Staff Team & Board of Trustees

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

Management team

Margaret Murphy, Chief Executive

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

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, Administration & HR Officer

I studied in Media, Design and Communications and have worked in Finance & Risk, Market Research, Retail and Food & Drink (working in a bakery taught me never to go near the rum truffles!). I started up a small business in luxury candlemaking for a few years too, which taught me a lot about managing time and money! I’d wanted to move into the community support sector for some time and when the opportunity arose to join EYC in 2017 and make a difference to the lives of young people, I was delighted to make the move. It remains a great decision.

My main role focuses on keeping our accounts healthy, providing HR and IT support, developing systems, policies and digital comms and looking after the office function. If you phone us, it’s likely me that you’ll speak to. I also really enjoy direct respite work with the young people, which gives me an empathetic overview of the challenges they face. There are great training opportunities at EYC, with Child Protection, Drug Awareness & Trends, Digital Development and HR being some of the interests I’ve trained in. I’m also a First Aider and Fire Officer.

Best thing about working for EYC:
The young people are so wonderful and funny – chatting with them makes my day and I’ve learned so many new jokes from them! 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 and cheerful manager is really rewarding. It’s by far my favourite place to work.

Schools Awareness project

Jenny Lewis, Schools Project Manager

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!

Kellyann Dunnett – Schools Development Worker

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!

Development workers

Gary Shaw, Under 12’s Development Worker

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!

Mel Aitken – Under 12’s Development Worker

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!

Jamie Faichney, 12-15 Development Worker

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+ Development Worker (Job share)

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.

Drug and Alcohol Misuse project

Tina Hedley, Drug and Alcohol Development Worker

I have worked in Edinburgh in a wide range of jobs. My time has been spent working with women who have experienced domestic abuse, social care, youth work and with women (with children) in recovery. I have completed a wide range of courses and have several qualifications in Community Education.

Best thing about working for EYC:
Is the young people.

Laura Piunti, Drug and Alcohol Development Worker

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.

Board of Trustees

Alison Talbot – Chair

Alison joined the Board as Chair in September 2020.

More info coming soon!

Matt Little – Vice Chair (incoming)

Matt joined the Board as Vice Chair in September 2020.

More info coming soon!

Alex Cumming – Vice Chair (outgoing)

For the last 8 years I have been in the role of Assistant Director for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award leading on operations, policy, training and extending the reach within Scotland. Previously I have worked for City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government. In 2013 I hosted a young carer as part of an internship programme and I was blown away by her resilience and enthusiasm. She inspired me to find out more about EYC and I joined the board in 2015. Since then I have supported work around quality assurance and writing the annual report for funders.

When I am not spending time with my young family, I enjoy running, cycling and all things outdoors.

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.

Bryan Livingstone

I am a social worker of many years’ experience and have worked mainly in children’s services. I started my career in Northern Ireland as a probation officer, working mostly with young people. Moving to Scotland, I worked in an acute mental health service for adults, where I specialised in child protection. I then moved to manage residential schools and secure accommodation for children and young people and latterly worked in the regulation of children’s services. This included a period inspecting child protection services across Scotland, helping to develop quality assurance procedures for this and for children’s services more generally. Having taken early retirement, I now provide a consultancy service to a local authority children’s service department.

My knowledge of children’s services and child protection has meant that I can provide staff with support in these areas, if necessary. Because of my experience of regulation and quality assurance, I continue to help the board develop quality assurance systems within EYC.

For relaxation, I enjoy fly fishing, walking, golfing, reading and I play several musical instruments.

Beverley Klein

I joined the board in May 2017.  I was previously a solicitor practicing mainly in family law and now prepare child welfare reports for Edinburgh Sheriff Court.  I recently finished a 5 year appointment as a Safeguarder working with children referred to the Children’s Hearing and/or court system.  I also have more than 20 years experience working with children in the voluntary sector, much of that in the Guiding movement.  I currently sit on my local community centre’s management committee and am a trustee on the Edinburgh and Lothians Trust Fund board.

My hobbies include gardening, reading, walking and knitting.

Louise Haggerty

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

Steven Leiper

I first heard about Edinburgh Young Carers whilst on a flight back from London.  The lady I was sitting next to was at that time a member of the EYC Board and we got chatting about our careers and interests.  I mentioned that at some point in the future I would like to volunteer for an organisation to offer my experience and skills gained in the Financial Services Sector over the past 40 years.

Things moved on fast from this conversation as the EYC Board member contacted me shortly after to say there was a vacancy on the Board and asked if I would be interested! And here I am beginning my journey with EYC where I hope to be able to utilise my personal and professional connections to bring in funding and other support to EYC.

Whilst the majority of my working life was spent in the Financial Services sector I did work as a lead co-ordinator volunteer with Stirling Albion FC Young Reds for a number of years and was also a core member of the supporters group that successfully took over Stirling Albion Football Club as a fans owned community club in 2011.

I have three children and two grandchildren and recently retired from full time employment.  I enjoy spending time with my family and travelling (especially to southern Spain).  I have always been very interested in music and have a large music collection although all my family tell me this does not necessarily mean I have good taste in music!

I very much look forward to getting fully involved and helping EYC continue with the excellent work they do.

Shona Montgomery
Minute taker and Administrative support

I very much enjoy working with Edinburgh Young Carers Project. My main role is to record the minutes of the meetings of EYC’s Board of Directors. 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