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What is Independent Advocacy

CAPS Staff

Here you can find out all about the staff team at CAPS. People with diverse and wide-ranging experience make up the CAPS team. We share a commitment to making sure that the voices of people we work with are heard.

Collective advocacy workers

Ele Davidson

I am the Midlothian and East Lothian Collective Advocacy Worker for CAPS. I started working here in October 2014. My role is to support groups of people who access Mental Health services Lothian, to highlight issues that are important to people and help them to have their voices heard where decisions are being made in order to bring about positive change. I also work with a group of people with experience of trauma who are interested in influencing the set up of Lothian’s new trauma centre – Rivers Centre. When I’m not at work I love to spend time with my husband and son, usually doing something outrageous…potentially dangerous but always hugely fun! I love singing and dancing and kick box fitness!

Email address:

Mobile number: 07948 740 158

Victoria Jackson

A woman, Victoria, smiling and holding a dog

I started working for CAPS in April 2016 as Volunteer Co-ordinator, however my role has recently changed to Collective Advocacy Manager. I support the CAPS team of Collective Advocacy Workers and volunteers to contribute to CAPS/LEARN work and help to deliver CAPS collective advocacy projects. I work alongside the team to help the service run smoothly. Before I started working for CAPS I worked in Health and Social Care for many years. When I’m not at work I can be found walking and showing my Boston Terriers or at dance classes.

Anne O’Donnell

I am the LEARN Co-ordinator. My role is to co-ordinate workshops and courses by people involved in our different collective advocacy groups. 

My first contact with CAPS was back in 1994 when I started going to a collective advocacy group. I got involved in different ways with independent advocacy and then studied Community Education in 2006. My lived experience of mental distress, my training as a community educator and my commitment to collective advocacy come together in my role with LEARN. 

Away from work, I am doing a part-time PhD (about collective advocacy!). I swim in the sea in all weathers, and I read a lot, especially science fiction.

Email address:

Mobile number: 07469 660 999

Pam van de Brug

I have previously been involved with CAPS as a volunteer and public artist, since 2017 I have been employed as Arts As Advocacy Development Worker. I work with the Planning Group to organise Out of Sight Out of Mind exhibition and support the participation of individuals in the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. I believe that the arts are a powerful tool for advocacy, as well as to provoke thought and discussion on important issues. As well as the arts, other passions of mine are outdoors pursuits and learning to sew.

Email address:

Mobile number: 07989 402 634

Mohasin Ahmed

I have been involved with CAPS since 2018 when I became a volunteer for the Seen But Not Heard project. I am now a Collective Advocacy Worker, working to facilitate two groups for people with lived experience of mental health issues from ethnic minority backgrounds and for people who identify as LGBTQI+. These groups aim to amplify the voices of these communities and support them to learn their rights and create positive changes to mental health service access across Edinburgh.

Outside of work you can find me spending time with friends, cooking vegan treats or reading.

Email address:

Mobile number: 07971 951 520

Lindsay Horton 

I joined CAPS in February 2021 as the Oor Mad History Collective Advocacy Worker. Before coming to CAPS, I worked as an occupational therapist in the NHS. I also worked in social care and research for several years and completed my PhD in 2019. When I first started with CAPS, I was struck by its welcoming culture. It is refreshing to be part of an organisation that really values people and views lived experience of mental health issues as an asset. When I am not working, I enjoy being outdoors, listening to music, and hanging out with my cats.

Email address:

Mobile number: 07910 983 030

Madhu Venugopal

A woman, Madhu, smiling

I started working with CAPS in September 2021 as Peer Volunteer Development Worker. My role at CAPS is to encourage new people to get involved with CAPS and to support volunteers to use lived experience of mental health issues and develop their skills in their work with CAPS. I also facilitate the Peer Forum, which brings together people working and volunteering in a peer way in Edinburgh, to talk about what is important to them and raise awareness of issues affecting peer work. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, listening to music and trying new things (improv theatre has been my latest venture!)

Email address:

Mobile number: 07929 751 911

Iona MacTaggart

A woman, Iona, collective advocacy worker, smiling

I started work for CAPS in August 2021 as a Collective Advocacy Worker for the Seen But Not Heard project. The group is for anyone with lived experience of an eating disorder. My role is to facilitate the group, assisting them to take forward their priorities and ensuring their ideas and hopes are expressed. The group has previously been involved with a range of activities including the creation of two films, GP information booklets, several conferences and training in universities and schools. When I’m not at work I’m usually out with my friends or spending time with my nephew.

Email address:

Mobile number: 07971 951 519

Individual advocacy workers

Individual Advocacy Manager

I am the Individual Advocacy Manager at CAPS. I joined CAPS in June 2014 as an Individual Advocacy Worker and soon started to focus on providing advocacy to people around benefits issues, particularly around the introduction of Universal Credit in East Lothian in 2016. I moved into my current role managing the Individual Advocacy service in 2019. Outside of work I enjoy running (very slowly!) and am also learning piano.

Clive Baker

I joined CAPS in 2003 as a volunteer and since 2007 I have been an Individual Advocacy Worker. My main responsibility is to provide advocacy support to East Lothian and Midlothian people who are affected by the Mental Health Act and so I spend much of my working time at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, though I also support people in the community.

Kousar Javaid

I started with CAPS in June 2014 as an Individual Advocacy Worker. My role is to provide independent advocacy to ensure the person’s voice and their views are heard when dealing with difficult issues relating to their health, benefits, housing etc.. I have previously worked in Family Learning, Youth Work and Domestic Abuse settings. I am currently involved in various community projects; enjoy spending time with my family and going for long walks.

Kirstie Cowley

I started working at CAPS as an Individual Advocacy Worker in June 2019. Prior to my employment at CAPS, I had several years of experience working in different supporting roles with people experiencing mental health issues. What particularly drew me to Independent Advocacy was being able to support people in a way that promotes their right to have their say, express their own views and desires and be fully involved in the decisions which affect their lives. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and you will usually find me exploring around East Lothian.

George Kappler 

I trained as a social worker receiving my MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. I moved to Scotland in 1981 and worked initially with the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, as it was known then, as their first employed officer in Scotland. Following this my first local authority job was with Central Region as team leader to a large social work team in Bellsdyke Hospital, Larbert. Following this I worked in Lothian Region as an assistant co-ordinator of the region’s Emergency Duty Team. I left this to take up a post with Fife Council as manager of mental health, drug and alcohol services, supervising three teams of social workers.

In the mid- 90s I moved to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, first as a social work officer, then Social Work Commissioner and finally Deputy Chief Executive. I retired from there in 2015. I love working with CAPS and returning to my roots of working with individuals with mental health problems as they try to navigate their way through the various confusing bureaucracies that stand between them and their well being.

Donald Preston

I joined CAPS as an Individual Advocacy Worker in January 2020.

This is a fresh challenge for myself having worked for many years within voluntary organisations, local authorities and in regulation. My experience covers support to people with varying needs (physical disabilities; learning disabilities; older people; mental health; & acquired brain injuries) and in many different settings (support services; care homes; & care at home / housing support).

I have been fortunate to have been involved in and managing many exciting developments in services over my career in social care. Advocacy was a new approach for myself away from directly supporting people to assisting them to have a voice in a different setting.Away from work I like to go for walks (with my dog), enjoy gardening, supporting football and regularly socialising with family and friends.

Drug or Alcohol Individual Advocacy Workers

John Player

A man, John, individual advocacy worker, smiling

I joined CAPS as an Individual Advocacy Worker (drug and alcohol) on 2nd November 2020. I am excited about the non-judgemental approach at CAPS and its stress upon non-stigmatising language. I am keen to adopt a practice which is not about giving people advice but about supporting them making informed choices and then either advocating on their own behalf or asking for me to advocate on their behalf. I like the idea of people having somebody who is on their side and in this instance me on behalf of CAPS. I have been an adult educator, community development worker, youth worker and support worker for 39 years and now looking forward to developing new skills as an Independent Advocate. For fun I like running, cycling, playing guitar and singing loudly!

Niamh Allen

A woman, Niamh, individual advocacy worker, riding a horse

I started with CAPS as a Collective Advocacy Worker on the Seen But Not Heard eating disorder project. I moved over to the Individual Advocacy Team (Drug and Alcohol) in July 2021. I am very passionate about working alongside people to enable them to have their views heard in relation to decisions about their life. I really enjoy working at CAPS and am excited about undertaking this new role. Outside of work I like spending time outdoors, usually walking, cycling and horse riding. I’m originally from Ireland so I often travel back there to visit my family too.

Children and Young People’s Individual Advocacy Workers

Rosie Eatwell-White

I started working at CAPS in June 2020 as the Children & Young People’s Individual Advocacy Worker for Midlothian in the new Children and Young People’s Team. We help children and young people experiencing the Children’s Hearings System to express how they feel and what they want. My background is as an Advocacy Worker for children and young people in London, and I have also worked as a teacher. In my own time, I am happiest when I am making something and drinking tea, or when I am outside, walking up a hill or exploring on my bike.

Lara Wauchope

A woman, Lara, sitting in an open car boot with a dog

I joined CAPS in June 2020 as the Children & Young People’s Individual Advocacy Worker for East Lothian. My role is to help children and young people who are experiencing the Children’s Hearings System say how they feel and what they want, understand what is happening and understand their rights. I have a background in drama and teaching. I enjoy meeting new people, cooking and spending time with my family, friends and dog!

Robyn Smith

Robyn Smith head shot

I joined CAPS in November 2021 as a Children and Young People’s Individual Advocacy Worker. I support children and young people who are experiencing the Children’s Hearing system. Before I joined CAPS, I spent 4 years studying for my Law degree. During my degree, I studied family and child law which educated me on Advocacy work and the Children’s Hearing system. Throughout my life I have helped care for my brother who has learning difficulties, which has given me lots of experience to work with vulnerable people. When I’m not working, you will find me baking, walking outdoors or spending time with my friends and family.

Office staff

Jane Crawford

A woman, Jane, CAPS Independent Advocacy CEO, smiling

Hello, I’m Jane, the Chief Executive at CAPS. I joined CAPS in March 2012, having previously spent many years working with national children’s charities. It’s a fantastic job working at CAPS because the staff and volunteers are so passionate and committed to what they do with us. Out of work, I love being outdoors in the beautiful East Lothian countryside.

Glen Faulkner

Finance & Administration Manager I take care of the day-to-day administration of CAPS. Some key areas of my work include finance, personnel, IT and the development of policy & procedure. I also work with the CEO to support the Management Committee.

Catherine Street

I came to work for CAPS as Communications Manager in April 2021. I am responsible for all communications work including CAPS’ website and social media. I also support the Management Committee. I have previously worked in a number of charitable organisations mainly in social care and international development. Outside of work I enjoy making art, reading, running and swimming outdoors.

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