Our Members

The Leadership Team

Helen Carlin CEO

Helen’s fascination with our fondness for putting people in boxes started when she managed a service in Paisley, matching “elderly, housebound, socially isolated people” with volunteers.

Helen established and has led Rowan Alba for 20 years, with some senior housing management and policy work in between.

In her spare time, Helen enjoys red wine, good chat and forces herself to the gym three times a week.

Kirstie McGregor, Head of Income Generation

I have been with Rowan Alba Limited since 2004.  I began working with the company as a support worker in the Stramullion project.

I have worked in various roles within Rowan Alba. From SVQ assessor to Follow Me Coordinator, then onto Director of Operations and now Head of Income Generation. This has given me a broad and varied experience within the company.

I enjoy meeting with people and sharing the great work that we do with them.


Ann Logan
Ann Logan, Head of Residential Services

 Having worked with Rowan Alba now for 15 years I am responsible for the delivery of the Thorntree and Stramullion services. I am passionate about ensuring the teams provide high levels of service to all service users. I really enjoy working for Rowan Alba because I believe we are all focused on accepting, supporting and including people who use our services and providing the space and support for them to make a difference in their lives.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and holidaying in the sun.

Tracey Stewart Volunteers Co-ordinator

I have worked in the social care sector and Rowan Alba  in many different roles. In one way, or another, all involve listening to people and allowing them the space to talk and explore. We work on this everyday at Rowan Alba and I especially enjoy this part of my role.

I am proud of what the CARDS servic has achieved, developing from an idea into an army of volunteers who listen to and support some of Edinburgh’s most isolated, misunderstood and charismatic individuals.

Declan McKiernan Team Leader Thorntree, SVQ Assessor

I started working in the homeless sector at the outset of the Rough Sleepers Initiative Cold Weather Shelters in London in 1991. I moved to Edinburgh in ’98 where I’ve worked chiefly with the Old Town Housing Association and the Homeless Outreach Project in Street Outreach, Addictions and Intensive Support.

I am now in my 5th year at Thorntree Street and enjoy the varied nature of the role. I am currently developing my skills undertaking my coaching qualification and SVQ assessors award.

Dannielle Moyes Team Leader Perth, SVQ Assessor

 I began my Rowan Alba journey as a student on placement at Stramullion. I then moved into a role as support worker, for 6 years, gaining great insight into the lifes of the people we support.

I have been provided many opportunties to develop myself and my practice.  For four years I have been involved with assessing SVQ candidates. I recently moved into the role of team leader and am enjoying the challenge of a new role and being in a new service.

Ewan Law, Training and Learning Coordinator

Having worked in the fields of Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness over the last 8 years I have found myself a passionate advocate of person centered working, utilising a Coaching approach to achieve this.
Whether i’m communicating with people who use our services, staff, our students, volunteers, or even just visitors to the organisation, I always come from an asset based standpoint.
My professional interests are Trauma, Addictions and minimising the power imbalance in supportive relationships.

Nicky Whalen, Team Leader Stramullion

I started with Rowan Alba in 2015 as a support worker, then became Senior Support worker in 2017.
During this period I have participated in lots of training, such as Coaching, mental health, first aid and I have recently just completed an SVQ 4 in Health and Social care, all this has been beneficial and given much more of an insight into my day to day practice.

The Board Of Directors

Charles Common Director

Charlie has recently joined the Rowan Alba Board, after a career with Lothian and Borders Police. Originally from Coldstream, he lives in Ratho and is married with three children. He is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and joined the Police in 1979. During his service he worked in many parts of the Force area, including Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders and held a variety of senior positions. Having been involved in major operations and events, he describes himself as a good problem solver, with a wealth of experience in crisis management.

In January of 2011 Charlie discovered that there is ‘life after the Police’ and he became Head of Security for the consortium building the new Forth Crossing. Away from work he is an avid football fan and takes a keen interest in keep fit. As a Board member he is simply looking to make a contribution to a very worthwhile cause.

Nial Gemmell Director

Nial is a career banker who over the course of his career has carried a number of roles across different areas of banking.  This has included specialising in law and for the last 15 years structuring finance solutions for customers in the infrastructure, real estate and energy sectors.  Nial was keen to use the experience he’d gained whilst working with another charity through Pilotlight so after meeting Helen and hearing about the fantastic work Rowan Alba carries out was delighted to be accepted as a board member.

Outside work Nial is fortunate to live by the seaside with his wife and daughter.  Whilst his lifelong passion has been golf his daughter’s swimming career is gradually taking over his spare time so in an effort to stay out of swimming pool cafes Nial is now a qualified swim coach (although his daughter can obviously beat him in the pool!)

Fin Wycherley Director

I work with charities and social enterprises, as well as small business and entrepreneurs, across the world to develop powerful online marketing strategies that get the right message in front of the right people at the right time (and on the right social media platforms).

As well as being on the board, my team regularly provide pro-bono marketing guidance to make sure the right people hear about the incredible work, passion and care that goes into every aspect of the Rowan Alba experience. All members of the Rowan Alba team, from top to bottom, have an amazing understanding and compassion for their end users and always go above and beyond to find sustainable solutions for individuals rather than putting a metaphorical sticking plaster on broken legs.

I see my role as liberating the Rowan Alba team from worries over funding shortfalls in order to continue to provide a fantastic service with robust business and marketing systems in place.

Meet Our Volunteers

Elly Yule Senior Volunteer

A senior volunteer’s role description should in my mind incorporate:

  • being a good listener
  • full of encouragement
  • facilitator
  • flexibility with suggestions for ways forward
  • supportive of ideas and thoughts
  • negotiate a different path when deemed necessary

Reading over my wee poem(written a year or so ago) I feel it says what I basically think for all volunteers in varying degrees!

V  a vital, valuable and varied venture

O organised, open minded, open ended observations and to facilitate optimum ‘opporchancities’!

L  liaison and linked learning for a legacy

U  unburden to be understood and upbeat

N  negotiate and navigate needs to nurture

T  thoughtful and thought provoking tangible timescale tonic

E  empower expectations to equip and enrich

E  enthusiastically and energetically engage, educate and encourage

R  respect, realistic, resourceful and REWARDING

Where we are

Rowan Alba Limited

Head Office, 89-95 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 9PU

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