- Nicola WelshChief ExecutiveNicola WelshChief ExecutiveHaving experienced the loss of my middle son when just 3 weeks old, I understand first hand the heartbreak and devastation felt when a much loved and wanted baby dies. I wasn't made aware of SANDS Lothians when Theo died and it wasn't until 2009 after the birth of my third son that I got in contact. I wanted to make sure families received the best care and established a working group at St Johns and a trained as a befriender. My involvement grew from there and in December 2014 I left teaching to become the Chief Executive. I am extremely passionate about providing the best bereavement support to families at the worst of times. Everything we do is about providing bespoke support via monthly meetings, counselling and befriending which makes our charity one of a kind. It is person centred and we are guided by the families. I am on various working groups within NHS Lothian and Scottish Government making sure the parents voice is always heard. I feel very privileged to meet with families and hear about their precious and much loved baby and it is an honour to run such a long standing community charity.
- Angie AlexanderChief Operating OfficerAngie AlexanderChief Operating OfficerI joined SANDS Lothians in 2016 as their Fundraising Manager. I have always worked in the charity sector in fundraising, campaigns and programmes and as a mum myself now, I felt a strong connection with the work that SANDS Lothians does. I am a mum to two wonderful boys and although not bereaved myself, I am passionate about raising money to ensure families get the best possible bereavement support. My biggest privilege in my work is getting to meet so many dedicated supporters, who are doing incredible things to raise money and awareness of the work that we do.
- Tracy WattFundraising Manager / BefrienderTracy WattFundraising Manager / BefrienderAfter raising awareness by volunteering and running for SANDS Lothians and meeting so many parents it felt like a natural step. As a long ago bereaved parent I am well aware that parents did not always talk about their baby or it was a taboo subject for a long time. This being my experience for many years, I became aware that when I discovered SANDS for myself, many of those feeling of loss and despair and loneliness had been supressed. When I started to talk about Lewis it was such a pleasure to keep his legacy alive and share him with so many. He is now no longer a dim and distant memory. I want to help parents realise that to talk about their journey as a bereaved parent is completely normal and not something to be ashamed of.
- Nicky ReynoldsPrincipal BefrienderNicky ReynoldsPrincipal Befriender
I lost my first child Ramsay to stillbirth in 2015 due to an undiagnosed condition in the womb. Despite trying to conceive again naturally, and then going through IVF, I was unable to have another biological child. I went on to adopt a little boy in 2018, but I completely understand how heartbreaking it can be to be a bereaved parent with no living children. SANDS Lothians have been a vital support to me throughout my journey. I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am today without this support. I feel it is a natural progression for me to now be helping to provide that support to bereaved families going forward, to not only give something back to a charity extremely close to my heart, but to also help these families find their “new normal” and help carry them forward in their grief journey. Ramsay is always with me in everything I do. His legacy will continue, through me, to help families facing the worst time of their lives. It is an honour and a privilege that I will be able to do so.
- Rachel HylandVolunteer Coordinator and BefrienderRachel HylandVolunteer Coordinator and Befriender
I am a very proud mum of three boys and in 2013 my world fell apart when my second son Albie contracted meningitis at 5 weeks old. He suffered severe brain damage and battled bravely until he died at the age of 5 months old.
Losing a child is something that nobody should have to go through and it can feel like a terrifying and very lonely place. I live with my loss every day and have grown stronger over the past 5 years. I wanted to join the team at Sands Lothians to help and support bereaved parents from a place of empathy and understanding. I trained to become a befriender in 2017 and now work as a Volunteer Co-ordinator and Befriender. I have also started studying Counselling at the University of Edinburgh in 2018.
- Jeni WintonCounsellorJeni WintonCounsellor
Since 1989 I have been part of a team offering support to families in the Lothians who experience the death of a baby. My background is in Nursing but in 2007 I decided to train as a counsellor. I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling at Edinburgh University in 2011 and have been working as a counsellor for SANDS Lothians since then. I am a member of COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) and on the COSCA Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists - Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. I work by their Statement of Ethics, Code of Practice and Complaints Procedure.
Over the years I have witnessed the value of talking about a baby that has died and the strength bereaved parents find to rebuild their lives after this devastating experience. I feel it is a great privilege to hear about their baby, share their experience and be a small part of their journey to find a way forward. As a counsellor I can offer a further layer of support when other issues arise or resurface following the death of a baby and navigating through the grief becomes more difficult.
Counselling may be helpful fairly soon after the death of a baby or at any time thereafter and we aim to offer this support for as long as it is needed. I usually offer an initial meeting to discuss counselling and to help parents decide whether it feels right for them. I see parents individually or as a couple.
To find out more about counselling in Edinburgh please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pamela MallonCounsellorPamela MallonCounsellor
I am a person-centred counsellor for SANDS Lothians. I am also a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). I graduated from Strathclyde University in 2015 with a PGDip in Counselling and I have developed a particular interest in working with trauma since then. The loss of a baby can have a devastating effect on both parents, as well as the wider family. It can be a very lonely and isolating time as you come to terms with your loss and sometimes the grieving process can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to function. Although grief is a natural process that everyone will experience at some time in their lives, the loss of a baby can be sudden and unexpected and very difficult to comprehend and make real. Through the counselling process, I aim to offer a safe and non-judgemental space for you to explore your grief and to process the traumatic loss you have experienced. Providing a safe space to talk about your baby and to feel heard can help you to work through your grief. I feel very privileged to work with so many bereaved parents and family members and to share in the stories of their precious babies. I am also passionate about the work that SANDS Lothians does in providing help and support to families at a time when their world has been shattered beyond recognition, and I feel very fortunate to be part of that.
- Ailsa MeldrumCounsellor and Befriending SupervisorAilsa MeldrumCounsellor and Befriending Supervisor