Our Team

Our team is managed by our Head of Outreach, Dinah Aitken, our Director of Development, Jules Haston and our Finance Manager, Geoff Hewitt.  

A close up of Dr. Dinah Aitken

Dr Dinah Aitken

Head of Outreach

Dinah is an experienced solicitor (non-practising) in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Her experience includes family law and childrens hearings, advising on additional support for learning and accessibility, and social research. Dinah joined us in September 2016 and leads our Direct Help and Support team to deliver key services as well as providing capacity-building support, leading our research-related work and project management more broadly.

Dinah is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine.

Close up of Jules Haston

Jules Haston

Director of Development

Close up of Geoff

Geoff Hewitt

Finance Manager

After gaining an honours degree in Business and Finance, Geoff spent most of his career providing accounting, business and management support to a diverse and inspiring range of organisations within the charity sector. These have included award-winning conservation projects, purpose-built arts venues and a workers’ cooperative dedicated to cross-cultural conflict resolution. Whatever the setting, Geoffs approach to financial management is always to keep things compliant, transparent, straightforward and on track. Geoff joined Salvesen Mindroom Centre in August 2020.

A close up of Aileen Shrimpton

Aileen Shrimpton

Training Manager

Aileen brings over 25 years’ experience of working in training, learning and development. She has a genuine passion for lifelong learning and experience of developing a wide range of educational, workforce development and employability initiatives for the third, public and private sectors. With lived experience of neurodivergence, her ambition is to capture the very best new ideas emerging from the neurodiversity movement and embed these into innovative, high quality training programmes. In her spare time Aileen enjoys scuba diving, marine biology and is currently completing a MEd in Community Development & Adult Education. Aileen joined us as Training Manager in April 2021.

Andrea McKenna

Family Advice Specialist

Andrea qualified as an Art Therapist in 2005 and since then has worked in various roles within voluntary sector organisations supporting children, young people and adults with a range of needs including learning difficulties and disabilities. She has experience supporting parents and carers of children and young people who have disabilities and learning difficulties. Andrea joined us in November 2020 as a Family Advice Specialist within the Direct Help and Support team.

Close up of Andrew

Andrew Wright

Children & Young People Outreach Specialist

Andrew worked for 15 years as a classroom teacher with management responsibilities that included the school-wide development of Personal & Social Education and Behaviour Management. In the third sector, he has worked directly with teenagers and young adults as a Children & Families Worker and more recently within human resources, administration and hospitality. Andrew joined us in September 2018 to lead our project on supporting neurodivergent young people with the transition from school to employment through bespoke supported work experience placements.

Close up of Chris

Chris Nicol

Business Development Executive

Chris joined Salvesen Mindroom Centre in October 2016 after time overseas where he developed his administrative skills in the private sector. Following some inspired career guidance, Chris made the move into the third sector where he has enjoyed the different challenges facing the charity and is proactive in providing the team with the platforms necessary to strengthen our systems and deliver the best service possible.  

Close up of Jill

Jill Somerville

PA/Admin Officer

Jill spent several years working in the banking industry supporting a number of different areas and latterly providing direct support to the Deputy Head of Private Banking. She has spent the last 5 years working as a PA within the third sector, working for a charity providing all through life support to those with learning disabilities. Jill joined us in September 2020 and provides PA/Admin support to the CEO and her team.

Close up of Kirsten

Kirsten Shield

Team Leader: Children & Young People Service

Kirsten worked in a neighbourhood Children and Families Team and was employed for 10 years within local authority social work and education services. She is a qualified social worker and her experience includes working with children and young people with additional support needs and providing advice and support to education professionals. Kirsten has also been a registered Specialist Disability Foster Carer since 2011. Kirsten joined us in August 2018 to provide advocacy and support to children and young people with learning difficulties up to age 25. In 2020, she took up the position of Team Leader within the Direct Help and Support team and continues to work with children and young people directly as well as overseeing the delivery of this service.

Portrait photo of Laura Gemmell

Laura Gemmell

Family Advice Specialist

Laura qualified as a Careers Adviser in 2011 and since then has worked in various roles within careers guidance services, supported employment services and learning support in Further and Higher Education.  She has experience of supporting young people and adults with a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities.  Laura joined us in July 2021 as a Family Advice Specialist within the Direct Help and Support team.

Close up of Marie Claire

Marie-Clare MacAskill

Family Outreach Specialist

Marie-Clare qualified and worked as a solicitor in a private practice after gaining an Honours degree in Scots Law with Spanish, a post-graduate degree Diploma in Legal Practice and a traineeship. She developed experience in the third sector as the Legal Adviser for a group of Citizens Advice Bureaux, advising on issues including disability discrimination, housing and employment law. She also provided representation at sheriff courts and tribunals and assisted with negotiations and mediation. Marie-Clare joined us in October 2019 and works directly with parents and carers.

Staff portrait photo of Mariyam Anwar

Mariyam Anwar

Service Access Point Administrator

Close up of Nell

Nell Page

Senior Family Advice Specialist

Nell qualified as a nurse in 2007 and practised for several years in Edinburgh Hospitals before moving to the third sector. Whilst working with adult patients, Nell developed an interest in learning difficulties and worked as an administrator for a charity supporting children with ASD after leaving the NHS. In September 2016, she joined the Salvesen Mindroom Centre as a member of the Direct Help and Support team and works directly with parents and carers.

A close up of Nelly Whaley

Nelly Whaley

Family Outreach Specialist

Nelly has worked within the Education sector for the past 8 years in varied roles and settings specializing in the field of Additional Support Needs. Initially working as a Secondary English and Social Science Teacher in London, where she then began her ongoing training in Special Educational Needs. Working in leadership roles to advise on and facilitate additional support for learning plans for students. Nelly has also provided support to children, young persons, and adults with additional learning needs through Equine Assisted Learning.

Close up of Rebecca

Rebecca Marshall

Children & Young People Outreach Specialist

Rebecca studied Psychology and Sociology and has worked at various youth groups and play schemes for children with additional support needs. After graduation, Rebecca worked as a Pupil Support Assistant in a mainstream high school and became passionate about helping pupils with additional support needs to access the curriculum. In her spare time, she supports young people on the autistic spectrum at Lothian Autistic Society. Rebecca joined us in March 2019 as a Family Advice Specialist supporting parents and carers. In August 2020, she transitioned to the role of Children and Young People Outreach Specialist providing support and advocacy for children and young people up to age 25.

Close up of Ruth Harris

Ruth Matthews

Partnerships and Philanthropy Manager

Before entering the charity sector in 2013, Ruth got her degree in Fashion Design. Deciding that she would rather help people than dress them, she decided to find a career that would utilise her creativity in a more fulfilling way. Since 2013 Ruth has worked across many areas of fundraising and brings with her experience of digital fundraising, grants and trusts fundraising and events. Ruth joined us in August 2020 and is now working on diversifying our income streams by developing a portfolio of fundraising activities for all our supporters.

Close up of Sarah

Sarah McClarey

Senior Family Outreach Specialist

Sarah is a qualified Occupational Therapist and has practiced in diverse areas within the NHS. This included paediatrics which involved assessment and intervention within mainstream and specialist school settings. Sarah joined us in March 2017 and utilises her professional qualification along with her undergraduate psychology knowledge to directly support parents and carers.