Our Staff Team

Meet the Changes team and find out why we’re all so passionate about the work that we do around mental health in East Lothian.


Kelly Thacker

Development Manager

I started with Changes in July 2021 and am learning about all the activities that take place here, not to mention all the lovely staff and volunteers. 

I’ve been working in employability in Edinburgh for the last 11 years, with a range of charities and in various roles.  I began coaching people to move into jobs, training and volunteering opportunities, I have run training in a range of topics, moved into project development and most recently leadership. 

I trained as a Life Coach 12 years ago and have used these goal setting and life planning skills throughout my job roles since.  I am passionate about supporting people to break down some of the bigger things they are trying to deal with in life, create inspiring goals and work towards a plan that allows smaller steps to their own personal success stories.  

I love the outdoors and when I feel overwhelmed, I often find myself in a beautiful woodland or on a beach, just to breathe deeply and recharge.  I enjoy journaling and use it to capture my thoughts to make sense of my world and what I’m currently experiencing. I walk and swim in the sea and might be found under a tree at night in my bivvy bag, enjoying a night under the stars.  


John Rendall

Peer Support Worker

My name is John and my career was in the Security Industry for over 37 years. I received support from Changes over 5 years ago and I am now in a good place.  I have been volunteering for 4 years now and have done various paid Project Work roles for Changes, especially with 1st Response and Men’s Groups. I have spoken at two Changes AGMs which was very powerful and emotional. I love a laugh, even when times have been challenging. 


Margaret Howard

Financial Administrator

I have worked with Changes for over 15 years and I am the admin/finance worker.  I enjoy answering the phone and dealing with enquiries.  I have recently become involved in the allocation of the counselling appointments which is challenging but very rewarding.   A key achievement for me this year was during the time between the previous manager leaving and the new manager starting, when along with the other staff members, we all worked very hard to keep the project running smoothly.  My main aim in this coming year is to be involved in improving the efficiency of the administration of the Counselling service.


Brian Glass

Training Coordinator

I joined Changes in September 2009 on a one year contract. They still haven’t managed to get rid of me! My main role is now to organise and deliver SMHFA, ASIST and safeTALK training. All three courses designed to give people the skills to help someone in mental distress or with suicidal thoughts.

I am also the Suicide Prevention worker working as part of the Suicide Prevention Group in East Lothian and I help deliver the 1st response service in East Lothian, so I actually put the training I deliver into practice and know that it works. I have a mental illness but it is well managed and unlike when I worked in corporate-land rarely keeps me off work. As an Artist, I love painting but I also love delivering the courses. I really enjoy helping people to help others as well as helping people.

My key achievement to date has been the development in my skill as an artist. It has taken 20+ years but I am actually quite good. My real specific interest though, is suicide prevention. I know how it impacts people, I have twice been suicidal myself, I also know that just because you think about it does not mean you have to act on the thoughts. I have learned so much about suicide, suicide prevention and helping people deal with suicide in the past 10 years working in Changes. For that I am so grateful. If you want to talk about suicide, come talk to me, I’ll listen.


Zanjbeel

Befriending Coordinator | Communications Officer

I joined Changes in June 2022 and have enjoyed every moment here! Working as Befriending Coordinator means I have gotten to know so many people and supported them through their own mental health journeys. Being Communications Officer has meant I get to use my creative flare to spread awareness to the community about who Changes are and the positive support we can provide.

Outside of work, I enjoy swimming in the sea, baking, walking on the beach and am learning to playing guitar!


Annette Murray

Volunteer Recruitment Officer

I have joined Changes as the Volunteer Recruitment Officer. I’ve relied heavily on volunteers to support me in my work all throughout my career, firstly in nature conservation and more recently as a course facilitator in mental health and wellbeing. 

I’ve personally volunteered in numerous roles ranging from practical conservation work, to supporting the bereaved and more recently helping people experiencing mental health challenges. I’ve personally gained from being a volunteer and from having volunteers support me in my work. I know how important it is for a volunteer to have a positive experience in a role that is right for them. 

I look forward to meeting and enrolling new volunteers to help Changes deliver their services.


Kim Wingate

Administrator | Wellbeing Coordinator

I love my diverse role with Changes. In an admin capacity I am involved with the cogs of the organisation – booking appointments, answering the phones and emails, and changing lightbulbs! As wellbeing coordinator I plan the wellbeing courses and activities we offer and also spend a part of my week facilitating Changes nature-based activities. It is a joy to be able to spend time with the people who use Changes services, especially in outdoor environments.

My career history has mostly involved working with people in nature and I am a true believer in the restorative qualities of time outdoors.

Out with work I love to get outside with my family and spend a lot of time walking my dog and exploring the woodlands and beaches of East Lothian. I love to swim (in the pool or the sea), read, and build Lego!


Renata

Counsellor

I joined Changes in April 2022. My background is in Psychology and Mental Health. I have previously worked for several community-based services for individuals with a variety of developmental and mental health needs. I have always been curious about our inner world and drawn to deeper conversations in life, so becoming a Counsellor seemed a natural way of progressing with my professional development. 

There is a quote by John Dewey, an American philosopher and psychologist, which captures for me the essence of the therapeutic process: “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” I am aware that such reflection can be at times difficult, and so when we can all benefit from a companion in this process of learning about ourselves. 

In my role as a Counsellor, I strive to offer a relational encounter, a reflective and supportive space with opportunity for exploration of what in our day-to-day life may remain under the surface; unnamed or unnoticed. I believe that counselling can ignite personal change and enhance life transformation and I am passionate about being part of the exciting and challenging process of self- discovery and change, which can take place in so many unique ways during therapy. 

When not in the counselling room, I love being surrounded by nature and I enjoy reading, especially biographies.


Tom

Freelance Counsellor

I’ve been at Changes since 2022: first as a student, second as a volunteer, and now as a freelance counsellor.

The ethos of Changes is an important one and it tallies with my belief that access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. Hence, it is a real pleasure to work with Changes!


Caroline Sharpe

Buddy Walk Coordinator


Rebecca Mitchell

Therapy Manager


Rachael Spiers

Peer Support Worker


Jill Atkinson

Group Therapist


Contact us 0131 653 3977 or info@changeseastlothian.org