Meet our skilled, hard working and experienced team…
James has over 20 years experience working in the learning disability sector, both as Manager and practitioner. Much of this time has been in the voluntary sector, including 16 years working for ENABLE Scotland where he focused on the Management and development of supported employment and vocational training initiatives.
James has also worked in the statutory sector, most recently managing the transition of a traditional day service to more community-based models of support.
He has been working with the ARC Scotland team since 2008 where he has built strong partnerships with Local Authority and provider organisations to develop the involvement of the people they support in their planning and decision-making processes.
James was promoted to Director of ARC Scotland in September 2010.
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Debbie is responsible for leading, managing and the ongoing development of ARC Scotlands training provision. This includes specialist short courses, bespoke training for organisations specific needs and accredited vocational qualifications.
Prior to joining ARC Scotland in 2006, Debbie worked in business administration in the insurance and finance industry. Then after a break to raise family, Debbie started a new career in Health and Social Care with a national respite and domiciliary care provider in the Scottish Borders and has worked in the capacity of volunteer, as a support worker, then co-ordinator and eventually as a manager.
Debbie then worked for a college as an assessor and verifier and as a sessional tutor, facilitating training programmes for SVQ Health & social Care candidates at levels 2, 3, 4, and Registered Managers Award.
Debbie has SVQ and ILM qualifications in Social Care, Leadership, Management and Learning and Development.
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Derek has worked in the Social Care Sector since 1986, both as a manager and practitioner supporting adults with physical and learning disabilities. His career has encompassed working both in and with the voluntary, statutory, health and private sector.
A large proportion of Derek’s career was spent as a senior practitioner with Capability Scotland, where he managed a residential unit and developed the services for respite provision. His career has included project management of community based living services and developing and evaluating a community resource centre.
For a number of years Derek was on the management committee of the Tayforth Voluntary Organisation Training Forum, latterly as Convenor. In the last five years his focus has been on the education and development of the workforce within the sector.
Derek joined ARC Scotland in 2010 as a Learning & Development Officer and will be focussing on the needs of provider organisations in the development of their workforce.
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I began my working life in the Civil Service in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries at St Andrews House in Edinburgh as an audio typist. I remained there for 9 years before leaving to have a family. After a few years break I took up the post of office administrator with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office based in the centre of Edinburgh. 20 years later the office was closed and we were made redundant.
After a short break I returned to work on a part time basis with ARC Scotland, my first job in the health and social care sector, to administer a European Social Funded training project. On completion of this project I remained with ARC Scotland on a full time basis and have now been with them for 12 years as Administration Manager for the training arm of ARC.
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Tony is on secondment from People First until the end of March 2017, and whilst with ARC, he is responsible for the SOLD project.
He made a career change in 2004, with his first experience of working in social care. He worked as an employment support worker with the action group in Edinburgh for a couple of years. He made the decision in 2006 to university to begin a Masters in Social Work, and qualified in 2008.
He has worked in a number of different roles in both statutory and voluntary sectors. Prior to joining ARC, he worked for six and a half years with People First as an advocacy development worker. At the end of 2015, Tony qualified as a social work practice teacher, and would like to do more teaching in the future.
Previously, Tony worked in the book trade. Initially with secondhand and antiquarian books, and later with new books. He worked for Borders UK for six years, organising author events and supplying schools and libraries, amongst other things.
Sylvia has over 30 years of experience of working with people with learning difficulties, in both the statutory and voluntary sector. She worked for 17 years as a social worker in Edinburgh, followed by development posts with both Edinburgh Development Group and ARK Housing Association.
Sylvia’s work has a strong focus on using person centred and community connecting tools and approaches with individuals and groups. She has extensive experience in delivering training to staff from both the statutory and voluntary sector in these approaches. She works to support people with learning difficulties to be active and included citizens, at the heart of decision making processes within services and within communities.
Sylvia has been working with the ARC Scotland team since 2008 where she has built strong partnerships with self advocates, Local Authority and provider organisations.
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Scott has over 18 years experience of working in the Voluntary and Statutory Sectors with a wide range of people. He began his working career in the community working with individuals from mental health, homelessness, drug and drink related backgrounds. He later went on to become a member of the research team looking into recovery stories from mental health for the Scottish Recovery Network and then on to work as part of a Multidisciplinary team in a local hospital as a health psychologist. He also has experience of Clinical Governance, website creation and information development as well as impacting clinical practice guidelines and information gathering practices.
He then returned to the voluntary sector, working with children and young people with learning disabilities and additional support needs and a has experience of running transitions services and of senior management roles with a definite person centred focus.
He then went on to complete his Masters in Social work and gained experience of various statutory and local authority areas, such as disability service teams, adult services and older peoples services. He is a registered social worker and has written about maintaining your Social Worker Registration whilst in the voluntary sector for Social Work Based Press.
He has been employed by ARC Scotland since 2012 and his works focus’s on the principles of personalisation and Self Directed Support in Transitions from Child to Adult Services. He also has a deep interest in the difference empowerment can make in terms of right based services and how this can be achieved in a Person Centred and holistic way.
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Rebecca Williams – Policy and Development Worker, ARC Scotland
Over the past 12 years Rebecca has worked in various services across the Voluntary and Statutory Sectors in Australia, Canada and Scotland. During this time she has worked with individuals and communities facing a wide range of issues associated with health inequalities, disabilities, homelessness, substance misuse, mental health, grief and loss, criminal justice matters, transgenerational trauma and abuse. In Australia, Rebecca worked as a case manager with Hanover Welfare Services and Homeground Services; two leading independent housing and homelessness organisations, before taking up a role as an Initial Assessment and Planning Worker based at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. During her time in Vancouver she worked as a support worker in a day service for adults with disabilities run by the Community Living Society and as an outreach worker with RainCity Housing supporting adults with concurrent disorders experiencing long-term homelessness, trauma and abuse. Since moving to Edinburgh Rebecca has worked with Streetwork UK, in both their Crisis Centre and with their Women’s Service supporting women at risk of, or who have experienced domestic abuse, sexual assault and commercial sexual exploitation.
Prior to joining ARC Scotland Rebecca was a social worker with the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transition Team, which greatly enhanced her understanding of the complexities of transitions and the need for co-ordinated and effective person centred planning. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Social Work, a Masters of Public Health Practice and is passionate about promoting human rights and social inclusion.
Click here to download Rebecca’s One Page Profile – Rebecca Williams – Page Page Profile
Paddy Carstairs – Development Worker, ARC Scotland
Paddy has been working in the voluntary sector in social care since the early 80’s when he worked with MIND and NACRO in Nottingham on what were called resettlement projects for marginalised people.
Since returning to Scotland he has worked mainly with people affected by mental illness and homelessness, and has held management positions in projects providing housing support, day services, vocational support and support for carers. He ha served on the Boards and management committees of a number of local voluntary organisations, all of which have aimed to support people to have more control over their own lives.
Paddy joined ARC Scotland in December 2013 as Development Worker, and his job is to support the National Involvement Network to relaunch its Charter for Involvement.
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Brid’s first job was teaching English in France for 4 years, followed by a range of jobs with voluntary organisations in Ireland and Scotland. These included development and management roles in organisations which delivered HIV support, a national volunteering programme, and issues related to the ageing population. She has worked with ARC since 2013, on a freelance basis to start, and is now in a full-time post.
Brid facilitates regional network meetings where provider organisations meet with Health and Social Care staff to discuss ways to make policies meaningful to people with learning disabilities, and improve their quality of life.
She believes strongly in the power of partnership working to build strong links between people and agencies, which benefit everyone involved. We can achieve much more through working together than on our own.
She also helps members of the National Involvement Network to understand how the Charter for Involvement can help them take a greater role in the organisations which provide their support. This includes helping organisations to improve the ways in which they actively involve people with learning disabilities in the way that their services are run.
Click here to download Brid’s One Page Profile – Brid One Page Profile
Julie Ritchie – Development Worker in Aberdeen, ARC Scotland
Julie graduated from Aberdeen University with a Psychology Honours degree in 2003. She then began her career in the voluntary sector as a support worker for Sense Scotland. She quickly progressed to team leader and in 2009 became locality manager for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Even in her managerial role Julie still ensured she did regular support shifts with service users as this was where she started her career and making a difference to people’s lives will always be close to her heart. She still does relief shifts to sustain her working relationship with service users and carry on her practice-based experience.
During her work at Sense Scotland Julie completed her Level 4 SVQ in Health and Social Care and her Leadership and Management in Care qualifications. She is also an SVQ assessor and can communicate to a basic level in British Sign Language.
Julie joined the ARC Scotland team in September last year. As a part-time development worker she facilitates the Aberdeenshire Provider Forum and Voices for Change self advocates group. Since starting this role she has been busy networking and building partnerships with the provider organisations, self advocates and local authority.
Julie hopes to expand the self advocates group to also cover the South of Aberdeenshire.
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Diane has 25 years of secretarial/administration experience. She started her working life in a bank and then moved on to work in a Consulting Engineers where she worked as a secretary for 7 years before leaving to have a family.
After a small break she went back to work and started working for a publisher as an administrator but was made redundant after a few years. Diane started working with ARC Scotland on a part time basis and has been working with the ARC Scotland team since 2008 where she works as a projects administrator and communications coordinator.
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Chris is a general admin assistant. He makes photocopies of portfolios for candidates, does shredding. He’ll photocopy reports and bind them with a spiral binder. He does filing, moved furniture and does some work needed round the office.
He also does office work at Midlothian Voluntary Action, which supports voluntary organisations in Midlothian. He is currently undertaking the Advanced EDCL course to improve his Microsoft Office skills.