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Our board

We have a diverse and committed Board of Directors who guide and support the work we do.

The Board is responsible for our overall governance and strategic direction and accepts ultimate responsibility for the sound professional, legal and financial management of Children in Scotland as a charity. They also agree our vision and values, set overall strategy and policies for all key activities, oversee implementation and monitor our progress to plans.

As well as sitting on the Board, Directors may also undertake other roles within the organisation such as being part of working groups or committees involved in the planning or delivery of our work.

Children in Scotland and our Board of Directors function within the legal requirements set out by the Office of the Scottish Regulator (click here to visit the OSCR website).

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Meritxell Bulbena Vela


Meritxell is the Finance Manager of the Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian, an emblematic luxury hotel in the centre of Edinburgh, built in1903.  She is part of the executive team and responsible for driving business and creating unique experiences.

She started working for the Hilton company in Barcelona in 2017. She then worked in Venice and Dubai and in September 2020, she relocated to Edinburgh. 

Meritxell has degree qualifications in Finance and college diplomas in Music. She spent her university years teaching music to children. In 2012, she volunteered to teach music and English to children in schools and orphanages in Sri Lanka.  

She did her Masters in Business Administration and Finance at Heriot-Watt University. She also qualified with a diploma in Negotiation from Harvard University in Boston in 2016. In 2021 she graduated from CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. 

She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and her two lovely cats. During her free time, she goes rock climbing, sings in a choir and takes acting classes. 

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Rohan Gunatillake


Rohan Gunatillake joined the Children in Scotland Board in August 2020.

He is head of product at a team within NHS Scotland building national health and care data infrastructure.

Rohan has more than fifteen years’ experience in a range of technology and innovation roles in public, private and non-profit sectors.

Previous roles include innovation lead for the Edinburgh Festivals, social innovation for Nesta and public sector business change for Accenture.

Rohan has a deep expertise in the intersection of wellbeing, technology and design and is well known as the creator of buddhify, the best-selling mindfulness app and host of the popular podcast Meditative Story.

Rohan lives in Glasgow with his young family. When not parenting, cooking and getting behind on emails, Rohan enjoys videogames, running and exploring Scotland in the family campervan.

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Rachael Hatfield


Rachael is currently a Volunteer Coordinator at New Start Highland. Her recent work includes leading on the ‘SQA Where’s Our Say’ campaign. She has been an #Iwill Ambassador since 2018. 

She is in her first year studying Community Development at the University of Glasgow and has experience in helping shape innovative projects for young people including the Highland Youth Work strategy. 

She is a former Vice Chair of the Highland Youth Parliament and a former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, representing Inverness and Nairn. 

She has written for the Council of Europe Youth Knowledge series and when not working or studying, plays amateur women’s football.

Rachael was born and raised in the Highlands and has experienced the education system as a young person with additional support needs.  

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Jane-Claire Judson


Jane-Claire is the Chief Executive of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland [CHSS].  

CHSS supports people and their families across Scotland with chest, heart and stroke conditions – and more recently people with Long Covid – delivering the charity’s mission of No Life Half Lived.  

Jane-Claire has more than 20 years’ experience in the voluntary and public sectors across further and higher education, health, human rights and governance. She has held roles with Diabetes UK, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, the Scottish Funding Councils and NUS Scotland.

Jane-Claire is currently a Board member at Public Health Scotland and a Commissioner at the Scottish Human Rights Commission. She is experienced in tackling inequality and lack of access to rights and passionate about addressing Scotland’s health challenges so that current and future generations can live well.  

Jane-Claire holds an MA Hons, an MBA and is a Health Foundation Fellow. She was recently appointed an Honorary Member of the British and Irish Association of Stroke Physicians in recognition of her contribution and the impact she’s had as an advocate for the stroke community in the UK and beyond. 

Jane-Claire lives in Stirling with her husband and young daughter. 

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Gary Leadbetter


Gary is currently a Democratic Services Officer at Midlothian Council, supporting the democratic and decision-making processes of the Council. He also sits as a Trustee on the Board of Edinburgh Food Project, which operates several food banks and offers free benefits and debt advice around Edinburgh.

He has ten years' experience both working and volunteering within the charity sector in a range of advisory and project management roles.

Previous roles and accomplishments include launching and leading a University Student Action for Refugees Society whilst studying LLB Scots Law, advising on debt, welfare, housing and other social issues and leading Scotland-wide welfare reform mitigation projects whilst also supporting Scotland-wide debt support projects.

He is also currently studying for an MPP Public Policy degree, aiming to follow a career in public policy.

Gary was born and raised in Midlothian and has now settled in Edinburgh after living in various cities around Scotland. When he’s not working or studying, he likes to socialise with friends, go on holiday and wild camping and has recently taken up bouldering and yoga.

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Donna Martin


Donna has skills, experience and knowledge with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the embedding of a children’s rights-based approach. She has developed her skills and understanding through her work with many organisations including Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland and Who Cares? Scotland.

She has applied her passion and knowledge in roles with the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Women’s Football, Children’s Hearings Scotland and through her own business Child Friendly Culture where she has worked to support lasting change in environments to help ensure that children and young people are able to claim their rights. She also has experience of leading Scottish Government’s GIRFEC team and is now the operations lead with CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection).

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Satwat Rehman


Satwat is the Chief Executive of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS).

OPFS is the leading charity working with single parent families in Scotland providing expert advice, practical support and campaigning with parents to make their voices heard to change the systems, policies and attitudes that disadvantage single parent families.

Satwat has more than 30 years’ experience in the voluntary and public sector in Scotland and England, working in the fields of equalities, education, employability, economic development/regeneration and early years and childcare.

Since joining OPFS in 2011, she has been a member of several commissions and advisory groups including the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls and the Scottish Government's Social Renewal Advisory Board. She is on the boards of Child Poverty Action Group (UK)  and Families Outside.

Satwat lives in Edinburgh with her partner and two children.

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Peter Rigg


Peter is actively involved in youth participation in his capacity as a member of the Bank of England’s Youth Forum, where he volunteers to contribute a youth perspective to inform the Bank’s policymaking processes and youth outreach. 

Peter has engaged in youth participation initiatives since being elected a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) in 2017. Through SYP, he has developed skills in meaningfully representing a youth voice to decision-makers, and as Convener of its Justice Committee has advocated young people’s interests on issues such as UNCRC incorporation, age of criminal responsibility and biometric data.  

Internationally, Peter has experience of youth representation as a reserve member of the Council of Europe’s 2020-2021 Advisory Council on Youth and as a human rights fellow for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s 2021 Perspectives 20-30 Online Academy.   

Peter is studying for an MA (Hons) degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. He is passionate about influencing decision-makers to recognise young people as stakeholders, not spectators. 

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Clare Steel


In May 2022, Councillor Clare Steel was elected Councillor in the Clydebank Central Ward of West Dunbartonshire Council.

She is a mum and unpaid carer to her teenage twin daughters, Holly and Katie. Katie has complex medical health needs and requires round the clock care.

Councillor Steel is an active Campaigner for Disabled children and for Unpaid Carers. She is currently the chair of Carers of West Dunbartonshire Carers Centre. Councillor Steel's passion is helping people in the community, giving a voice to people who maybe can't use their own, and being an advocate for people who need that support.

She is a member of the COSLA Children and Young People Board and is Convener of Education Services in her own Council.

She is also a volunteer panel member with Children’s Hearing Scotland

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Steven Sweeney


Steven is the Chief Executive of Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire, the Third Sector Interface for South Lanarkshire.

Steven is also a board member at sportscotland, the national agency for sport. He previously led Aberdeen FC and its partner charity to be named by UEFA as the Best Professional Club in the Community in Europe, largely due to a strong emphasis on children’s participation in physical activity and sport, their education, and contributing to the wider community.  

His background is in teaching and coaching, with a particular interest in soft skills, personality and character development. 

Steven has a BSc in Sports Studies and a PGDE in Education.

Steven recently relocated from Aberdeen back to Paisley to be closer to a wider family support network. He lives with his wife Cheryl and their two girls.