Our Board of Directors
- Duncan Finlayson (Chair)
Duncan has spent most of his working life teaching. He did his training in Dundee, and then went on to teach for nine years in Edinburgh, initially as a classroom teacher before switching to the role of Support for Learning. He then took a six year career break from teaching, working for The Iona Community as manager of their shop on the Island of Iona. This was a job-share with his wife while they brought up their two children. He then returned to the world of education, once again as a Support Teacher, first working in Fife and then moving to Orkney where he spent fifteen very happy years. He retired from teaching in 2008, and shortly afterwards moved south to the village of Edderton, on the shores of the Dornoch Firth, to be nearer family and friends. In his retirement, he has taken on the Directorship of two charities, and also volunteer as an Adult Literacies Tutor.
- Karen Ross
My name is Karen Ross, I'm a parent carer for my teenage son who has Aspergers Syndrome and Developmental Coordination Disorder. He was 8 when diagnosed so early school life was extremely challenging. I found Chip+ an extraordinary support for our family, receiving excellent relevant information and valuable support throughout some of our most difficult times.
I'm also the chairperson for a local charity called F.A.C.E.S (Families and Children with Extra Special Needs) based in the Badenoch and Strathspey area. We are a parent run group offering activities and days out to families with children with an additional need. Some of our activities include skiing, horse riding, canoeing, swimming etc. We can be an adventurous bunch and try to access as many local activities as possible, giving parents/carers and their families an opportunity to meet others and enjoy trips out together in a relaxed environment.
- Rebecca Huxtable-Smith (Treasurer)
Rebecca has great understanding of the need for support to both parents and carers, and for those working with children with additional needs as well as the extended family. As a single parent to 3 children she has personal experience of using the services of CHIP+ and becoming a Director of such an outstanding organisation has proven exceptionally fulfilling. With family experience of conditions such as ASD, DCD, ADHD, Tic's and Cystic Fibrosis Rebecca is passionate about ensuring the availability of knowledge and support to achieve the best outcomes for all children. As a member of the Management Committee for Highland Children’s Forum, Rebecca is also in a position to support close links between both organisations. With a background in Finance Rebecca brings valuable support to the running of the CHIP+ charity.
Throughout a total of twelve years working with Connecting Carers she signposted and referred families of children/young people with additional support needs to staff at CHIP thus developing partnership work to achieve a shared aim in supporting unpaid carers and their families. Marion is delighted to be able to continue working to achieve this aim as a director of CHIP, a role she took up (for the second time) in 2014.
Marion’s interest in delivering information and support for families affected by disability began while working at Inverness Citizens Advice Bureau in the early 1990s. Since then she has worked for condition-specific organisations such as Scottish Huntington’s Association and Multiple Sclerosis Society and now works for Arthritis Care Scotland as Service Manager for Staying Connected in Nairnshire.
Gillian Newman, Highland Children's Forum’s first Children’s Consultation Worker, is returning to the Forum as Policy Lead. She brings a wealth of experience, commitment and learning to the role. In other parts of her working life Gillian has been a nurse, led Cromarty Action for Young People, been a lecturer on the Child Development Course at Inverness College, been a freelance consultation and participation worker and undertaken an Autism Mapping project for the National Autism Society. Gillian was the Third Sector Lead on the team in Highland that developed the application of the Getting It Right For Every Child process and undertook many of the Forum’s key consultations with children and young people across Highland.
- Andrew Stevenson
Andrew trained as a Social Worker in Edinburgh and was fortunate to be involved in the early stages of developing Care in the Community in Fife. His working life has revolved around Child Health, with 15 years helping establish the Child and Mental Health Service based at Raigmore Hospital. He then became part of the multi-disciplinary team at the Birnie Centre where he first encountered the work of CHIP in the late 1990’s.
Andrew’s final post was as Manager of The Orchard, the Highland Council service offering residential short breaks, day care and outreach support to families around the Highlands who are caring for children and young people affected by complex health needs and learning disabilities. Since retiring, he has continued to find fulfilment through active involvement with the Crocus Child Bereavement Support Group, as well as playing the church organ and promoting classical music in and around Inverness.
- Maggie Wynton
My name is Maggie Wynton. I am 70 years old and live on the Black Isle with my husband of 48 years.
We have 3 grown up children, the youngest of whom is now 38 years old. She was born very prematurely, had respiratory difficulties and was diagnosed at the age of14 months with cerebral palsy. As a consequence my husband and I strove to do absolutely all we could to ensure that she had the best start in life.
In the summer of 1989, a new service for those children with additional needs was set up and in October of that year I applied for and was appointed as the pre-school teacher for children with special needs in Ross-shire and also initially in South Sutherland. I felt that I could use my experience as the mum of such a child to great advantage and over the next 18 years had the most wonderful job of supporting children and their families in their homes, playgroups, nurseries and seeing them settled into school. Although it was not part of my remit, I helped complete countless DLA (now PIP) applications, applied to the Family Fund to help with driving lessons, adapting gardens, providing holidays and play equipment and contacting the Council concerning housing improvements and adaptions.
I feel that to some extent, I can now grow old in peace and enjoy my various hobbies, music, reading and writing. I have written a wee book of short stories – Granny Maggie’s Funny Stories and have just finished my autobiography entitled Routes, Roots and Wings.
- MacLeod & MacCallum (Company Secretary)