Meet the Team

Staff

Norma Curran

Norma Curran

Chief Executive Officer

Q

Norma Curran has been with VIAS since 2009 and is Chief Executive Officer. She is responsible for the operations and development of the organisation. In her free time Norma loves to do yoga and to spend time playing hide-and-seek with her grandchildren.

John Brown

John Brown

Depute CEO

Q

What my role involves: Main duties include managing services & projects: Triple E job coaching service, DFN Project SEARCH University of Aberdeen and the VIAS Training service. Business development remains a huge part of my role and this can include: bid writing, generating new leads and partners, developing and managing new projects and internal systems. I am also part of the Communications Sub-Committee, which looks at the strategy and development of the website, social media, and offline marketing.

What I do in my spare time: I am currently studying business management at University so a lot of my spare time is used for studying. I also like to support other organisations so I serve as a Non-Executive Director at Blue Triangle Housing Association and Next Generation Training Limited. Away from work I spend time with my wife, son and dog and whenever I get a chance I play golf, the most amazing and frustrating game in the world.

Jim Saunders

Jim Saunders

Senior Lead Consultant

(Project SEARCH)

Q

Hi I’m Jim Saunders, Senior Lead Consultant – Job Coaching with VIAS working as part of the Project SEARCH team at University of Aberdeen. The main aim of the Project is to support our interns with learning disabilities/and or autism to further develop employability skills, showcase their talents and secure employment. In my spare time I enjoy lots of walks in the beautiful countryside and along the coastal paths of Aberdeenshire.

Shirley

Shirley McIntosh

Lead Consultant

(Project SEARCH)

Q

I started in September 2020. My role at Project SEARCH University of Aberdeen is to provide job coaching support for individuals on the programme.

Outside work, I love travelling, eating and reading and have long list of places I want to visit including Japan and the Rockies.

Donna-Marie

Donna-Marie Speir

Lead Consultant

(The Life I Want)

Q

In my current post I coordinate ‘The Life I Want’ public social partnership for people with learning disabilities living in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. This project creates opportunities for people with learning disabilities to make practical differences to their own lives and to development of services.

My role is to support the development of the workstreams and the people taking part, helping to identify and develop new opportunities for the partnership to increase its influence both at local and strategic levels

Liam Simpson

Liam Simpson

Lead Consultant

(Training)

Q

In my role in the organisation I mostly train alongside our lead consultants for training. This could be to external organisations or even internal.

I lead mostly on training programmes such as Autism Awareness. This promotes people with disabilities into the working life.

In my free time. I love to read books on my favourite topics such as fantasy novels by Tolkien, I also love and enjoy SC-FI my favourite is Star-Trek.

I also enjoy art work and painting,

When am not reading or watching movies, I enjoy going on long walks with my dog and get some exercise.

Sonya

Sonya Brewsher

Lead Consultant

(The Assembly)

Q

My job is to head up The Scottish Assembly, which is a growing group of people from all over Scotland who meet as a large group every week and in smaller regional groups every month.

 The Assembly makes politics accessible for people with learning disability and/or autism so that they can be more equally involved. We do this through games, workshops, quizzes, easy read information, hustings events and meeting with decision makers about things that members are passionate about.

 When I have spare time, I prefer to be outside – walking, climbing, playing sports, camping and paddling in my kayak. My favourite things are my family, my two working cocker spaniels, gardening (especially my herb garden), cooking, football and Montepulciano.

David MacDonald

David MacDonald

Lead Consultant

(Triple E)

Q

I support customers to gain and sustain employment by supporting them to learn skills to gain a job. Once job is gained, I support the customer to learn all the tasks of the job and coaching them along the way.

-What you like to do in your free time?
I love vespa scooters and drive all over Scotland on it with a local scooter club. I have 2 whippets, so I spend time racing them.

Jackie Eaton Photo

Jackie Eaton

Lead Consultant

(Evaluation)

Q

Jackie has worked in the social care sector for over 30 years. She is a qualified social worker and has worked in a wide range of roles and settings as a learning disability service provider and in facilitating consultation, training, and development opportunities.

Jackie believes that there is no reason for anyone to miss out on things that people in Scotland value and to have fulfilled lives; and that the best way to achieve this is to listen, understand and act.

At home, Jackie enjoys painting, digital art, and customising clothes and furniture. She is a fan of motor sport, particularly rally driving and Formula 1 and has been to Silverstone and the Monaco grand prix.

Jackie is the devoted owner of Cheddar, a small yellow budgie who she found at an animal rescue centre whilst looking for a dog.

David Ross

David Ross

Consultant

(Evaluation and Training)

Q

I am on the evaluation team mostly which involves speaking with individuals who receive support and their families to see what they feel and think about the support. I also co deliver Learning Disability Awareness, Safe guarding along with Systematic Instruction.
As for free time I don’t really have much but I do enjoy being around people I love and care about whether it is with friends or family

Coire Blackwood

Coire Blackwood

Consultant

(Social Media)

Q

What my role involves: I am part of the Communications Sub-Committee which develops and oversees VIAS’s social media, website, and marketing. I am also part of The Life I Want.

What I do in my spare time: When I’m not busy working I pursue a wide variety of interests from history to mixology and all points in between!

Board Members

John Dalrymple

John Dalrymple

Co-Chair

Q

John is the Director of Radical Visions and an experienced social worker who has spent the majority of his career working in services for people with learning difficulties in Scotland.

Following the completion of an honours degree in English Literature and a post-graduate CQSW, John began his career as a generic social worker in Glasgow and Galashiels. He worked in a variety of roles in the multi-disciplinary Borders learning disability team in the eighties, and in the early nineties was Principal Officer for Learning Disabilities for Strathclyde. Subsequently, while Resettlement Project Manager at Lennox Castle Hospital, he supported Simon Duffy’s work in founding Inclusion Glasgow.

John was the first employee and chief officer of the Grampian based Partnership Housing (now INSPIRE), and in 1998 co-founded Support for Ordinary Living, a supported living organization working in Lanarkshire. With Simon Duffy and others he was a founder of ALTRUM, and sits on the Board of In Control Scotland, having previously been seconded to work with Frances Brown as its Joint Development Team Leader. John contributed to the Scottish review of learning disability services, The Same As You? (2000), and was instrumental in establishing Values Into Action Scotland as an independent Scottish agency in 2007.

Liam Simpson

Idem Lewis

Co-Chair

Q

I oversee improved access to quality supports and services. I have an impressive career looking after a variety of organisations including LDAS, People First Scotland and VIA UK. In my spare time I enjoy following politics and achieving my bucket list of visiting every premier league stadium in England.

David Ross

Frances Brown

Board Treasurer

Q

I have been working in the Health and Social Care sector for over 40 years, starting in nursing and was trained in mental health nursing and general nursing. During this time I was involved in closing the long stay hospitals and developing a new way of supporting people to live in their own homes and communities and I worked as a clinical nurse specialist for rehabilitation before leaving the health service in 1993.

Values Into Action has been an organisation I have known and supported for many years and was on the board for a short many years ago. I am keen to continue to be part of this very unique organisation and believe strongly and align with their values and the way they put these into practice everyday. My role is currently as the treasurer on the board. I am a doting grandma and I have 6 grandchildren of which 4 are under the age of 1 year! I love it!

Lindsay Barr

Lindsay Barr

Board Secretary

Q

Responsible for administration and governance of the Board of Trustees, including distribution of agenda, recording and distribution of the minutes of Board meetings and ensuring charity and company law requirements are met.

I enjoy gardening and walking but my main hobbies are photography, Celtic music and I am musical director of my church praise band.

William Rae

William Rae

Board Member

Q

What you do in the role: I am a supporter of development work in Aberdeen/ Aberdeenshire; a finance committee member and a supporter of looking into feasibility of asset transfer for a permanent home for VIAS.

What you like to do in your free time. Catching up on things I have missed on tv and watching funny videos on YouTube. The funniest one I have watched now is of Ted from Line of Duty with all of his best lines.

Alastair Stone

Ian Stones

Board Member

Q

I look for how to make things accessible, and opportunities for people with disabilities across Scotland.

In my free time I like photography, walking my dog, and I am also a member of the Royal Society of Arts.

Alastair Minty

Jordan Allan

Board Member

Q

I have been part of VIAS for the past 8 years from Admin Assistant to Quality Checker to Consultant and now Board Member I also am a Sessional Trainer with VIAS. I work for a support organisation called Thera (Scotland) as Service Quality Director where I check the quality of support people we support receive. I am very passionate about people with learning disabilities and people on the autistic spectrum having the same opportunities as everyone else and having support to achieve their dreams. In my spare time I sit on the Association of Quality Checkers board (AQC) and I like going to the football.

Michael McEwan

Michael McEwan

Board Member

Q

I have been a member of the board now for a few years  and also in the past did some work for values in to action and various scottish charities .

  I am a freelance journalist and disability activist.

  Away from work I like to go out with my mates and watch football.

Alastair Minty

Alastair Minty

Board Member

Q

I have been part of the management committee and then the board since 2011. I always try to explore ways everyone can contribute to how we develop. I have also been involved in project plans including Young Scotland’s Got Talent and Project Search in the North East.

In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities from mountain biking and snowboarding to the odd triathlon. I love going to concerts, seeing new places and helping people stay connected and try new things.