Our Board of Trustees
Dave Bleasdale (Chairman): Dave has recently retired after 18 years as Operations Manager for Turning Point Scotland in Dumfries & Galloway. He brings a wealth of experience in the local charitable and voluntary sector with a key focus on people with disabilities including ASD. Dave is also vice-chair of the D & G Autism Strategy Group and was instrumental in the development of the local action plan.
Andy Margerison: Andy is a former Headteacher of a primary school for children with ASD in the Highlands, Depute Head and Principal Teacher for Additional Needs at Kirkcudbright Academy and currently Autism Initiative Project Officer for Dumfries & Galloway Council. Andy has 30 years’ experience in supporting children and young people with additional needs and an in-depth knowledge of the provision in Dumfries & Galloway.
Jennifer Challinor: Jennifer has over 15 years’ experience in local, national and international not-for-profit organisations in Scotland at a project and strategic level. She has a Master degree in Community Development and Project Management.
Finlay Brawn: Finlay is a qualified accountant with an interest in the charity sector in Scotland. He has 10 years of experience in finance roles, initially working in the NHS and then moving into the Third Sector in senior roles within national service delivery and health-focused organisations.
Lynne Edwards: Lynne started her career in the computer industry so has a great deal of IT experience. She was a teacher for many years, working with many aspects of special needs, including behavioural, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ASD as well as moderate and severe learning difficulties.
Stewart Biggar: Stewart was previously Principal Educational Psychologist for DGC and inaugural Chair of D&G Autism Strategy Group which drew up the local strategy and action plan ‘Better Lives for People with Autism’ in 2012. “I am proud to be involved with Better Lives Partnership, working to support young people with autism”.
James Herbert: James has a background at CEO level in the Chemical and Papermaking industries. He then retrained to teach management and leadership and gained significant experience working in the Voluntary Sector, retiring to Dumfries in 2015. He was one of the initial group of five Coach/Mentors at The Usual Place and then worked as a Job Coach on the D & G Project Search Programme to help and support those with additional support needs to find their way in the world.
Shirley Dugan: Shirley has both personal and professional knowledge of the autism sector. As Senior Co-ordinator for Parents Inclusion Network, she has a great knowledge of the opportunities currently available and the capacity to link and consult with a great number of parents of young people with ASD. As a parent, herself of a young man with ASD, she understands the challenges and the worries faced by parents and Carers.