Meet the team

Chief Executive – Fiona Duncan

I lead the Foundation, working with our Board and staff to devise and deliver a strategic vision that achieves our mission of making a positive difference to lives of individuals and communities. A crucial part of my role is to make connections and build relationships and partnerships that help us deliver our work.

It has been a privilege to be in the third sector for over 20 years, working in international development, the arts and disability as well as being an advisor to a wider range of domestic and international charities. My recent background is in strategic planning, and prior to that wider external relations roles including policy, communications, fundraising and income generation.  It is also an honour to be a member of Comic Relief’s UK Grants Committee

I joined the Foundation because I wholeheartedly believe in its mission and purpose and wanted to play a part in that. We aspire to connect to the sector in its widest sense and be bold. Ultimately, the Foundation wants to do its very best for the people of Scotland and contribute to a more equal and just society and I genuinely love being part of that.

Deputy Chief Executive – Carolyn Sawers

I focus on delivering the Foundation’s strategy, supporting the team to ensure we are making a difference for people and communities in Scotland. I enjoy evolving and developing our approach, and engaging with the people and partners we work alongside.

I have worked for 20 years across political, academic and public sectors in Scotland. Most of that time has been with organisations awarding grants to community and voluntary groups, which is a real privilege and joy. Many of my roles have been about setting strategies, learning what works, and communicating well.

The Foundation is an inspiring place to be. It is a place where good ideas can develop, grow and take flight. I like the Foundation’s pace and ambition for change, and that its full of people who share my passion for making the world a better place.

Email Carolyn

Trevor Civval – Chair

Trevor joined the Foundation as a Trustee in 2013 and became our new Chair on 3rd August 2017.

Trevor, who is based in Edinburgh, is a founding partner at Penfida, and a specialist corporate finance adviser to pension schemes. Before helping to set up Penfida in 2006, he had over 20 years of investment banking experience, principally at Lazard and at Merrill Lynch, advising a wide range of companies and boards in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors on finance, strategy, and governance issues.

Tom Halpin, QPM – Vice Chair

Tom Halpin joined the Foundation in 2014 and sits on the Audit Committee. He is currently Chief Executive at Sacro, a third sector organisation working in the justice sector. Prior to this, he was Deputy Chief Constable of Lothain and Borders Police.

As a member of ACPOS, he led the portfolio for Public Protection in Scotland, serving on a number of Scottish Government groups supporting the introduction of new legislation and arrangements for managing offenders and protecting children. A Chartered Director (C.Dir FIOD), he is also a member of the University Court at Glasgow Caledonian University where he is Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

During 2004, Tom attended the UK Policing Leadership, Strategic Command Course during which he gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Criminology at Cambridge University. He had previously received a BA degree from the Open University. Tom previously lectured to the Post Graduate Diploma Course in Forensic Medical Sciences at Glasgow University and is a contributor to the second edition Policing Scotland (Willan Publishing), (2010) edited by academics Daniel Donnelly and Kenneth Scott.

Tom is a Council Member of the Scottish Association for Studying Offending, an influential ‘think-tank’ on such matters drawn from established professionals including academics, policy makers, sentencers and leading practitioners.

Awarded the Queen’s police Medal in the 2008 Honours, he is married with two grown up children.

Charles Abram

Charles has been a trustee with the Foundation since 2013. He is the former Chairman of the accountants Chiene and Tait and brings with him a wide range of knowledge and experience from his career of over 35 years as a commercial and private client lawyer at Tods Murray LLP, where he also held the positions of Managing Partner and Chairman. He is a non-executive Director and Company Secretary of the property fund and asset management company, Hunter Real Estate Investment Managers Ltd and non-executive Chairman of the property consultancy business, Cuthbert White.

His other current and prior non-executive activities include governor and trustee roles with national charities and schools, in addition to having been a member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland.

Charles is a member of the Foundation’s Audit Committee and Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

Joy Barlow, MBE

Joy became a trustee in 2013 and was appointed Chair of the Partnership Drugs Initiative (PDI) Steering Group in 2016.

After graduating from the University of London, she taught Religious Education in a number of schools, before moving to Scotland in 1981. Since then Joy has spent most of her professional career in Education and Social Justice, primarily in preventative services for problem alcohol and other drug use. Her driving passion has been the impact of these problems on children and families – hence her specific interest in the PDI.

Joy initiated unique residential services in the UK for women with alcohol and drug problems and their children for the Aberlour Child Care Trust in 1989. She was responsible for the conception, planning and fundraising necessary for this initiative. She has been an adviser to both the UK and Scottish Governments on problem substance use, including membership of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for twelve years and the Scottish Advisory Committee on the misuse of Drugs. In the 1980s and 90s, she was a trustee of the National AIDS Trust.and an adviser on HIV/Aids prevention/treatment.

In 2011, she stepped down as Head of STRADA (Scottish Training on Drugs and Alcohol – University of Glasgow), the national work-force development organisation which she founded, and held the post of its Strategic Advisor until her retirement from the university in 2015. Joy is currently advising the Health Service Executive (Social Inclusion) and Child and Family Agency (TuSLA) of the Irish Government on work-force development and the progress of the ‘Hidden Harm’ agenda, supporting children and families affected by problem alcohol and other drug use. She also undertakes a number of consultancies in the alcohol and drugs fields.

Joy holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellowship at Glasgow Caledonian University and is about a Board member of Mellow Parenting, an international organisation delivering high quality training in its family of evidence based parenting programmes. Joy was awarded an MBE in 1998.

Elizabeth Carmichael, CBE

Elizabeth joined the Foundation as a trustee in August 2016. Over the past 9 years she has served as a Non-Executive Director on a number of Non Departmental Public Bodies, was Deputy Chair of SACRO until 2015 and is currently a member of the State Hospital Board.

Before this, she was a civil servant in the Scottish Government/Scottish Executive where she worked on policy development in education, health, finance and voluntary sector issues before moving to head the Community Justice Division in the Justice Department in 1999. There she worked closely with CoSLA, the Association of Directors of Social Work, the Scottish Prison Service and the voluntary sector on criminal justice social work and a range of initiatives including specialist drug and youth courts, women’s offending and victims matters. She is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, and in 2006 she was awarded the CBE.

Elizabeth lives in Midlothian and has 2 grown up children.

Claire Gibson

Claire joined the Board of Trustees in December 2016.

Claire’s career was built in social work, working with and for those most excluded and disadvantaged.  She has fifteen years’ experience of delivering and leading work aimed at supporting those multiply excluded. Observing the transformational change that relationships and community can have has been a constant and recurring theme in all the sectors she has practiced, managed and led in. She was previously the Chief Executive of Streetwork, a leading Edinburgh homeless charity delivering specialist support to people facing severe and multiple deprivation.

Claire is a graduate of The Robert Gordon University, The University of Edinburgh and the Open University and has studied in the areas of social work, social studies, criminal and youth justice social work, advanced social work practice and leadership and management.

Claire lives in Edinburgh with her husband and daughter.

David Johnson

David joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in August 2016. He is a graduate of the University of Stirling and undertook his post-graduate social work training at the University of Edinburgh. David worked in a range of social work settings in Edinburgh and London before becoming CEO of Waverley Care, the HIV and hepatitis charity, in January 1995. He stayed in his post until December 2011, helping to develop national services aimed at those most vulnerable to HIV and hepatitis C and reshaping services to meet a changing epidemic. He is also a trustee of the National AIDS Trust.

In 2011 David joined the Scottish Government in the role of National Coordinator for Sexual Health and HIV. As the policy lead in this area he was able to continue influencing the way HIV is perceived in Scotland and how those living with the disease are treated. He stood down from this role in September 2015.

David is Vice-Convenor of Circle, the children and families charity whose work includes supporting those children affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse and is a trustee of the Children’s Parliament. He also chairs the adoption panel of St Andrew’s Children’s Society.

Luke McCullough

Luke McCullough joined the Board of Trustees in August 2015 and sits on the Communications and Engagement Steering Group.

Luke is Parliamentary and Corporate Affairs Manager at BBC Scotland. He was a journalist and presenter on commercial radio in Scotland, Programme Director at Radio Forth in Edinburgh and Managing Director at Northsound Radio in Aberdeen. He joined the BBC to work behind-the-scenes, leading the Digital Switchover Help Scheme for Scotland and was Outreach Manager across the UK. He has also worked with the BBC’s TV Licensing management team.

On radio, Luke anchored Scottish and General election results-night programmes in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 for commercial radio in Scotland, winning the Gold Award at the New York Radio Festival for the 2007 coverage. He produced Scotland content for BBC Radio 4’s election results programme in 2010, and led the Guest Production team for BBC One Scotland’s Referendum results programme in 2014.

Luke has held a number of previous appointments, including Trustee of Northsound Cash for Kids, Radio Forth Help a Child Appeal, Castlegate Arts (Aberdeen), Crimestoppers Grampian sub-board and as patron of the Kincardine and Mearns Special Needs Play Forum. He chairs the Royal High School Parent Council. Luke is married with school-aged children, and lives in Edinburgh.

Fiona Sandford

Fiona became a trustee with the Foundation in 2015 and sits on the PDI Steering Group. She is currently Chief Executive of Visibility, a charity based in the west of Scotland providing a range of services to blind and partially sighted people of all ages. Fiona has held a number of senior and executive posts in the third sector for over 20 years.

She brings wide ranging and current working knowledge of the Scottish charitable sector. Fiona’s approach is to listen to people who use services and front line staff to find out what will work best for people. Fiona believes that working with people to create a local solution can often be more effective than simply following tried and tested ”professional’ methodology.

Fiona is a trustee of Scottish Council on Visual Impairment, a trustee of the grant giving trust Blindcraft and was a trustee with the Association of Chief Officers for Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) which is the national leadership forum for chief officers and directors in the Scottish third sector.

She is a graduate of the Open University with an MBA. Fiona is married with two adult children and lives in Glasgow.

David Urch

David joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in April 2014 and was appointed a member of the Finance and Investment Committee in May 2014. He is a UK equity fund manager, based in Edinburgh and London, investing money for individuals, family offices and institutions.

David was a founding partner of Oriel Asset Management in 2009, successfully migrating the funds he manages to EEA Fund Management in October 2013. Prior to that, he gained considerable experience of managing UK equity portfolios with Mercury Asset Management, Martin Currie, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Fidelity International. He graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a degree in Politics and Modern History MA (Hons).

David was a volunteer mentor with Youth Business Scotland for the Prince’s Trust, helping young people who have received a loan to set up their own business.

Richard Martin

Richard has enjoyed a long career in investment, managing pension funds, investment trusts and unit trusts. He was Head of Investments at Scottish Amicable before being asked to set up and manage a family  trust operation based in Nottingham. Over the next 14 years this grew into a sizeable business.

Now semi-retired and living in Edinburgh, Richard is chairman of F&C Managed Portfolio Trust plc, a director of Aurora Investment Trust plc and also advises two family groups.

Formerly he was Convenor of the Investment Committee of the National Trust for Scotland.

Currently he is a member of the Kilfinan group which provides mentors for the heads of charities and is involved with Mercy Corps, Scotland’s largest international aid charity.

Karen Brown – Head of Core Operations

My main role is to oversee the Core Operations Team within the Foundation. This team is focused on delivering a high level of customer service and has responsibility for developing and running the Foundation’s systems, processes, policies and procedures to enable effective delivery of our strategy. As Company Secretary I work closely with the Chief Executive and Trustees, ensuring sound and effective governance.

Having such a varied role at the Foundation has enabled me to develop a broad range of skills. My expertise includes: governance; management, administration, facilities and events; finance and investments; HR; IT and database development; and change management.

The variety is one of the things I love about my job, along with the fact that the Foundation keeps evolving as an organisation. It’s a real privilege to work in the voluntary sector, and be able to see the direct benefit that our work brings.

Email Karen

Aileen Drummond – Core Operations Officer

My job is to support the core operational work of the Foundation and to provide the best customer service to the people we work with. I help make sure the Foundation runs smoothly, that all of our systems support the team and help us in our mission of making a difference to lives in Scotland.

I have over 15 years experience working in the voluntary sector as part of the Foundation and have expertise across all aspects of administration, including: communications with stakeholders; office management; and database development. I have developed a rich knowledge of the voluntary sector and of the organisations we work with and support.

I joined this organisation because I believe that people matter and they can make a difference no matter how big or small and that is at the heart of what the Foundation aims to achieve.

Email Aileen

Lillian Owiti – Core Operations & Finance Manager

Lillian is currently on maternity leave – please contact David Carson

I run the Foundation’s finance function, with responsibility for the development and operation of the financial systems, processes and activities. I provide financial reports, advice and support to colleagues and Trustees to enable them to make sound business decisions and meet statutory and regulatory requirements.

I have been working in the voluntary sector in Scotland both professionally and through various volunteer roles for over 10 years. My particular areas of skills and expertise are in financial management, statutory reporting and internal controls and systems and process improvement. My most recent experience was in the international development setting, where I supported a fantastic charity working to build a brighter future for school children in Ghana. My role was to review, recommend and start off the implementation of improved financial monitoring and reporting systems to support the work of the charity and enable improved reporting to funders.

I was delighted to join the Foundation as the ethos, vision and mission resonate with my own values of working to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities. I was also attracted to the Foundation’s bold and innovative way of working and it is an absolute privilege to part of the team.

Email Lillian

David Carson – Core Operations & Finance Manager

My role as temporary Finance Manager is to provide finance support to the Foundation over the coming year.

My experience is varied working in a number of roles and locations worldwide. A major part of my career has been in NHS Scotland dealing with a wide variety of financial issues, as well as leading a Health Board’s endowment fund and audit committee. Since retiring from that role I have been involved in voluntary work, as trustee of a dementia charity and as a director of a national Scottish sports body.

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to assist the Foundation in a period of transformation.

Email David

John Yeoman – Core Operations & Finance Officer

My key responsibilities are to support the Core Operations and Finance Manager in the preparation of financial reports, ensure that accurate financial records are maintained, and the daily processing of financial transactions.

Most of my working life was spent working for a major bank, where I undertook a varied number of roles within Branches, Internal Audit and Corporate Banking.  After a year of relaxation following early retirement from the bank, I returned to working life, as a finance administrator for an Edinburgh based charity before joining the Foundation in August 2016.

I appreciate the opportunity to do a job I enjoy whilst contributing to an organisation that works towards positive outcomes for people.

Email John

Maria Gillen – Core Operations & Communications Support

I support the Core Operations team in maintaining the smooth running of the Foundation, as well as working with the External Relations manager to support the development of our Communication & Engagement strategy.

I have a very varied role at the Foundation and as such I am able to utilise my skills in areas such as administration, database development, website building and social media.

I was delighted to join the Foundation after working in Banking for the last two years. I find the Foundation’s values to be inspiring, and I feel fortunate to be able to help in its goal of supporting communities to create positive change and making a lasting difference to people’s lives.

Email Maria

Shelley Gray – Head of External Relations

My role is to make sure that people know about our work and that the Foundation has a strong, positive profile. I support our communication and engagement with individuals, communities, other organisations and decision makers to help us meet our objectives and work towards our mission of making a difference to lives in Scotland.

My background is in policy and strategic development; communication and engagement, including through creative approaches; and partnership working. I have over a decade of experience in the voluntary sector, including in the fields of human rights, children and young people, disability and health and social care. I have worked closely with Scottish Government on a number of pieces of legislation and until recently chaired the Scottish National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) Health and Social Care Action Group.

I joined the Foundation because I believe passionately that people are the experts in their own lives and that investing in individuals and communities is the most powerful way to bring about lasting, positive change.

Email Shelley

Elaine Wilson – Head of Learning & Development

The main part of my job is to help the organisation and our partners understand the difference and impact our funding and delivery of our programmes has for people, communities and groups across Scotland.  I work closely with colleagues to collate knowledge and share this to increase evidence that can contribute towards making things happen at a local and national level.  I also oversee and support the internal training and development programme for all our staff.

Working in the PDI for a number of years before moving on to this role I have developed strong working relationships in a way that is supportive to the needs of the individual groups and people we work with. I have strong analytical skills and am able to look outside the box, developing supportive approaches to monitoring and evaluation. I have good strategic awareness, am able to help recognise and understand specific needs or gaps and think creatively about how to address these.  Learning from working in this way has helped me recognise how everyone’s story has an important part to play in how I approach my job and helps me to understand and measure what really matters.

The people I meet every day inspire me; the commitment shown by many individuals who are willing to go the extra mile to help make a difference and are willing to try new and innovative ways of working.
Email Elaine

Connie Williamson – Head of Grants

My job is to make sure we are the best grant-maker we can be, including ensuring that the Henry Duncan Awards programme continues to be responsive and progressive. I also have a key role in the development and delivery of the Foundation’s support service for other grant makers which is delivered through Fortify, our Social Enterprise.

I have been with the Foundation for almost 20 years, working with charities active in Scotland and overseas. Over that time I have built skills and expertise in: grants assessment; developing and delivering new grant programmes; criteria reviews; capacity building; monitoring and evaluation support; tendering; and project management.

My job allows me to learn about the vast range of charitable work that goes on throughout Scotland (and beyond) and is an education every day. I never fail to be inspired by the dedication of the people who work in the Scottish voluntary sector.

Email Connie

Sarah Littlewood – Henry Duncan Grant Manager

I work closely with charities to offer advice and support to complete funding applications for the Henry Duncan Awards programme. I deliver funding surgeries, represent the Foundation at funding events and assess applications.  My role has also allowed me to deliver a one-year pilot programme for older people and support other funders with their assessments.

My background is in the retail, further education and voluntary sectors. I am a qualified trainer and STEPS motivational facilitator which means I am able to help participants to co-create learning. I have extensive experience of supporting adults who are long-term unemployed, including more recently, those with visual impairments.

My job at the Foundation gives me the opportunity to keep in touch with grassroots projects and allows me the privilege of meeting dedicated and passionate people who give their time to help others.

Email Sarah

Debbie Kaney – Grant Advisor (Henry Duncan Grants)

My job is to support organisations applying for a grant, including helping them to explore what they want to achieve, how they plan to do it and how they can understand the impact they make.

Interpersonal skills are crucial to my role, as well as the ability to constructively challenge by asking helpful questions and supporting people to anticipate issues and opportunities. I have strong analytical skills, including the ability to deal with a high volume of complex information. I have extensive experience of the voluntary sector, including as a trustee and chair of a small organisation, and am often able to facilitate networking and links.

I love meeting people, finding out what communities are doing and helping to make new connections. I am inspired by people getting together to do something good for their own, or overseas communities, and often discovering and developing new skills along the way.

Email Debbie

Kirsty Norris – Project Manager (International)

I manage our International work, which is primarily focused on supporting the delivery of the Scottish Government International Development Strategy through the management of International Development funding rounds. These include Main Grants in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, Small Grants and Climate Justice Innovation Grants. Our work in the International team includes providing extensive support to organisations through the application process, review and assessment of applications as well as providing ongoing administration and monitoring of projects as they progress. I believe passionately in the vision of Scotland as a Global Citizen and view our work as an exemplary grant maker as key in supporting organisations across Scotland to tackle global challenges including poverty, injustice and inequality in an impactful and sustainable way.

My background is in International Development, having worked in the NGO sector in Scotland as well as working overseas in roles focusing on grant management, staff development and capacity building. I joined the Corra Foundation as I was inspired by its people-centred approach to grant making as well as the commitment the foundation has to reach communities most in need. It is incredible to work alongside so many inspiring individuals and organisations every day who are determined to make a positive difference to society and for others, both in the Scotland and globally.

Email Kirsty

Callum Aitken – Project Co-ordinator (International)

In my role as Project Coordinator (International), I carry out key tasks related to the administration and assessment of the Scottish Government International Development grant funds. This includes the Scottish Government’s Small Grants Programme and Climate Justice Innovation Fund. I provide guidance to applicants and funded projects, as well as supporting on monitoring and evaluation and management of existing programme budgets.

I have a background in International Development and cultural relations, having worked on numerous education and development projects which focus on international exchange and capacity building. In particular, I have experience of grant management and working on projects which promote international development through science and research.

I am very interested in the role that Scotland can play in promoting International Development, particularly through partnerships with certain countries. The opportunity to work in partnership across a variety of different international development topics is what particularly attracted me to the Foundation. Their work across Scotland and beyond reaches a number of communities in need and makes a positive difference to the lives of a variety of people every day.

Email Callum

Rowan Anderson – Manager (PDI)

I manage the Partnership Drugs Initiative (PDI) – a collaborative grant-making programme which works in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies to support Children and Young People who are affected by alcohol or drug use.  My role involves working closely with colleagues at the Scottish Government and in Charities, Local Authorities and Health and Social Care Partnerships as we work towards implementing systems and projects which support vulnerable children, young people and their families who have been affected by alcohol or drug use.  I also represent the Foundation on a number of national groups which work strategically to ensure that children and young people affected by alcohol or drugs are supported, protected and encouraged to thrive.

I have significant experience of working in the alcohol and drug field, having worked in integrated addiction treatment and care settings for the majority of my career.  My experience within addictions services has centred around strategy development, operational planning, workforce development, project management and qualitative research.  I have also been responsible for the development and management of several public health programmes.  I have significant experience in leading community based, volunteer led programmes that support Recovery from addiction.   I have had the privilege of working closely with inspiring, dedicated community representatives and volunteers throughout my career and believe strongly that lived experience and community voices should be central when shaping policy and practice.

I joined the Foundation because I admire its determination to contribute to the creation of a more equal society by working with communities across Scotland.  It is immensely rewarding to see how effective partnerships and innovative practice can improve the lives of people across Scotland.

Email Rowan 

Kelly McFadden – Grant Advisor (PDI)

My role is to provide advice, guidance and ongoing support to applicants and funded projects. Partnership working is crucial so I work closely with both the charities and other partners such as the Alcohol and Drug Partnerships. I support funded groups on outcome planning, evaluation and reporting.

I have over 15 years’ experience of working with children, young people and adults in the voluntary sector; including on homelessness, disability, addictions and criminal justice.  Before joining the foundation I worked as a senior practitioner in the field of drug and alcohol addiction, working with children, young people and adults with a variety of complex needs. Prior to that I had a number roles, including as a Housing Officer and as Education, Training and Employment Co-ordinator for the resettlement teams across the Prisons in Yorkshire and Humberside. Communication has been key in all my roles, allowing me to engage and develop positive relationships as well as an understanding of what makes good practice.

I am fortunate that my job provides me with the opportunity to work alongside so many worthwhile projects and charities across Scotland. I witness first-hand the positive impact individuals and charities are having on the lives of children, young people and families affected by substance use. I admire people that have come through adversity and used the experiences to change their life for the better; I find that extremely inspiring.

Email Kelly

Catriona Henderson – Project Manager (CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund)

I manage the Foundation’s administration of the Scottish Government’s Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities Fund. This involves managing a small team to deliver almost £14m a year of core funding for 118 charities from 2016-19, with an additional £1m in project funding for 2017-19.

I have held a broad range of roles and have skills in project management and external relations. I am a Professional Member of the Association for Project Management (APM) and a Professional Member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR). I also have strong expertise in supporting people to develop, including directing and mentoring on national transferable skills programmes for postgraduate students. I hold a qualification in executive coaching and mentoring, am a neuro linguistic programming (NLP) trainer and am qualified in step I and II in the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI).

Having worked at the Foundation for over ten years it is still always inspiring to see funding being used to make a positive difference to people’s lives. There is huge variety in my job, from working directly with funded charities to ensuring we have an effective relationship with our contract manager at Scottish Government. I also find it rewarding to manage the CYPFEIF and ALEC Fund team and to look at ways to increase our impact.

Email Catriona

Ffyona Taylor – Project Officer (CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund)

My role is to support third sector organisations funded through the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund and ALEC Fund (CYPFEIF and ALEC Fund). I build relationships with funded organisations and support them to achieve their outcomes, evaluate their progress and make links to relevant Scottish Government social policy.

My background is in sociology and I have recently graduated with an MSc in Applied Social Research from the University of Stirling. I have a passion for understanding experiences of social inequality and as a result I have developed strong skills in qualitative methods and analysis. In my previous role working with PDI I was involved in the Foundation’s Everyone Has a Story action research project which aimed to capture the lived experiences of children and young people affected by parental substance issues and recovery.

Working in the Foundation gives me the opportunity to understand how on the ground practice interacts with social policy. I am fortunate to be able to work alongside organisations that are striving to make a real difference to vulnerable groups in Scotland.

Email Ffyona

Hellen McLellan – Administrative Support Assistant (CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund)

Helen is currently on maternity leave.
My job is to provide administrative support to the organisation, specifically the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund and ALEC Fund (CYPFEIF and ALEC Fund). Part of my role is to implement new systems and processes to ensure a streamlined process for both us and our stakeholders.

I have over seven years’ experience working within the voluntary sector, providing business support and administration management for both national and local organisations involved with health and social care and disability rights. Prior to that I provided business support within the banking sector.

Learning about the valuable work being carried out by the organisations receiving funding from us, and seeing first-hand the improvements being made for some of the most vulnerable in society is what inspires me most, and is one of the main reasons I joined the Foundation.

Email Helen

Kayleigh Bryan – Grants Support Worker

My role is to provide administrative support to the Grants team, whilst also working closely with the Communications and Core Ops teams on business wide initiatives.

I have worked in administration and communications strategy within the Third Sector since leaving University; working primarily with large national and international funders.  I have also recently returned from 6 months volunteering in Madagascar and South Africa, where I worked on a diverse range of initiatives for both humanitarian and conservation projects.

I am passionate about the role the Voluntary Sector has to play in creating positive change throughout the world, and particularly like the Corra Foundation’s ambitions towards this.  My position gives me a great oversight of all of the grant programmes Corra manages, allowing me to help make these as efficient and effective as possible for the people that we help.

Email Kayleigh

Stephanie Rose – Head of Place

I oversee the place-based programme which works predominantly with communities that independent grant makers do not traditionally reach. I manage the place-based team and work closely with our partners which include fellow funders as well as local authorities and Scottish Government.

My background is in finance and as a chartered accountant I have been fortunate to see many different sectors. I joined the Foundation initially as Trust Administrator, then as Finance and Investment Manager and more recently focusing on our place-based work. I was delighted to be a Clore Social Leadership fellow in 2014 and to have a range of opportunities to participate in international learning activities.

I am passionate about communities being in the driving seat, as the experts in their own circumstances. The Foundation aims to contribute to a more equal and just society and I believe that we all have a greater chance of achieving that aim by working together and meaningfully listening to all voices across our communities.

Email Stephanie

Pam Dawson – National Co-ordinator (Place)

I deliver our Place-based programme across nine local authority areas in Scotland. I work closely with our Community Co-ordinators in each area to try to make sure that the Foundation reaches communities that grant-making doesn’t.

My background is in community education and development; regeneration; health and social care; and person centred counselling. I have 20 years’ experience working in local authorities, Scottish Government and grant-makers.

I joined the Foundation because I am passionate about rebalancing the inequalities our communities face. I strongly believe that by working together and offering support, individuals and communities can achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Email Pam

Anna Watt – Project Officer (Place)

My role is to support the place-based team and communities in a variety of ways: researching wide-ranging topics of strategic interest; communications; event organisation, general administrative support and more.

I’ve worked and volunteered in a range of small businesses and charities. The majority of my experience has been in marketing, fundraising and administration. I have wide-ranging interests which include the strategies of other charities and the government, and understanding the economic landscape.

I know that through my work and through supporting the work of my colleagues I am helping to build a fairer, more just and sustainable country. I feel like my work is a privilege and I enjoy every day of it.

Email Anna

Richard Whatman – Secretariat Lead – Place-Based Approaches Project

I am Secretariat Lead for the ‘Place-Based Approaches’ project, funded by Scottish Government to investigate how to make them more effective in Scotland.

I am a systems thinker, and have been a Senior Civil Servant in New Zealand working on making policy more effective in complex environments.  In Scotland I have been a consultant, working on policy, research and evaluation, and systems change projects for Universities and Non-Departmental Public Bodies like Scottish Enterprise.

What I like about my role is the chance to both think deeply about ‘Place-Based Approaches’ and effect change in how they are undertaken, to produce better outcomes for Scotland.  The Corra Foundation’s willingness to claim the work and examine its own practice is bold and humble at the same time – the perfect combination to bring about system change!

Email Richard

Shaun Lowrie – Community Co-ordinator (East Ayrshire)

My role is to support the community of Cumnock to bring about social change and improve quality of life. I work closely with local people as well as East Ayrshire Council and other stakeholders to identify assets, create opportunities, build confidence and develop plans that the community wants to achieve.

My background is in community education and community development, both in Scotland and Tanzania. For over 10 years I have been involved with various third sector organisations, including in the arts and youth work. I also have the privilege of being a trustee for a local housing association and director and secretary for an organisation who organise and promote arts, music and community events across Cumnock and Doon Valley.

I joined the Foundation because I can see the positive impact that our approach has on the lives of individuals. I strongly believe that grassroots community work is the only way to address inequality; change perceptions of communities that are often labelled as culturally, economically or geographically disadvantaged; and value the huge capacity that communities themselves have to offer.

Email Shaun

Janice O’Connor – Community Co-ordinator (West Dumbartonshire)

My role is to work with communities that grant makers traditionally don’t reach by supporting the community of Castlehill in West Dunbartonshire. I do this by supporting the community to identify assets and build confidence that will support them to shape the community that they want.

My background is Community learning and Development Youth Services. I have worked with young people and the community for over 15 years in a variety of settings and groups such as The Princes Trust, Youth Action, Youth Forums, early intervention group work, peer education, schools and intergeneration work.

I joined the foundation as I believe in grassroots community work and to do this we need to listen to the local community and what they would like to change and achieve. The foundation and the place based programme allows me as a community worker to support the local community to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Email Janice

Cath McNally – Community Co-ordinator (South Lanarkshire)

My role is to work with communities that grant making traditionally doesn’t reach. I work with the residents within Fernhill to build capacity and support them to create and shape the community in which they live.

I have had the honour of working alongside communities in a variety of context since volunteering as a teenager. My background includes: community development; activity and event co-ordination; developing creative solutions; social action campaigning; and youth work and development.

I joined the Foundation because I am passionate about offering an inclusive service to the communities I work with; I believe everyone deserves opportunities to improve their quality of life and everyone has the right to succeed. The values and ethos of the place-based work, and of the wider Foundation, give me the opportunity to work as part of an organisation that truly puts people at the heart of what it is trying to achieve.

Email Cath

Louise McCulloch – Community Co-ordinator (North Ayrshire)

My role is to support the Blacklands community in Kilwinning, helping residents to achieve their dreams and aspirations for their own community, so that they can improve quality of life and reduce social isolation.

My background includes Community Health, Community Development using an Asset Based Approach, working specifically with Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities, charity fundraising and event organisation. I have worked in East, South and North Ayrshire and Glasgow for third sector organisations as well as local authorities. I have had great experiences with people from a variety of backgrounds and have learnt so much from people living in our communities; everyone has a story to tell.

I joined the foundation as I believe I share the principles of giving everyone the same opportunities to make a positive change to their lives. My role allows me to engage with groups and individuals who are easy to ignore and to contribute to them having a voice in their community.

Email Louise

Angela Smith – Community Co-ordinator (Falkirk)

My role is to work with communities that grant makers traditionally don’t reach by supporting the community of Langlees in Falkirk. I do this by supporting the community to identify assets, build links to partners and create good working partnerships that can be used as resources in the future. Supporting areas where confidence is a barrier is my starting point in mapping out the community needs and aspirations.

I have a good variety of community work including volunteering with several local groups such as Tenants Association, Parents Council, Gala Committee, Youth work Leader and community development work that involved consultations and creating a development project that converted ½ acre of derelict land into a road safety theme for children. Although I love a challenge, I felt there was more to learn about communities which is why I undertook my HNC in Working with Communities, and I am now half way through my BA Honours degree in Community Learning Development.

I joined the foundation as I believe you must work with communities starting from the grassroots for any valuable change to happen. At the Foundation I am able to build solid working relationships with external links and most importantly tease out the skills, knowledge and assets that the communities have already. I enjoy working alongside communities, supporting them and helping to create a wealth of resources so they can learn what they really want and need, in order to help them overcome the health inequalities they are facing.

Email Angela

Laura Mathieson – Community Co-ordinator (East Renfrewshire)

In my role I am privileged to work alongside members of the community in Dunterlie, Barrhead in East Renfrewshire to improve wellbeing, support participation and turn ideas into action.

My background is in community development, participatory action research and creative arts. I have worked with a range of organisations in the west of Scotland in both voluntary and paid capacities to deliver community arts and equalities projects. For the last five years, I have supported community-led initiatives exploring sectarianism, hate crime and discrimination in Inverclyde. I am an experienced facilitator of experiential learning, supporting personal and life-skills development with a focus on building capacities for resilience, emotional intelligence and living more comfortably with difference.

I am inspired by the Foundation’s commitment to place-based innovation, providing the time and flexibility to build relationships and engage with people in communities who may face barriers to participation. My role provides unique opportunities to listen deeply and openly, to learn from communities and contribute towards sustainable social change.


Email Laura

Iyaah Warren – Community Co-ordinator (Fife)

I work in Methil, encouraging more community involvement and locally designed community activities to increase wellbeing and opportunities here. Focusing on the skills, talents and interests of people who live here, I work at grassroots level, supporting and removing barriers to bring locally grown ideas to life.

I am fortunate to have worked in the voluntary sector most of my adult life, assisting grassroots community organisations through training and development support, particularly through times of change. Most recently, I worked for two Edinburgh voluntary organisations on edible gardening programmes (a passion of mine) and focused on volunteer recruitment and support there and with tour guides at Newbattle Abbey College.

I was attracted to the Place-based programme because of the Foundation’s recognition of the local impact of austerity measures, its commitment to grassroots community development and to doing things differently. This is an important time for us to get better at reaching local people and an important time for communities to come together.


Email Iyaah

Louisa Cocris – Community Co-ordinator (Fife)

My role is to support the community of Buckhaven in Fife to improve the quality of life and widen the opportunities for the people who live there.

My background is in community education and community development, working both in Scotland and Romania. I have worked with a wide range of people in a variety of contexts ranging from children’s homes to community based adult learning to youth work. I have experience of both the voluntary sector and local authority.

I joined the Foundation as I was inspired and motivated by the mission of the organisation and specifically the commitment to place-led community change which underpins this programme. I believe this role provides a unique opportunity to engage and work effectively with communities who may face barriers and therefore do not benefit from traditional grant making processes.  As a community connector based within the community, we can listen and learn from the community and  build and sustain trusting relationships with the community at grass roots level. I firmly believe that this is the only way to tackle inequality and bring about lasting social change.


Email Louisa