I worked as a scientist for most of my life, firstly for Mars (the company, not the planet) and then for the Scottish Government. I loved my work, which was mainly to do with plant and seed health, however I came to realise that I was really more interested in people than plants. So I trained as a counsellor and took early retirement in 2017 to devote myself to that. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I completed my Counselling Diploma at the University of Edinburgh and aside from my work at Dr Bell’s, I work part-time for an organisation that supports people with disabilities and have a private counselling practice – Summerside Counselling (www.summersidecounselling.com). I am also still a part-time student, studying for the Professional Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh. My research is on childhood experiences of disability and how they appear in adulthood.
What do you like about volunteering in the Leith community? – “I’ve lived in Leith for 30 years now and my children were born and grew up here. There’s a real sense of community and I’m glad to be a part of it. Dr Bell’s is a great example of what makes Leith unique.“
What made you want to volunteer at Dr Bell’s? – “I first came to Dr Bell’s as a placement student and have stayed on as a volunteer counsellor. I could say that the reason I stayed on was because it’s a wonderful community to be part of and that it’s a privilege to be able to work with the clients here. And those things are true. But the real reason I stayed on is that on my first day here, Narinder was doing a cooking class and she asked me if I would like to try some of the food. My stomach was aching with the delicious smells but I replied, in the way that you do, “Oh well maybe a wee bit if that’s ok”. Next thing I knew, I was presented with a brimming plate of wonderful food and Narinder saying “We don’t do ‘wee bits’ here.” I fell in love with Dr Bells right there and then.“
An interesting fact/quote:
“I’ve met a man who walked on the moon (Alan Bean) So if you’ve met me, you have only 2 degrees of separation from an Apollo moonwalker.”