Karina Ross, Social Programme Manager
Karina is local to Helmsdale and was brought up in the village, only leaving at the age of 17 to be able to study BA (Hons) Business Studies at University in Aberdeen. Having lived and worked in Inverness for the past 10 years, Karina decided to return to East Sutherland in the summer of 2016 to raise her young family in the area and is delighted to be working back in her ‘hometown’. Karina started working with DFC in October 2016 as Social Programme Manager and is also the Project Lead for Dinner To Your Door and the Helmsdale Men’s Shed.
Sarah Kerr, Communications Manager
Sarah is originally from the Isle of Wight and has a HND in Video Production and BA(Hons) in Media Writing. She began working for the dementia cause in 2008 when she joined Alzheimer’s Disease International in London. After some chance meetings with Ann Pascoe and a move to the Highlands in 2013, she became a part of the DFC team. Sarah lives with her husband and young son in Melvich on the north coast, and enjoys visiting lighthouses and taking boat trips to islands across the UK.
Mary-Anne Ross, Finance Manager
Mary-Anne joined DFC as Office Manager in 2015. She also works at Helmsdale Primary School and as a mobile hairdresser. She grew up in Edinburgh, but moved north with her family when she was young. Mary-Anne now lives in Helmsdale and has two children – who happen to share the same birthday.
Anne Rutt, Office Administrator
Project support staff
Wendy Simmonds, Support Worker and Project Lead = Helmsdale Hub
Wendy is originally from Nairn and was a retail manageress before moving to Brora. She has an SVQ3 in Health and Social Care and has previously volunteered as an adult literacy tutor and for HUGS Action for Mental Health. Wendy has also enjoyed tutoring creative writing classes at community learning centres. As well as her role at DFC, Wendy also works at the Sutherland Arms Garage in Brora. Wendy lives with her husband Stuart and their two dogs, Max and Holly. In her spare time she enjoys Tai Chi, dog walking, writing and singing.
Kathryn Cooper, Support Worker
Kathryn joined DFC in 2015 following a 25-year career caring for older people and people with disabilities. Kathryn was an occupational therapy assistant before studying for a diploma in social work and then a degree in applied social studies. She has, most recently, been a care manager for adults with learning disabilities as part of a community team. Kathryn is married with two daughters and a Chinese Crested Powder Puff called Bonnie. She enjoys walking and has previously completely the London Marathon – although she was overtaken by a Womble!
Margaret Finlayson, Chef – Dinner To Your Door
Sue Honey, Support Worker
Michelle Johnston, Driver – Dinner To Your Door
Tim Nixon, Support Worker
Tim was born in Carrickfergus. His mother was from Bedfordshire and his father from near Belfast. He was educated in a High School,” it had 3 steps up to it”, his father used to say – he did have a sense of humour. Tim married Liz in 1979 and had 3 sons. They adopted Sarah, who has Down’s Syndrome, in 1988. She now lives with support in the community. Liz had their 4th child, a girl, in 1995 and Tim was fast becoming outnumbered by females as the boys moved out of the nest. Most of Tim’s working life has been in retail sales but, in 2009, he started working in social care and worked on a one to one basis with a young man with special needs. He believes the fact that they had Sarah helped him to become involved in this area of work. He also worked for a number of years with Key Housing in Golspie, but as a relief worker due to his other commitments as a self-employed fishing ghillie. Tim enjoys meeting people and classes himself as a caring compassionate individual. He also enjoys cooking, reading and music. He gets on well with most people except politicians!
Jeannie Sparling, Relief Support Worker
Jeannie has lived all her life in Sutherland. She is interested in the history and heritage of the area, and is very supportive of the encouragement of the Gaelic language and culture. Jeannie has used the training and experience of her career in customer services as the basis for working in social care. She really enjoys listening to older people, hearing of the richness of their lives, and encouraging them to take part. Jeannie volunteers in many community activities and she takes great pleasure in linking older people into these, ensuring that they continue to do the things they’ve enjoyed in the past, and perhaps become involved in something new. Building on her mother’s cooking, Jeannie is an enthusiastic cook and baker, both at home and when she can fit it in, at a nearby shooting lodge. She loves the reaction of guests to good home cooking.