Open Door Accommodation Project is a registered charity and a limited company. The organisation is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees with seven members, led by a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Members come from a range of backgrounds and have a good range of skills including finance, law, management, health and safety and community development. The Board of Trustees work hard to develop the overall strategic development.
Responsible for the day to day running of the organisation are the Chief Executive Officer and the Services Manager. They are assisted by Project Workers and Support Workers. All staff are registered with the SSSC and are committed to their continuous professional and vocational development.
Our Board of Trustees
Tony is a qualified Solicitor and Notary Public working in a leading international commercial law firm. He has particular expertise in commercial litigation and regularly advises in relation to property and contract disputes, regulatory, licencing and court litigation matters. He is passionate about ensuring everyone has the best chance in society and is a Children’s Panel Member on the Children’s Hearing system. In addition, he is a Generalist Adviser at the Citizen’s Advice bureau. When he is not working or volunteering, Tony enjoys travelling, skiing and spending time with family and friends.
David has been a trustee since 2018. David has a professional background of working in economic development, anti-poverty work, employability, regeneration and external funding. David has worked with a range of not for profit organisations to secure finance, develop new services and support innovation and improvements.
Craig became a Trustee for Open Door in December 2016. He has worked in the Housing sector since 2004, delivering services to vulnerable older people within our communities. He is currently the Chairperson for West Calder Community Education Association which is a charity that manages in partnership with West Lothian Council the Community Centre within West Calder, providing a programme of activities/services for all ages. He has completed an SVQ 3 in Housing recently started an SVQ 4 in Housing and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Also in his spare time he enjoys volunteering with St. Andrew's First Aid as a Youth Leader and a Trainer/Assessor.
Vince was invited to join the Board of the Open Doors Project in 2018. Vince is currently the Health and Safety Business Partner for Scottish Autism which has 1200 employees across Scotland providing a mixture of day, outreach, vocational, housing support and residential care to young people and adults who are within the autistic spectrum across Scotland. His role often involves visiting services and to provide direct support and advice on all matters of health and safety ensuring that Scottish Autism complies with all aspects of health and safety legislation. Since joining Scottish Autism Vince has enabled them to attain both the Gold Award in health and safety from RoSPA along with the Gold Healthy Working Lives award.
Vince joined Scottish Autism in 2001 after 15 years with the City of Edinburgh Social Work Department, where he worked as a Community Outreach Support Worker supporting families, where there was either a young person or an adult with a diagnosed special need living in the family home. Prior to entering the care sector, Vince spent 13 years in the retail sector working across various UK locations.
Married, Vince has an on-going interest and is still an active volunteer with St. Andrew’s First Aid, of whom he is a former Trustee. Vince is also a Committee member of Broxburn Dog Obedience club.
Jessica has had an unconventional career ranging back and forth between science and social care, obtaining a first degree in Anthropology, a PG Diploma in Forensic Anthropology, a PG Cert in Counselling and the Practice Development Award in Practice Learning along the way. She finally identified her ‘calling’ as a Practice Teacher for social work students fifteen years ago and has dedicated her focus and energy to Social Work Education from every possible role and perspective, currently in post as Student Placement Programme Manager with Four Square, a homelessness charity in Edinburgh, also working as one of three regional coordinators of the National Link Worker training programme being rolled out by the Learning Network West. In 2018 she was nominated for and shortlisted as the Scottish Association of Social Workers’ Practice Teacher of the Year, receiving a Highly Commended accolade. Working with students in a range of settings, she has developed a unique understanding of social work and social care in local authorities and the third sector, and where and how they intersect.
Jessica joined the Board of Open Door Accommodation Project at the end of 2020, having worked with the management and staff teams for some years as an Independent Practice Teacher for social work students on placement; she is passionate about the work of Open Door and about everyone in society having the chance to be included and cared about.
Jessica emigrated from the United States in 1995, lives in Edinburgh with two naughty cats and likes to spend time playing bridge with friends and in the company of her parents (who followed her to Scotland).
Chief Executive Officer
Aileen started out with Open Door as a student “many years ago”. She has worked in all the services and has been inspired by watching the organisation grow over the years. She was recently appointed as CEO and is looking forward to seeing the organisation continue to thrive and support the young people of West Lothian.
Hostel Service - Project Worker
After leaving school, Andrea trained as a nurse. After a few years of nursing she got a job at a children’s home. There she found she loved working with children and young people. Andrea returned to college when she turned 50 years old to continue her education. She graduated last year from The University of Edinburgh with a degree in Community Education. She strongly feels it’s never too late for education, or to return to it, if the first time wasn’t the right time for you. She worked for Open Door about 20 years ago but left when she had her second child. Andrea returned to Open Door last year. During her free time Andrea likes to restore furniture, cooking, swimming, gardening, dancing, craft and laughing and chatting with my friends and family.
Andrea loves her job, in particular she enjoys helping young people to explore their education and employment choices as well as supporting them in other areas, such as learning to cook or filling out applications for example. She finds it very gratifying to watch young people share and learn new skills whilst gaining confidence in their own abilities. She is very excited about new ideas and exciting changes that are coming up for the hostel and the other Open Door services in the coming year.
Hostel Service - Project Worker
Gerry has worked for Open Door for 15 years, mostly in the hostel. He particularly enjoys seeing young people nervously move from the hostel into their own tenancy and is hugely gratified if he encounters them months or even years later and hears how well they have settled into their own home with their family around them. He has an engineering background, having spent 30 years as an Aircraft Engineer both in the RAF and in civilian life at Cumbernauld Airport. By travelling extensively he gained much experience of life that he enjoys passing on to young people. Family life is important to Gerry who has 6 children and 4 grandchildren. He went through a difficult period when he was widowed 14 years ago, but working at Open Door helped him get through the dark days. Having experienced this grief he is able to support young people who have been through similar sorrow.
Hostel Service - Project Worker
Working for Open Door for the past year and a half has been an enlightening experience that has enabled Junior to grow and develop professionally, within his career and most importantly as a human being. Junior is a Psychology graduate who has a keen interest in mental health and well-being. Open Door is at the heart of the intersection between both within our community in West Lothian. Supporting the youth of the county to engage with vital services that can provide them with a key to fulfilling their dreams has highlighted to him the importance of person-centred care that views each resident that comes through our doors as an individual. An individual in need, who we can uplift, engage and watch thrive over the time they spend with us. Moving forward he endeavours to continue with the great work we provide amongst a team of passionate support workers.
Hostel Service - Cleaner
Cathy has worked at Open Door Accommodation Project for nearly 18 years as the cleaner. During her time with the organisation, she has seen many managers and team leaders through the doors. She has seen hundreds of young people come and go. She enjoys knowing that most do really well in their lives, whether at home, job, education or simply reconciling with their families, which can be important for some young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Cathy’s husband and their 3 grown up daughters are her world. In normal times she spends as much time as she can with her family, meeting for lunch, dinner, cinema, and the theatre.
Volunteering with his local youth club led Stuart to full time work running youth work sessions in three different communities. He went on to work in the care team at a residential school for young people. He has filled many roles and gained valuable experience with supporting homeless families, tenancy support and has been actively involved with a planning group set up to implement the public social partnership which is now operational providing housing support services across Fife. He also worked at Open Door in 2006 and was involved with the Shelter Families Project. Stuart returned to Open Door in 2018 as the Community Outreach Officer. He is now involved with working with young people as they make the transition through homelessness to taking on and setting up their own tenancy.
Stuart completed his HNC in Social Care and then went on to study Sociology and Social Policy at Stirling University. Stuart believes that life is shaped and sculptured by the people you engage with. People’s life chances are negatively impacted when they are born into and raised in an environment where addiction, poverty and neglect are prevalent. Helping young people to overcome barriers and move forward in their lives provides Stuart with the motivation in his everyday work to be the best he can.
Community Outreach Officer
Hayley joined the Open Door Team in 2019, initially working in the hostel she is now part of our Community Outreach Service. Hayley is passionate about giving a voice to young people and enjoys seeing them get to the end of their homeless journey and set up in their first home, supporting them to get the best start they can. Outside of work she enjoys quizzing with her friends and long walks with her dog.
Health & Wellbeing Officer
Having a background in ‘Health Science and Physiology’ and ‘Occupational Therapy’, I am hoping to apply my knowledge into the setting so that I can promote healthier, more independent lifestyles for the young people in a holistic, person-centred way. I’m passionate about enabling people to take control over their own health and wellbeing, and am looking forward to helping young people within West Lothian gain the confidence and skills to do so. I’m very fortunate to be part of Open Door who are supporting me in my role to branch out and work with more people outside of the organisation who would benefit from the support
Financial Inclusion Officer
Fiona will be working within the West Lothian Community supporting young people to become independent with the management of their finances and offer support through any challenges they may face. She will be offering young people one to one support to either help them sustain their current finances and offer any relevant advice, or assist with current financial difficulties. The aim is to assist young people with giving them the knowledge and tools to make good financial decisions in the hope they can avoid any financial struggles in the future.
Drawing upon a career path which has seen me working as an employability focussed person; an educator in Further Education and Higher Education, as well as in Student Services (Welfare Funding, Counselling and Careers) within Further and Higher Education settings, I am now excited to be the new Employability Officer within the Outreach Team.
I am especially looking forward to hearing the journeys of the young people who come to ODAP for accommodation, guidance and support and then working with them to achieve their goals and aspirations either within employment, education, apprenticeships or training. Each and every one of them have a great deal to offer and we will work together to tell others this is the case.
I look forward to working with all my new colleagues to achieve positive outcomes for the YP we connect with.
And finally, getting to know other agencies and service providers across West Lothian specifically to see how we can support young homeless people together
Fund Raising Officer
Claire currently works part time for Open Door helping them to secure funding and donations to continue doing the great work they do supporting vulnerable young people. She has been working in the voluntary sector in various roles for more than ten years. She finds it very rewarding to be able to do something that makes a difference to the lives of children and young people. She particularly enjoys designing new projects and developing innovative ways to support those in need and make lasting change.
Flats Service - Support Worker
Mary joined Open Door in 2004. Over the years she has seen many changes and office moves, umpteen activities and events that Open Door has organised, and many young people coming and going through the organisation. But one thing that has never changed is the care that Open Door gives to the young people and this is her top priority. She loves music and reading and treasures time with her daughter.
Flats Service - Support Worker
Nuala recently completed a conversion MSc in Psychology with the University of Glasgow. She is particularly interested in mental health and wellbeing along with behavioural health psychology and factors affecting decision-making.
Nuala joined us recently and is looking forward to learning from the team at Open Door and being able to support young people during their development to independent living.