Positive Help is defined by the people involved in it; our service users, our volunteers, our staff and our supporters. This page is designed to give you an insight into our organisation by telling you a bit about some of the many people that work to make Positive Help great.
Matt – Manager
I’ve been with Positive Help since January 2012. Though I was born in Jamaica, I’ve been living in Edinburgh for over 20 years and am proud to call it home. My work at Positive Help is informed by a strong sense of social justice, my training in Community Development and years of experience in the voluntary sector. When I’m not working I keep myself fit through cycling and walking. I also love the great outdoors and try to get out for a spot of hill walking and tree planting whenever I can.
Tamara – Volunteer Coordinator
I have recently joined Positive Help in the beginning of March 2017. I’m originally from the USA and have been living in Edinburgh since 2012, when I met my husband. Prior to coming to Scotland, I had worked for a non-governmental organisation in Sierra Leone delivering HIV/AIDS training to other organisations and important figures in bush communities. I thoroughly enjoy a good trek and have been working on bagging all 287 Munros in Scotland. I also love a good cultural experience and travel to lands afar whenever possible!
Catherine – Study Buddies Coordinator
I have recently joined Positive Help in March 2017 after moving up from Brighton & Hove where I was working in rehabilitation with vision impaired veterans. Originally from Yorkshire I have lived and worked across the UK in a variety of different statutory and voluntary organisations assisting with issues such as access to care, homelessness, domestic violence and mental health. Outside of work I enjoy exploring all that Edinburgh and Scotland have to offer by walking my dog and cycling along the coast and visiting the many amazing galleries, museums and parks in the City.
Jana – Befriending Coordinator
Although originally from the Czech Republic, I’ve been studying, volunteering and working in Scotland for the past two decades. Prior to my involvement with Positive help I was working as a physio and later on as a support worker with vulnerable adults in Edinburgh and Lothian. I enjoy outdoors, salsa and mindfulness.
Kirsty – Administrator
I started with Positive Help in May 2014 following a move from Manchester where I lived on and off for around 10 years. While in Manchester I worked for the council in a role with strong links to the voluntary sector. Outside of work, I enjoy spending lots of time visiting family and friends and exploring Edinburgh. I’m also enjoying exploring more of Scotland with recent visits to Cromarty on the Black Isle, North Berwick and Dunnet Head.
Gwen – Fundraiser and Marketing Officer
I started with Positive Help in March 2015. Before that, I supported people with various disadvantages to set and achieve life and career goals. My career is based on a strong desire for everyone’s wellbeing to be nurtured: I’m passionate about equality. Something I’m proud of is helping set up a charity which encourages people to grow food and community and to live sustainably. To relax, I love being outdoors, especially if I’m on my bike or in nature.
Kate – Befriender
I’m a University student and decided to volunteer with Positive Help as I thought it sounded like a great excuse to watch Disney films and go on the swings! I’m a Befriender and am paired with a fantastic young adult, who is great fun as well as incredibly inspiring and resilient. We’ve been ice skating, horse riding and rock climbing, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. If you’re thinking about volunteering with Positive Help… DO IT! I’ve learnt a lot about listening and it’s been an honour to have such an insight into another person’s life.
Matt – Office Support
I joined Positive Help as a volunteer, in 2015. My work mainly involves assisting in the areas of admin and fundraising, such as putting together the driving schedule and researching funding opportunities. I also speak regularly with our clients and have developed a strong relationship with them, as well as my colleagues. Outside of the office, my interests include going to see live music, playing the drums, comedy shows and enjoying my home city and beyond! The Positive Help team are extraordinarily friendly so if you’re considering voluntary work then this is a highly rewarding organisation to work for; additionally, the services we provide are essential to a lot of people.
Iris – Home Supporter
I am a first-year PhD student and a Home Support volunteer at Positive Help. The main tasks of home support are to assist HIV/HCV-positive people in maintaining and improving their living conditions. By doing so, it has helped many people to live comfortably, especially for those who have difficulty in cleaning their own house.
Please join us. It is fun to interact with and get to know the people we work with. I have had very good volunteering experiences at Positive Help.
Blanca – Befriender
I joined Positive Help in 2014, during my second year of studying English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, and have been befriending a little 9-year-old boy since then. I am also temporarily helped out in the office as a Support Services Volunteer. Originally from Japan and Sweden, I’ve lived in both countries as well as in New Zealand and am now in Edinburgh until I finish my studies. In my spare time, I love to read (as my degree might have made evident) and travel. I am also regularly involved with theatre and am an enthusiastic foodie.
Ray de Souza – Chairman/Trustee
Ray has served on the Board of Positive Help for the more than 8 years, seven of them as Chair of the Board of Trustees. With a professional background in Health and Social Services, he has extensive experience in the fields of HIV, substance misuse, mental health and criminal justice. He has held senior management and leadership positions in the statutory and voluntary sectors and is currently Deputy Head of Health Resilience within Scottish Government. Ray was instrumental in developing the initial national strategies for HIV/AIDS and Drugs and Alcohol Misuse in Lothian and Scotland and led the commissioning programme to deliver a range of HIV and substance misuse services in Lothian. He has served on the Boards of a number of voluntary and independent sector organisations.
Stan Cook – Company Secretary/Trustee
Stan joined the Positive Help Board in November 2010. Following a career in the private sector, Stan retired in 2009. Seeking opportunity for further work, he became involved with Positive Help and currently serves on the Board. Stan also enjoys curling, cooking and spending time in France with his wife.
David Watson – Treasurer/Trustee
David Joined the Positive Help Board in November 2011. He is a qualified CIMA accountant with 20 years experience in a variety of roles, including manufacturing, clinical services, the Scottish government and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. He has provided valuable input to the organisation’s financial planning and reporting. In his spare time, he enjoys football and spending time with family.
Paul Perry – Trustee
Dr Paul Perry joined the Positive Help Board in April 2015. He is an enthusiastic and highly motivated general practitioner with 5 years of hospital clinical experience, and 6 years of general practice experience. Alongside his clinical commitments, he teaches postgraduate students at the University of Dundee. This clinical experience and previous management and leadership experience are now supported and enhanced with an MBA degree, enabling the pursuit and synergistic application of business knowledge to deliver and build on on-going leadership and management roles within the healthcare environment. Through this, he undertakes healthcare consultancy work in both the public and private healthcare sectors. Through all of these roles, he hopes to bring a wealth of experience to help to continue to develop Positive Help Charity in order to meet the needs of its service users.
Jan Mullen – Trustee
Jan became a Trustee of Positive Help in November 2013. She is a Chartered MCIPD HR consultant with 30 years experience in a variety of roles, including recruitment, employee relations, leadership and development, remuneration and change management. She brings knowledge of employment law and an empathetic approach to working with the team. Over and above supporting charities she enjoys walking, badminton, art and planning her next exotic holiday!