Chair – Dr Kirsty A Darwent
Kirsty has twelve years of experience of working at executive and non-executive board director level in the public and third sectors. Kirsty is currently the Deputy Chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Vice Chair of the NHS Ayrshire and Arran Board. A qualified psychologist and psychotherapist, Kirsty co-founded the Family Therapy Training Network and was previously the Course Director for Systemic Family Psychotherapy at the Scottish Institute of Human Relations.
Serena was nominated to the Board through her role as Chair Person of Relationships Scotland Orkney, where she has been chair for 2.5 years and was previously involved as a board member. Serena is a Lawyer based in Orkney although her work takes her throughout the north of Scotland. Serena does mostly family law and dispute resolution but as part of a general practice legal firm deals with a wide variety of other work and enjoys the variety. In her spare time she enjoys walking her dog, going to the cinema and socialising
Jim Stephen – Vice Chair
Nicola is a member of the Faculty of Advocates where she specialises in family and child law. Her practice at the Bar has seen her appear at all levels in the Scottish Courts and she has a particular interest in promoting safe contact between separated parents and in obtaining children’s views. Nicola joined the board of directors of Scottish Women's Aid in 2013 where she now holds the position of Vice Chair.
Murdo is the Chair of Relationships Scotland - Family Mediation West of Scotland.
Elspeth, who also sits on the Board of Bright Light Relationship Counselling, has a background in academic teaching and, as Director of Lothians Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS), led a team working with staff in local schools and universities to support young people disadvantaged by economic, social or cultural factors into higher education courses. She later worked for the Scottish Funding Council in the areas of policy making, strategic planning, governance and monitoring and evaluation. Now retired, she has an ongoing interest in promoting the wellbeing of children and young people and equal opportunities. She enjoys books, films and theatre, supports the work of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and likes growing and making things.
Since and before retirement Jim has had an active part in many voluntary bodies, including Shetland Credit Union (Director), Voluntary Action Shetland (Director) and Church of Scotland (Elder).
Mark sits on the Board as an adviser representing the interests of the local family mediation services. In his main role Mark is the manager of Relationships Scotland Family Mediation South Lanarkshire as well as being a registered family mediator and facilitator of the Parenting Apart programme. Prior to joining Relationships Scotland Mark was a solicitor in private practice for 12 years. In his spare time he volunteers with a local Greyhound Rescue, enjoys archery and watching bad horror movies.
May Chamberlain has been with Relationships Scotland Central for almost 25 years. In all of that time she has been a volunteer therapist only taking on the Managerial role 10 years ago. As well running a very busy service, she has studied over the years and has qualifications in Counselling, Psychosexual Therapy, Sexual Addiction and is a qualified Supervisor in Counselling and Psychosexual Therapy/Sexual Addiction. May sits on the National Board as an advisor.
I have been nominated by Relationships Scotland Tayside and Fife. I have been a family mediator for over 20 years, and I am Chair of our Mediation Practice Committee. I continue to be impressed by how relatively brief interventions by family mediators can have a significant and lasting effect on the relationship between separated couples and on the welfare of their children. I was a teacher of mathematics until my retirement some years ago. I am also a keen cyclist and hill walker.
Johanna’s role on the National Board came about after being Chair of Relationships Scotland - Family Mediation Highland. Her expertise lies mainly in my work with Parent Network Scotland having facilitated Parenting Awareness courses in the Highlands and Moray over the past 15 years, and acted as mentor for trainee facilitators. As a Parent Coach, and mother of 5 children Johanna has a great appreciation for the job parents have. Living in the Highlands and Moray brings to light the additional sense of isolation parents can feel when they live in rural areas with a lot less contact with other parents and support services.
Mike has worked in the HR field for more than 30 years. He spent a considerable amount of his early career in the Civil Service before moving on to local government with Scottish Borders Council and the City of Edinburgh Council. He was also CPD Advisor with the South East Scotland Branch of the CIPD for a period. He then moved into the voluntary sector as Head of Human Resources with SACRO in 2002 before taking on the role of Head of HR & IT in the Church of Scotland, one of Scotland’s largest charities. Mike is also a trained Mediator. He is a member of the Board and brings a significant amount of HR / Governance expertise. Mike is now the Head of HR with Scotland’s national children’s charity, Children 1st adding further to his significant experience in the third sector. He is a keen follower of F1 and likes to think he is an ok golfer.
My role on the Board is general rather than specific, with many years of experience on charity Boards. I was Chair of the local counselling service when I joined the Board. I also spent 8 years as Chair of an NHS Trust. I think I may be the longest serving member having been Chair of Relate in the run up to the merger. Outwith RS I am Treasurer of PND Borders, a small charity that supports mothers with postnatal depression. I am keen on going to the theatre and to chamber music recitals and I sing in the local church choir; I also walk the hills and pursue the wildlife.