carers.    


Chloe Sklaroff, Finance, HR & Administration
chloe.sklaroff@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I’ve always been interested in community and social support, so when the opportunity arose to join EYC in 2017, I was delighted to make the move and it remains a great decision. Previously, I studied in Media, Design and Comms and have experience across Finance, Risk & Audit, office management, retail and the food & drink industries (I loved it, but working in a bakery taught me never to go near the rum truffles!). I started up a candlemaking business which I ran for a few years too, which was a good lesson in balancing time and money.

As EYC continues to grow, my role has evolved too and HR is now a key part of my responsibilities, alongside finance and admin. Day to day, I manage the books, HR operation, develop and maintain our website, policies and office function and support the CEO in a management capacity. I also really enjoy getting involved with direct respite work, which gives me an empathetic overview of the challenges our young people face. There are great training opportunities and I keep myself up to date with relevant topics and legislation. I’m also a First Aider and Fire Officer. On my own time, my passions are in cooking and dogs – but not at the same time… too chewy!

Best thing about working for EYC:
The young people are so wonderful – chatting with them makes my day, and knowing all they do every day is very humbling.  Being part of a lovely and highly knowledgeable team that give their all to the cause and having a very supportive, dedicated manager is really rewarding. It’s by far my favourite place to work!

Operations & Development

Jimmy Gordon, Operations & Development Officer
jimmy.gordon@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I joined Edinburgh Young Carers at the end of 2020 – having spent the previous six months perfecting my recipe for sourdough bread – helping support the delivery of the new Edinburgh Young Carers Collaboration in partnership with our friends at Capital Carers and Space.  

I have near enough twenty years experience of working with children, young people and young adults in a range of community settings, but I try not to think about how long it’s been because that makes me feel old. I also work in community arts, including running creative writing workshops and supporting a filmmaking group for local young people, and am constantly amazed at the creativity of participants, seeing what they can achieve with just a small amount of support and encouragement. 

I’m born and bred in Edinburgh, my work has taken me as far afield as Palestine, but now I live in North Berwick, and when I’m not working am most likely to be walking the dogs on the beach. Either that or eating sourdough bread. 

I’m also studying creative writing and considering writing a play about my two dogs – working title: Waiting for Coco – but recognise that this is likely to have a limited appeal.

Best thing about working for EYC:
It’s been great working with, and learning from, a really amazing and committed staff team. 

Schools Awareness Project

Jenny Lewis, Schools Project Manager
jennifer.lewis@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I am originally from Durham and in a previous life I taught English as a foreign language in Spain and Italy. Probably my most bizarre experience was teaching English in a convent in northern Italy! I moved back to the UK and taught primary in an inner- London school for four years. This experience gave me great skills and I felt really honoured to be able to work with children from all across the world from very different life experiences to me.

I am over the moon to work with the charity to manage their school projects and to raise awareness of young carers, being able to impact change in a school is a really rewarding experience and I know we definitely make a difference! I really enjoy delivering assemblies and lessons in schools because I get to hear the experiences of young people. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, I make my own bread and pizza and I am a real lover of the great outdoors and hiking. In the future I would love to drive a VW camper van through Italy and Romania; one day!

Best thing about working for EYC:
I love working for EYC because I genuinely feel like my job makes a difference and benefits the lives of amazing young people who often get overlooked. I also love working with such a great group of funny, caring and creative people with really big hearts!

Development workers

Mel Aitken – 5-9s Development Worker
mel.aitken@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I started at Edinburgh Young Carers in April 2020 as the new Under 12s worker. I started out working with children, young people and families when I was 18 and I have loved every minute since! I studied Community Education at the University of Edinburgh and have worked for a number of wonderful organisations. A big passion of mine is work with groups of young people who face inequality, whether that’s due to mental health, gender, LGBT+ identity, poverty, ethnicity and/or disability. My favourite part of the job is being getting to know loads of young people and support them with whatever is going on for them in that moment. I enjoy anything arty and creative and like to have fun (especially if it involves getting up to lots of mischief!).

Best thing about working for EYC:
I am so excited to be working with Edinburgh Young Carers. My favourite bit so far has been the incredible and inspiring young people and the warm, funny and passionate team!


Gary Shaw, 10-12s Development Worker
gary.shaw@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I studied BA Hons Community Education at Edinburgh University. I have worked at EYC since April 2015 and support young carers between the ages of 9 and 12. I also work part-time supporting people who are experiencing homelessness. I have completed a variety of courses to give me an insight into the issues that young people face within today’s society.

Best thing about working for EYC:
It doesn’t feel like work!


Kellyann Dunnett – 10-12s Development Worker
kelly.dunnett@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I am a well experienced, compassionate and motivated graduate in BA community Education from Edinburgh University.  I have 17+ years’ experience in working with young people in various circumstances and backgrounds.  I have worked for EYC since 2009 in various roles.  Since 2014 I have had the role of Schools Development Worker, which I absolutely love.

During my uni days I also worked part time in sales for a property developer which was great in meeting a wide range of people and give me the opportunity to also do work on my other passion, home interior (so I come in handy at propping up the pillows on the office sofa when I walk past for a cuppa)!

I have taken part in several training courses throughout the years and I am keen to keep developing and learning new skills.  I have really enjoyed being able to do issue-based work at EYC and enjoyed running the VIP girls group with 12-15’s age group – GO GIRL POWER!

Best thing about working for EYC:
The best thing is the young carers for sure! They are truly inspiring! I love being able to be in a job where I can be creative and well supported. FAB GROUP OF PEOPLE!


Jamie Faichney, 13-15s Development Worker
jamie.faichney@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I have been a youth worker for many years! I started at EYC 2010 and have loved it. I regularly update my skills to remain relevant in youth work – recent courses have included COSCA Counselling Skills, Mental Health Toolkit and Suicide Prevention.

In my spare time I like to sit down.

I have a BA (Hons) Film and Media from Queen Margaret University and MSc Community Education from Edinburgh University.

Best thing about working for EYC:
The kids are fantastic and truly inspirational. The boss is super.


Lee Mackenzie, 16-25s Development Worker
lee.mackenzie@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I began working with EYC in 2018 as a sessional worker before moving on to support the 16+ group in the October. Some other roles I have had before joining the team include working with Camp and Trek, a charity who support young carers to access outdoor residentials; teaching English to vulnerable young people in Bali; supporting Edinburgh’s homeless community through Social Bite and most recently, working as a pupil support assistant in an Edinburgh Primary school.

I have a HND in Education and am currently working my way through a BA in Child and Youth studies.

Best thing about working for EYC:
Working at EYC has so many great bits, it’s hard to pick one. The young people are fantastic, the team is great to work alongside and the management couldn’t be better.


Lorina Gilroy, Development Worker (Young Carer Statements & Schools)
lorina.gilroy@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I have a BSc in Psychology and Masters in Public Health. My career choices have been driven by my passion for working with people. Whilst studying I worked with NHS Lothian looking at ways to increase elderly people’s independence at home. I then moved on to work with offenders who had learning disabilities and mental health issues with the aim of improving their mental health whilst reducing their risk of reoffending. It was during this role I became acutely aware of health inequalities and this prompted me to complete my Masters in Public Health. I have worked in residential care units, volunteered in Sri Lanka to implement mental health improvement programmes and most recently worked for a community-based health improvement organisation aiming to improve the mental health and sexual health of young people living in Edinburgh.

I am a qualified Holistic Massage Therapist and love looking at alternative ways of improving health and wellbeing. I absolutely LOVE music, yoga, travelling and my dog Minnie!

Best thing about working for EYC:
I love working for EYC as I have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people and their families.


Amaya Bañuelos Marco, Siblings Development Worker
amaya.bm@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I was born and raised in Madrid where I also studied an English Literature degree. Upon finishing my studies, a scholarship to work as a Spanish Language assistant in a school brought me to Edinburgh, which I made my home in 2013. Since that experience I have pursued working with young people in different ways, connecting my background in teaching, with my love for the arts. In between postgrad studies in film and education I have done several different jobs, but over the last couple of years, I have mainly worked with young adults with complex needs, first as a support worker and then as an Education tutor.

In my spare time I volunteer for the Citizens’ Rights Project, assisting with applications to the EU settlement scheme after Brexit; and I also curate film programmes, often with Cinetopia, a community film hub based in Edinburgh. I love learning folk tunes on the accordion, eating good food and going on long walks.

Best thing about working for EYC:
In the short time I have been working for EYC* I have loved meeting the young people and the incredibly passionate and dedicated staff team. The space given for learning new things is something I hugely appreciate from EYC.

*time of writing; Feb 2021

Drug and Alcohol Service

Laura Piunti, Drug and Alcohol Development Worker
laura.piunti@youngcarers.org.uk

Background:
I was born in Italy, in a small town near the sea, but I have been living in Edinburgh since 2014.  After a Masters in Developmental Psychology, I am now studying towards a Diploma in CBT counselling.  I have always worked with children and young people, providing emotional support, although in the last two years I worked mainly with young adults with Autism and learning disabilities, which I loved.

I love art, especially drawing and painting, and I have a soft spot for animals.  My favourite is the capybara 🙂

Best thing about working for EYC:
My favourite part of the job is working and having fun with the amazing children and young people at EYC.  I also enjoy working alongside such a diverse and fantastic team, developing new projects and ideas, and sharing a good coffee during breaks.


Marina Pérez Romero, Drug and Alcohol Development Worker
marina.perez@youngcarers.org.uk

More info coming soon!

Board of Trustees

Alison Talbot – Chair

Alison joined the Board as Chair in September 2020.

More info coming soon!


Matt Little – Vice Chair

Matt joined the Board as Vice Chair in October 2020.

Matt is an experienced Trustee, Director and Non-Executive Director with over 20 years of experience in senior roles in a wide range of technology sectors including cybersecurity, financial services, government and media. 

Matt holds board positions on several fast-growing tech firms and he spent 5 years as a Board Member for Action for Children’s Byte Night (Scotland) event. 

Matt was a trustee for three years at the Edinburgh-based charity Freespace before stepping down when he was invited to be Vice-Chair at Edinburgh Young Carers. 


Gemma Gowrie – Treasurer

I joined the board in November 2017 in the capacity as treasurer. I am a Chartered Accountant and member of ICAS. Previously I worked at a national accountancy firm in their audit department focusing on both charity and company audits. I now work for a global medical device company supporting all aspects of their financial accounting.

In my free time I enjoy keeping fit, travelling, cooking and spending time outdoors.


Beverley Klein

I joined the board in May 2017.  I was previously a solicitor practising principally in family law and now prepare child welfare reports for Edinburgh Sheriff Court.  I spent 5 years as a Safeguarder working with children referred to the Children’s Hearing and/or court system.  I also have more than 30 years experience working in the voluntary sector, much of that in the Guiding movement and with the Citizens Advice service in Edinburgh.  I currently sit on a local school’s Parent Council and ​recently completed eight years as a trustee on the Edinburgh and Lothians Trust Fund board.

My hobbies include gardening, reading, walking and knitting.


Louise Dunlop

I joined the Board in November 2016. My business background is in Human Resources having worked in a number of private sector and more recently public sector companies in HR Director roles.

I became aware of Edinburgh Young Carers and was very impressed when I got to know more about what they deliver and the support they provide to young carers in Edinburgh. I hope that going forward I can use my background in HR to help Edinburgh Young Carers develop its strategy and continue to be a successful growing charity.

On a personal level I have an 11 year old daughter and 2 grown up daughters that keep me busy. I enjoy going to the gym when I have time.


Brian Gordon

I became aware of EYC through a friend that was then a volunteer – I was one of those people that didn’t know EYC existed and when I did, I wanted to find out more about the organisation and how I may be able to help. I have been a member of The Royal Merchant Company of Edinburgh for eight years and a member of the Charities Committee for six years, (three as Chairman of the Charities Committee)*, during this time the Company has been able to assist some of the carers in a variety of ways and continue to do so. Through my contact with EYC I was approached about a year ago to ask if I’d consider applying to become a Board member, it didn’t take me long to say yes and thankfully my application was approved and I joined the Board in November 2018.

My career has been predominantly in sales and account management and I now run the family business that was established back in 1969. I have worked in various places across the UK but have always found Edinburgh to be my favourite. I am married, we have two children, our daughter is a student and the other about to start his first job. I enjoy watching rugby, walking and being involved in different organisations.

*at time of writing; 2019


Eunice Reed

I have spent most of my adult life working in the NHS as a clinical psychologist. For many years, leading up to taking early retirement, I was a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in substance misuse and also in supporting the training of new clinical psychologists. I spent several years on the Board of a charity which supports individuals with alcohol problems and importantly, also their relatives and friends. It is always encouraging to see organisations supporting the needs of people who, at times, may be overlooked in a difficult situation.  

I hope the combination of these experiences will allow me to participate in the development of EYC as it offers such an important service to young people who may be overlooked at times.


James Cox

I have been involved in social work and social care since the early 1980s, and have been based in Scotland in the last 30 years apart from a year in Lithuania supporting development of fostering and services. For the moment I am a social work professional adviser within Scottish Government, primarily in relation to child protection. I also have a role as the Children and Families Lead for Social Work Scotland, (which is an organisation that supports the leadership of social work in Scotland and contributes to related improvement of legislation, policy, guidance and practice).

My main interest is in direct support of children, young people and their parents together, respecting that every person, every family and their path together is in some ways unique. EYC’s aims align with these interests… but I am very new to the Board* and still learning about how I might contribute.

*at time of writing; 2021


Anna Carr

I have a background in communications and policy, with a strong interest in human rights based approaches.

I am currently Marketing Campaigns Partner at Electrify, a creative agency specialising in community, public and third sector campaigns.

Before joining Electrify I spent the majority of my career in the third sector working at SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) as Senior Campaigns Officer, in communications and events for a social care charity, and I also have experience in service delivery.

I joined EYC in March 2020. Growing up I was a sibling carer for my late brother, Fraser. I know firsthand the complexities of trying to balance caring responsibilities, family time, education and importantly, a social life.  What I also know is young carers grow up to be compassionate adults with an abundance of skills and talents. I am passionate about achieving good outcomes for young carers, who I believe have a right to receive support to allow them to flourish.


Shona Montgomery – Minute Taker and Administrative Support

I very much enjoy working with Edinburgh Young Carers. My main role is to record the minutes of the meetings of EYC’s Board of Trustees. As the need arises, I also undertake research, help in the work of sub groups of the Board set up to examine aspects of policy or operation, and record the minutes of meetings of EYC’s Staff Team.

Until 2010 I worked with The Scottish Government, formerly The Scottish Office, then The Scottish Executive. I was fortunate to work in several policy areas including health, education, child protection and the third sector. This afforded the opportunity to meet with stakeholders from several strands of life in Scotland. In my spare time I enjoy continued studies at Edinburgh University in creative writing and literature.


Purpose of the Board of Trustees

“The Board of Trustees who serve Edinburgh Young Carers is made up of 11 members who represent a variety of professional and work backgrounds.

On application to the Board, a potential member is initially interviewed by the Chair, then introduced to the other Board members who accept the application if appropriate. At present, the Board has representation from areas including law, accountancy and finance, education, social work, HR and other third sector organisations. An attempt is made to be as diverse as possible in board membership while recognising that certain skills are vital to the governance of the organisation. Stakeholders e.g. former/present young carers and members of staff are often present at Board meetings. We also have a minute taker who has very good knowledge of our organisation.

Board meetings take place every six weeks, with sub group meetings running throughout the year. Regular attendance is required from board members. Board members (Trustees) are encouraged to offer their skills in different areas of expertise or interest and most try where possible to attend EYC functions throughout the year. As a result of a recent quality assurance survey conducted by a sub group, even more effort is being made to enhance the relationship between the Trustees and the stakeholders, making this relationship as open and cooperative as possible. Professional Trustee training has also taken place in order to acquaint the board members with their responsibilities.

Above all, our aim is to support the work of the CEO, the EYC staff, young carers and their families and to promote the financial and general wellbeing of the organisation which we all value and admire.”

A few of our lovely staff