Jim has been with Bridges Project since it started in 1985. Prior to this, he worked with older rough sleepers in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. He is responsible for ensuring the organisation’s charitable objectives are delivered within a quality framework and is the key link between the board of trustees and the operational team. Jim is a keen advocate of good governance and transparency in the voluntary sector and takes the lead in developing the Project’s European activities.
Emma has been at Bridges Project since 2011 developing and delivering our transitions work with local secondary schools. Prior to this, she worked for a number of voluntary organisations and private sector companies and has a wealth of experience supporting people to realise their potential and progress in to sustainable and meaningful destinations. Having managed projects for ex-offenders and recovering drug and alcohol users in the past, Emma has now taken up the role of Practice Manager at Bridges Project. She is responsible for the overall practice of the teams at Bridges Project, coordinating referrals, developing partnerships and, of course, ensuring young people gain the right support in order to lead successful lives.
Margaret McLean joined Bridges Project as Finance & Administration Manager in January 2017, having worked for a number of years as part of the team at 6VT, Edinburgh’s City Youth Cafe, where she looked after all aspects of the organisation’s Finance, HR and Administration. Her career in the third sector stretches back over 20 years, although her starting point to the world of work was banking and finance. Margaret volunteers in a number of settings in her local community. She takes a keen interest in the welfare and development of children and young people and this is satisfied through her professional management role at Bridges Project and her volunteering work.
Corinne has been part of our busy administration team since 2010. She has experience of working in administration in the private sector. As well as the usual support functions undertaken by the team, Corinne is involved in the management of our finances, health and safety and building management. As part of the administrative team, Corinne is responsible for ensuring that young people feel welcome when they phone or come in to the office and stakeholders are provided with a professional service at all times, which reflects well on the Project.
Administrative Assistant Elaine Harris brings over twenty years of administration and secretarial experience in busy private sector, third sector and school office environments to the team. She has also worked directly with young people with additional support needs on their journeys through primary and secondary school. She is a keen lifelong learner and enjoys a good historical saga on the silver screen and long and complex crime novels. Elaine is frequently the ‘voice’ and ‘face’ of Bridges Project in her reception role in the front office.
Nicola is one of our Tutors who delivers literacy and numeracy provision and provides educational support to young people on an individual basis and in small groups. She is a great believer in using a good fit model – employing a range of styles and methods which suit individual need, identify realistic goals whilst valuing existing experience, knowledge and competence. Nicola has worked, for a long time, as an adult literacy and numeracy tutor in East Lothian. Her interest in this field grew from her work in the community education field in London and Belfast where she managed literacy programs in multi-cultural settings to support early years and youth provision.
Since joining us in 2014 after the first phases of her career in education support and catering management, Candace has provided crucial, long term casework and groupwork support to young people in tenancies and to those who are at risk of homelessness or have other urgent housing needs. Much of her work involves helping young parents to settle in to their first homes. She coordinates and delivers the SQA accredited Tenancy Award in association with Borders College and a range of learning groups which focus on independent living skills, healthier life styles and financial literacy.
Vicky has a wealth of experience of working with young people with a range of additional support needs including dyslexia, sensory impairments and autistic spectrum conditions. She is a qualified educational assessor and can therefore undertake and then explain assessments to young people to help them understand and then address their difficulties. She works with young people either individually or in small groups helping them to achieve their own individual educational goals. This can involve, for example, support with distance learning modules, developing reading and writing skills, supporting school work and helping young people to develop confidence in tackling their difficulties.
Our Senior Youth Development Worker, Sandie Wyles, has over thirty years of experience in working with children and young people. She has been with Bridges Project since 1993 and is currently responsible for developing and delivering our group activity programme. She works closely with a wide range of cultural, environmental, health, artistic and participatory organisations to provide quality informal learning opportunities for young people who use Bridges Project and other partner agencies. Sandie also coordinates and delivers the weekly activity programme which includes cooking, art, music, debate and new media and is involved in a number of local and regional strategic planning groups in arts and health fields. She supports and supervises most of our Project Scotland volunteers.
Natasha is our Transitions Service Coordinator and has an extensive background in youth and family work. Natasha manages the Transitions team and works closely with schools to ensure that senior phase pupils at risk of leaving school with nothing in place have the opportunity to move in to meaningful and sustainable, positive destinations. She is connected to key guidance staff and careers advisers in schools, and maintains close working protocols with training providers in local authorities, the private and third sectors. She is also an important agency contact for Edinburgh and other local colleges.
Chris started with Bridges Project in May 2016 as a Personal Development Worker within the Transitions team. Having worked with multiple youth services in Edinburgh for 10 years, he brings a wealth of experience in supporting young people to tackle issues such as anxiety, substance misuse, and family breakdown. Chris has previously worked in schools and other community settings offering one to one therapeutic support and has run groups working on social education and emotional health as well as running a sexual health drop in through Healthy Respect in Portobello. Chris’s role involves working with young people aged 14-18 to increase their social, emotional, personal and interpersonal skills and to support them to manage transitions, independent living and become more self-reliant.
Lynne is our Transitions Development Worker who provides a specialist service to young carers in East Lothian. She joined the team in 2009, bringing with her an extensive background in youth work, community learning and development and informal education which she gained from working within a variety of local authority and voluntary sector settings. The knowledge and experience gained through her involvement in youth justice and streetwork has been of great value to Bridges Project and the team continues to benefit from Lynne’s ongoing work with a number of youth work providers in East Lothian and Edinburgh. In her current role she provides support to young people who have a caring responsibility at home. This tailored service is designed to help young carers, who are in their senior phase in secondary education in East Lothian, to develop important life and employability skills and support them into sustainable, positive destinations which take into account their caring situation.
Ruth brings a basket full of skills and experience, gained in the employability field, to her post as Transitions Development Worker (Groups) with our Transitions team. In her previous role at Ingeus, she worked with a wide variety of client groups and managed a number of employability projects. She is an accredited PX2 facilitator and has a great deal of experience organising and running employability themed group sessions. Ruth’s key remit is to provide focused groupwork to young people in East Lothian as they embark upon their personal pathways towards employment, education and training.
Jan is the Way2Work Coordinator and leads a busy team which works across East Lothian and Midlothian. Jan has been with Bridges Project for 8 years, having worked in detached youth work, community based and regional community development projects for most of her career. Part of her remit is to liaise with supportive local employers to generate work practice placements for young people, which may be from a few hours a week to full-time and from a few weeks to many months, depending on the needs of the young person. She also oversees and delivers a lot of the employability group work, including CSCS, vocational and personal development groups. Jan enjoys the challenge of working across two counties and has forged very strong links with a number of secondary schools and voluntary sector agencies. She has a lot of experience working effectively with young people affected by autism
Jacqueline Boucher joined Bridges Project after a decade of work experience with young people in a number of private and charitable organisations, involved in the fields of health, education and youth support. She is a qualified person-centred counsellor and her experience in helping young people improve wellbeing – particularly in the areas of depression, anxiety, bereavement, relationship problems, poor self-esteem and low confidence – will be a real asset to the Way2Work team. Jacqueline will use approved, tried and tested individualised and person-centred methods to enable young people to gain the skills and confidence required to make the transition to employment, further education, training and volunteering. She is with us part time and continues to work outside of Bridges Project as a counsellor, en route to her accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Since arriving at Bridges in 2014, Pauline has been employed as one of our Way2Work Employability Support Workers for East Lothian. Her role is to assist young people to address the barriers which prevent them moving in to sustainable and meaningful opportunities in further education, employment and training and to support them in making the most of what they can be. She has a long career in the field of employability support and brings this expertise and drive to her work at Bridges Project. Pauline has worked with young people, ex-offenders and recovering drug and alcohol users in a variety of settings across Scotland and has worked for The Prince Trust (Fairbridge Programme), Cranston Drug Services and Apex Scotland.
Ross is an Employability Support Worker and joined our Way2Work team in May 2016. He has been working in the third sector now for eight years, working with young people aged 7 – 18 years in West Dunbartonshire. In his previous roles he developed and delivered group work programmes in secondary schools, which focused on issue based topics such as substance misuse, sexual health, employment and confidence building as well as delivering one-to-one support to young people. Ross is a qualified and accredited SQA Assessor and has helped over 80 young people achieve extra-curricular qualifications in Personal Achievement and Wellbeing. Ross’s role within the Way2Work team will be to ensure that young people in East Lothian and Midlothian attain the confidence, knowledge and skills to progress into positive and sustainable destinations in employment, education or training.
Megan is one of our newest recruits, joining the Way2Work team as an Employability Support Worker for East Lothian in May 2016. She delivers one-to-one support and group based employability activities to help young people to address obstacles and barriers which prevent them moving into training, education and employment. She brings an excellent understanding of service and pathway provision and a whole range of assessment tools through her study at Napier University, where she achieved a merit award for the Postgraduate Diploma in Career Guidance and Development. Her professional placements included a stint at Bridges Project as well as Skills Development Scotland.
Karen recently stepped back from her role as Head of Academic Practice at Edinburgh Napier University in favour of freelance Consultancy in Higher Education. As head of the Academic Practice team Karen’s responsibilities included leading development on strategic learning, teaching and assessment initiatives within the university as well as running taught postgraduate programmes for new and more experienced members of staff.Throughout her working life Karen has worked closely with students at all stages in the education system and has consistently championed the importance of the learner and the learning environment in the educational context. Karen has a keen awareness of the importance of periods of transition in a learner’s life and the value of just the right help at just the right time in providing a springboard into life- something Bridges Project embraces in full measure.
After graduating from Edinburgh University, Richard spent 20 years working in the investment world in London. During the latter part of this time he also built up a forestry business in Scotland. Today, Richard spends time on both of these business areas as well as voluntary work with Bridges, the University of Edinburgh and other charitable trusts. Richard is a member of the finance group at Bridges Project and brings considerable knowledge and experience to the table. His rigorous approach to transparency, management and reporting of finances is invaluable in the board’s determination to provide good governance.
Pippa was elected Chairperson of the board of trustees in September 2016, having served as a trustee since 2010. Pippa has worked in the voluntary sector for over 15 years, largely in fundraising, marketing and communications. She has worked with the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Leuchie House, Women onto Work, Edinburgh Garden Partners and Bridges Project. She is primarily a relationship builder and thrives on the success that can be achieved by inspiring people to support the organisations she represents. She has worked with boards, developed high performing practice teams, managed restructure and developed and delivered strategies. She started her working life, in the fine art auctioneering world in London, followed by time at Historic Scotland in the architectural research field. She is a passionate, but largely ignorant, gardener and yearns for the time to listen to the omnibus edition of the Archers on a Sunday.
Sonia joined the board in 2015, bringing 14 years experience as Head of Retail & Events at the Royal Yacht Britannia Charitable Trust. Sonia’s marketing, operational and business knowledge along with her understanding of charities and their challenges combine well to support Bridges Project. Alongside Bridges Project, Sonia supports Save the Children, The Sick Kids Foundation, and actively manages her own charity Christmas cards where she’s raised several thousands for Breast Cancer NOW and Maggies. Sonia is a weekly volunteer parent at Yester Primary School in East Lothian and a trustee for Morham Village Hall.
Sally has been a trustee of the board for 7 years. She heads up our finance group which reports to the quarterly board meetings on all matters relating to finance and staffing. Sally is very much involved in the production of our annual risk register and is a keen contributor to the board’s strategic planning framework. Prior to joining Bridges Project, she worked for over 25 years as a solicitor in East Lothian.
Sandy has worked in education and training for more than 25 years across both the school and college sector. Her interest is in supporting young people with additional support needs to access and succeed in education, training and employment. For the past twelve years she has worked as an Advisor within the College Development Network and been involved in the design, development and delivery of training and resources to support the wider inclusion agenda within Scotland’s colleges. Her specific focus has been on developments within the area of mental health and wellbeing, resilience and mindfulness.
Alun is an Employment Lawyer, a Mediator and a partner with Anderson Strathern solicitors. He is also Chair of the Lothian Homes Trust, a key funder of the Bridges Project and one of their nominated board members. He has been involved with Bridges for over 20 years since its days in Albany Street, Edinburgh. He feels the work done at Bridges Project is an important contribution to the education and well being of a group of clients that would otherwise miss out on opportunities available to others.
Jennie has had a career spanning 40 years – in teaching and in management roles across schools, communities, colleges and universities. This has included working with young people with challenging lives and complex difficulties who were excluded from mainstream education. Latterly Jennie’s roles as both Head of Centre for Learning at the Scottish Further Education Unit and as Deputy Director of Lifelong Learning at Edinburgh’s Napier University gave her the opportunity to lead specialist teams in the development of innovative practices in learning and teaching, curriculum development and access and inclusion for adult students from wide ranging circumstances. In her current role as consultant in education and training she retains her passion for learning and a strong belief in the power of education to transform lives and communities.