Building Brighter Futures

S.M.I.L.E Counselling first became constituted on 15th June 2015. Since then the Board of Trustees have worked tirelessly to get the organisation to where it is today. Now we are an official Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation and have begun delivering counselling sessions to local young people. We aim to be able to deliver a bespoke outreach counselling service to young people when they need it most. Our primary goal is to help young people get to a good place in their lives where they feel Supported, Motivated, Inspired, Leading to self-determination and Empowered to make their own positive choices.

A MESSAGE FROM DECLAN

Hi there, my name is Declan and I am the Founder of S.M.I.L.E Counselling.

In my previous roles I worked with children and young people in West Lothian and the more time I spent in my role the more I noticed that many were unable to access the counselling help they needed as well as waiting times being far too long for the services that were available. I realised that our children and young people desperately needed more support so this led to S.M.I.L.E being born in 2015 to offer a free counselling service to 11-24 year olds.

I am delighted to say that we celebrated our 5 year anniversary in June 2020 and in this time have helped over 350 individuals and 1500 young people in a group setting. That’s over 3000 counselling hours in total!

I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all our funders, clients, staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen… together we really are making a difference.

Going forward we hope to continue offering our free service to as many young people as possible and it is even more crucial today due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

We have made changes in order to reach more young people every way we can and the key change we are making is to become more interactive online so that there is current and useful information available 24/7.

We have already adapted our approach to deliver online, telephone and email counselling. During lockdown this has worked really well for our clients and counsellors and truly helped us all overcome the adversity of the pandemic.

As I said before … we will reach you and help you any way we can… and together we will overcome the challenges we face.

As always … thank you for all your continued support and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Take care and keep smiling 🙂

Declan Harrigan
Founder / Managing Director

Meet The Team

dec

Declan began his career in corporate sales while studying Social Policy and Sociology at Magee, University of Ulster. After University and spending an additional 4 years training as a therapist he now has experience in supporting and counselling young people for over 10 years both in the North of Ireland and since 2012 in West Lothian, Scotland.

His experience in counselling began in the North of Ireland where he worked specifically with those people affected by self-harm or suicidal thoughts / ideation. However, in addition to this work he has also worked with issues such as bullying, sexual orientation, depression, anxiety, bereavement, relationship issues, abuse or post Northern Ireland conflict prisoners affected by PTSD to name but a few.

Declan worked extensively on anti-sectarianism projects with the young people involved using various counselling approaches in groups to help change their negative thinking about each other and encourage them to look at the similarities instead of the very minimal differences.

He then moved to Scotland in 2012 where he took up the position as a project co-ordinator working with similar groups and co-ordinating a youth unemployment strategy while supporting these young people to address their barriers and re-engaging positively into their community again.

Declan is married has a young son.  He says that “my wife and son are the driving force behind the work that I do. I love my job and being a part of the S.M.I.L.E Team is more than just a job, it’s like a family. We are all passionate about delivering the best service we can for the children and young people of West Lothian and hope to be an integral part of the community work for many years to come”.

jenni

Jenni has worked with children and young people since leaving school. Starting out as a nanny and volunteering for local youth projects in Edinburgh, Jenni moved into childminding after having her own 3 children and loved the unique bond this created with families, which led her into studying child development. Once her own children were grown, Jenni moved into working with children in the care system.

Jenni completed her  PG Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy in Edinburgh in 2019 and currently works as both an Administrative Assistant and Counsellor with us.  Jenni volunteers with her own charity, Anam Cara Fasgadh and the charity Pregnancy Counselling and Care.

margaret

Margaret is graduated with a PGDip in Psychological Wellbeing, Counselling and Psychotherapy and is a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Margaret works within the Person Centred framework providing clients the opportunity to explore and understand their own unique personal experience.

She works with a variety of clients who have experienced issues such as anxiety, stress, illness-related change of life experiences, cancer, bereavement, domestic violence, rape and depression.

Margaret’s family includes her partner of 20 years, their 12 year old daughter and two energetic dogs. Relaxation is found through hillwalking, photography and canicross.

fiona

Fiona believes passionately that every human being should have the opportunity to maximise their potential.

During her career, Fiona has supported some of the most vulnerable people in our society, run a successful social enterprise, and provides business development advice and support to other social enterprises.

Fiona recently retired from full-time working and has joined S.M.I.L.E. as our Administration, Assistant.

Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge about the charitable and social enterprise sectors she hopes to be an asset to S.M.I.L.E Counselling and looks forward to contributing towards a positive impact on the lives of young people.

fiona2

Fiona volunteers with S.M.I.L.E. and is passionate about helping young people. She also volunteers with Neil’s Hugs, supporting families and friends who have been affected by suicide.

Fiona is studying for the PG Diploma in CBT and Groupwork with ACT Counselling in Glasgow. She achieved the COSCA Certificate in Counselling at West Lothian College in 2019.

Fiona’s background is in marketing and communications and she works as a Marketing Project Manager for Scottish Enterprise.

She is married to Paul, with two boys and a loveable flat coat retriever.

lisa

Lisa is currently studying at Diploma level in Counselling and Psychotherapy in Edinburgh, and is training in the person-centred approach. She believes that giving people the opportunity to work through their problems in a place where they are truly listened to and accepted for who they are can be life changing.

Lisa lives with her partner of 20 years and their 2 children. Their daughter is 11 and their son is 7. Before retraining, Lisa worked in design and technical roles in the clothing industry. Since having children, she has been juggling looking after them with volunteering and fundraising for their school, and working freelance in clothing design.

She sees it as a privilege to have the opportunity to work with people to help them through any struggles they have.

mairi

Mairi is enrolled in a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, currently training in person-centred therapy.

Margaret works within the Person Centred framework providing clients the opportunity to explore and understand their own unique personal experience.She values the unique experience of each individual, bringing warmth and empathy to her work.

Before beginning her doctorate and joining S.M.I.L.E Mairi worked in adult mental health in the NHS for nearly 13 years. Her career in Psychology has taken her across Scotland, from Aberdeen to the Lothians, and Glasgow.

Mairi shares her home-life with her husband, children, and their dog.

louise

Louise is qualified in a Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling. She is also a practicing hypnotherapist.

Louise is committed to helping clients reduce confusion and gain a different perspective on how to cope with life’s challenges, which in turn will allow them to make positive changes when, where and how they choose to make them.

Prior to retraining, she spent over 20 years working in Human Resources, latterly focusing on Executive Coaching, Learning & Development and Functional Leadership.

She is married with two children.

annmarie

I am currently studying my Diploma in CBT and Groupwork at ACT Counselling in Glasgow, I have previously completed the COSCA Certificate in counselling skills at Edinburgh college.

I live at home with my husband Kevin and our two Jack Russel terriers Meg and Eddie, who can be a bit of a handful.
I have three children, and three grandchildren that keep me on my toes, I love having them to sleep over at the weekend.

I have worked for 25 years with children and young people in various settings including primary schools supporting children with additional needs and managing a nursery in Edinburgh.

I now work as an assessor for Azilo training where I work with modern apprentices to train them in their SVQ qualification in childcare in both level 3 and 4.

After volunteering for PANDAS Foundation and Childline and I am now taking the next step in my career as a CBT Counsellor. I am so happy to be able to support young people through times they find difficult.

lizzie

Lizzie is nearing the end of a qualification in PGDip in Psychological Wellbeing, Counselling and Psychotherapy within the Person-Centred context for counselling. During her studies Lizzie has been working with young people to help them gain a deeper personal understanding of themselves, covering many areas, from suicidal ideation, self-harm, self-doubt, anxiety, depression and trauma.

Since 2015, Lizzie has volunteered with Parentline and has extensive experience of working with parents and carers over the phone and online to help them better understand themselves and the children in their care. Lizzie now works as Supervisor within Parentline, helping volunteers to respond empathically to the calls, webchats and texts the service receives.

Lizzie completed her Certificate in Counselling skills whilst on Maternity leave to her 2nd child and discovered the power in allowing people to be really heard in the moment by experiencing it herself during this course.
Lizzie’s working life prior to starting her most recent studies have mainly been in Event Management, Marketing and sales for UK based charities which has given her excellent experience in being flexible, resourceful and patient.

Lizzie lives with her husband, 2 children, a Jack Russell that thinks he’s a footballer and a cat that loves to chat in the morning even if you are not quite ready to chat to him.

jen

Jennifer graduated in 2010 with 2:1 BA Hons in Marketing from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Since then she has worked with several B2C and B2B companies to transform how they communicate with their customers.
Jennifer is thrilled to help S.M.I.L.E with their online marketing strategy and help the service communicate with users and young people via social media.

Part of this role is also to engage with potential funders and hopefully stimulate donations to keep this vital service running and help as many young people as possible.

When not working, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family made up of her husband, two very active boys and beloved collie cross Tyra.

Martha

Dr Martha Pollard will be delivering our COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills.

Martha has several years experience in emotional and social support, especially for carers and people living with dementia. She delivers dementia awareness and dementia, creativity and interaction training for family carers, volunteers, community groups and staff.  Martha studied psychology and public health, and was a lecturer in health psychology for 8 years before moving into community-based support work in 2012.  Her formal studies in counselling began in 2016 and she loves tutoring as well.  She also has a background in care work and is a dementia researcher. 

Martha enjoys reading and writing poetry and volunteers with her local food bank.  She is a mindfulness practitioner and draws on compassion-focussed therapy approaches in counselling

 

 

Our Funders

Our Board of Trustees

Meet the board responsible for the management of S.M.I.L.E
elizabeth

Liz comes from a background of hairdressing. Liz has worked as a Prison Officer for the last 20 years working with male young adults and then with female young adults and female adults. During this time Liz has helped and supported all prisoners with their confidence, self-esteem, self-harm reduction, addiction reduction and education.

Liz is very passionate about her work and enjoys the results that it achieves. Liz has been married for 37 years, has a grown up family and three young Grand Children.

louise

Louise is qualified in a Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling. She is also a practicing hypnotherapist.

Louise is committed to helping clients reduce confusion and gain a different perspective on how to cope with life’s challenges, which in turn will allow them to make positive changes when, where and how they choose to make them.

Prior to retraining, she spent over 20 years working in Human Resources, latterly focusing on Executive Coaching, Learning & Development and Functional Leadership.

She is married with two children.

Douglas-Benson-Profile-Pic

Douglas has worked in the local authority for the last 14 years across a number of roles and is currently involved in Service Development.  He is passionate about community and customer service. 

Douglas has been integral to a number of different projects; sourcing funding and providing guidance to support community projects and initiatives to reduce inequalities and promote regeneration.

katie

Katie graduated from Stirling University in 2019 with an Honours degree in Psychology.

She has volunteered for different mental health organisations since her third year at university, working with mostly elderly people with a variety of mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety.
Within this she helped others understand their illness and also finding tools to help manage their symptoms to be able to live their life to the fullest.

She recently obtained a new job as a mental health support worker, working with individuals of varying ages and supporting them in their daily lives. She enjoys seeing how the right support can help others progress in their recovery journey.

Katie lives locally within West Lothian, and is passionate about working within her own community and eager to gain more experience working with a younger age group.

Paula-profile

Paula has worked as a Civil Servant for the last 18 years in both operational and policy roles. She brings with her a wealth of HR, management, policy development, project management and stakeholder engagement experience.

As a foster carer she is passionate about children’s rights and has seen first had the benefits that counselling can bring for children who have experienced trauma. She has attended numerous seminars and has been a member of many multi agency reviews.

Paula is also a mentor for the Career Ready Scheme, a scheme for supporting fifth and sixth year students with disadvantage to reach their full potential.

Paula is also a mentor for the Career Ready Scheme, a scheme for supporting fifth and sixth year students with disadvantage to reach their full potential.