About us – Forces Children Scotland Team

We have a great team of Volunteers, Trustees and Staff, find out more about our trustees and staff below.

Our Trustees

Malcolm Noble


Malcolm is a retired Headmaster and has been involved with RCET since November 2011. He Chairs the Service Children Support Group (SCSG) on behalf of RCET and is the author of the Trust’s history book. Raised in Scotland, Malcolm now lives in Essex where he chairs several other community organisations.

Colin Cook

Vice Chair

Colin is the Director of Digital for the Scottish Government. Colin has previously worked for the British Army Recruitment as their Marketing Director. Colin is passionate about Armed Forces young people and supports our digital wellbeing project Your Mind Matters.

Gary Gray


Gary is the former Deputy Chief Executive at Erskine and is currently at Poppyscotland. Before entering the voluntary sector, Gary had a varied career in the Royal Air Force and served for nearly 24 years. He has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2014.

Isla Campbell Lupton


Isla is Head of Fundraising & Communications at Music in Hospitals & Care. She was previously Deputy Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland where she developed the £2 million learning outreach project #PoppyBud. She has been a committee member of The Institute of Fundraising Scotland since 2008 and currently sits on the Scottish Fundraising Conference committee.

Neil McLennan


Neil is a Senior Lecture and Director of Leadership Programmes at the University of Aberdeen. Previously Neil has been a History Teacher and has worked in Quality Improvement at a national level. He has completed the Senior Leadership Development Programme with our partners (ADES). Neil also sits on the RSA Fellowship Council and is a recipient of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Medal.

Suzanne Wilson


Suzanne is Senior Legal Counsel at Galliford Try and has practised law for over 25 years. Suzanne was previously a Trustee for The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity for 10 years and she is a Children’s Panel Member. Suzanne also sits on Heriot Watt University’s Audit & Risk Committee.

Christopher Middleton


Chris is a Management Consultant and a veteran.  A former Royal Marines officer, he spend 23 years serving all over the world before settling in Aberdeen with his young family. A trained primary school teacher, he also volunteers as an MCR pathways mentor.

Kathryn Lindsay


Kathryn has had a 25-year career in social work and social care and is the Director of Children, Families and Justice/ Chief Social Work Officer at Angus Council. She is also the past Convener of Social Work Scotland. Kathryn is proud to have current family connections to the Armed Forces.

Laura Hadley


Laura is first and foremost a Mum to three “fantastic girls”. She has been a Social Worker for 20 years having qualified from The University of Strathclyde.  Her focus throughout her career has been on the care and protection of Children and Young People in every aspect of their lives. Laura also enjoyed several years as a Combat Medical Technician with 205 field Hospital.

Carla Grant


Carla has been involved with RCET in various capacities since 2011, firstly as a beneficiary before becoming a regular volunteer throughout her time at university. Having achieved a BA (Hons) Community Education in 2017, Carla is now a Youth Development worker for Dumfries and Galloway Youth Services.

Catriona Sutherland-Hawes


A native of Linlithgow, Catriona is Director of Admissions at Wycombe Abbey School.  She was previously Director of Admissions at Latymer Upper School, where she developed and ran a very successful bursary programme.  She has been an Elder of St Columba’s Church of Scotland in London since 1997 and is a Governor of two local schools.

Our Team

Laura Falconer

Chief Executive Officer

Laura brings with her more than thirty years of experience in supporting children and young people, as well as developing and managing children’s services. Laura has joined RCET from Barnardos, where she served as Assistant Director of Impact for Mental Health and Wellbeing in which she delivered the charity’s nationwide strategic vision through the formulation and implementation of cross-organisational programmes and partnerships to achieve transformational change for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Phone: 0131 322 7350

Email Laura

Karen Smith

Office Manager and Temporary Children and Family Support Co-ordinator

Karen has worked in the charitable sector for over 12 years including with Macmillan Cancer Support and MS Society. Karen is passionate about supporting Armed Forces young people and is soon to be a military mum herself as her son starts his basic training in the Royal Engineers.

Phone: 0131 322 7350

Email Karen

Nina Collins

Youth Participation Manager

Nina previously worked with Fife Young Carers for the last 10 years initially as their Development Worker and subsequently as their Manager. Nina has a SVQ in Community Development Work and a Diploma in Leadership and Management. She is passionate about empowering children and young people to shape services to meet their needs.

Phone: +44 (0)131 322 7350

Email Nina

Chris Paul

Children & Family Services Manager

Chris has been supporting young people and families since 2009 . He is the Founder of a mental health and suicide prevention charity that supports young people and adults in the West of Scotland and is a Suicide First Aider and safeTALK trainer. Chris is passionate about providing young people with safe spaces to be heard and removing the stigma attached to mental health for all.

Phone: 0777 5308 614

Email Chris

Sarah Rogers

Policy and Research Officer

Sarah studied at the University of Edinburgh where she obtained an Honours Degree in Law and an MSc, and PHD in Social Policy. Her PHD explored child wellbeing in non-resident father households. Previously Sarah has worked with Enquire, the additional support for learning advice service at Children in Scotland. Sarah is passionate about children’s rights and supporting all young people to reach their potential.

Phone: +44 (0)131 322 7350

Email Sarah

Gary Seath FRSA

Fundraising & Communications Manager

Gary brings a wealth of fundraising, marketing and communications experience to RCET, having previously worked at Sight Scotland Veterans, Edinburgh Napier University and Fife College. He has extensive knowledge of the veterans’ sector and is an active Reservist within 105 Regiment RA. Gary has also gained considerable experience in the development and delivery of academic aspiration and musical education programmes for young people and conducted research with regard to emotional intelligence development in children, through the medium of music.

Phone: 0131 322 7350

Email Gary

Francesca Penny

Fundraising & Communications Assistant

Francesca has worked with young people since 2017 firstly as a Language Teacher in Japan and then as a SkillForce Instructor in Scottish Schools. This sparked her interest in the wellbeing and rights of young people. In her spare time, Francesca volunteers with the Citadel Youth Centre Inters Club.

Phone: 0131 322 7350

Email Francesca

Carolyn MacLeod

National Transitions Officer (Seconded to ADES)

Carolyn is seconded to the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland and her role ensures best practice at a national level in supporting Armed Forces children in education. Carolyn was previously a teacher for over 35 years in Canada, America, England and Scotland.

Phone: +44 (0)131 322 7350

Email Carolyn

Cara Pleym

Digital Participation Worker for the Your Minds Matter Project

Cara has almost a decade of digital experience, specialising in crowdfunding and social media. Working as a tutor ignited a passion for young people and her focus on small business has inspired keen interests in authentic engagement, communication, and creativity. Cara is also an MCR Pathways mentor and Inclusive Economy Taskforce Volunteer.

Phone: 0131 322 7350

Email Cara