Meet the team
Boris Pomroy, Chief Executive
Boris joined Mentor as Chief Executive in June 2018 from Transparency International, where he was Fundraising and Communications Director. Previously, Boris spent four years at the global children’s charity Hope and Homes for Children. During his time there he helped significantly grow income, with a focus on high net-worth individuals and the private sector. He was also key in developing a new global brand, with a particular focus on individual story-telling. Boris was particularly proud of being part of the team that delivered Hope and Home for Children’s award winning campaign End the Silence. The campaign awareness of the plight of children suffering in orphanages around the world and delivered over £5million of income to support the charity’s work.
Before Hope and Homes for Children, Boris held a range of roles including working on the London 2012 Paralympic Games and, for six years, as Head of Events at Comic Relief, where he led on a range of major events, from the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile to David Walliams vs The Thames.
Boris lives in West London with his wife, 3-children and his beloved (and battered) red Vespa. He loves all things food, friends and sport. Email Boris
Heather McVeigh, Scotland Director
Heather has worked in the voluntary sector for 21 years, following a career in law. In 2008, she opened Mentor UK’s Edinburgh office from a standing start. Since then, she has developed Mentor’s special expertise in kinship care, including writing the Scottish national kinship care guide. Over the past ten years, Heather has fostered strong partnerships between Mentor and NGOs, Police Scotland, the Health and Education sectors, as well as local and national government.
Though she is ‘Director’, Heather loves that her role allows her to get her hands dirty on the ground, hearing from families and young people directly. This has always ensured that Mentor’s work is built from grass roots upwards and that young people especially have a voice in what the organisation does. This approach is central to Mentor’s policy and practice.
Heather is especially proud that at Mentor there is a fantastic team who get to make a real difference for young people. Since opening the Edinburgh office, she has seen young men in HMPYOI Polmont begin to believe in themselves and give back to their communities, children in kinship care grow in confidence and develop strong relationships and parents and professionals receive training to better support their families. Email Heather.
Gez Lawson, Development Manager (Scotland)
Gez’s expertise is in peer education and peer-based learning. He joined Mentor UK in July 2010, managing the Peer Education Alcohol Project, which supported young people delivering alcohol education across Scotland. From this he went on to develop a volunteering programme enabling young people from the Lothians to become peer educators, delivering drug and alcohol workshops in communities.
In 2011, Gez began developing the Breaking Out Peer Alcohol Project, which supports young offenders with alcohol issues within HMPYOI Polmont. The Bottle Project, a community-based programme engaging young people at risk of offending in drug and alcohol education and personal development, emerged from this work. Gez is currently developing a holistic life-skills programme that will help young offenders develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to lead healthy lifestyles.
Gez began his career working as a residential social worker, supporting children with learning difficulties and severe behavioural problems. He has worked with homeless teenagers in hostel and tenancy support environments and as Volunteer’s Manager at Fast Forward, developing projects that engage vulnerable and hard to reach young people. Gez is passionate about working with young people because he remembers the people that had a positive impact on his life during a turbulent youth. His goal is to help young people in difficult situations find the support they need. Email Gez.
Jamila Boughelaf, Head of Programmes
Jamila is Head of Programmes at Mentor. She joined Mentor in 2013, managing the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS) and in 2015 taking on the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions as well. Jamila also represented Mentor at the 2015 UNESCO, UNODC, WHO joint international expert meeting on substance use among children and young people. Since August 2015 Jamila has been a member of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) and the Alliance for Useful Evidence.
Jamila’s background is managing national and international projects, and major events aimed at fundraising, awareness raising or campaigning. Passionate about achieving positive social change in society, she has been involved in a wide range of youth engagement, active citizenship and human rights projects across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Jamila also spent time as a Research Assistant for Dr Maha Azzam at the Chatham House and Dr Sara Silvestri at City University. Jamila holds a BA in International Communication from the University of Milan, and a Masters in Social Sciences from City University London. Email Jamila.
Programmes team (London)
Richard Lynas, Research Officer
Richard is Mentor’s Research and Project Officer focusing on ADEPIS and CAYT. He has worked in the third sector for 25 years and for six years in substance misuse and prevention. Following a degree in Applied Psychology, Richard moved to Romania where he worked with a national substance abuse charity. He has been trained in addiction care by the De Hoop Foundation and in the therapeutic community approach by Portage Canada.
Richard has a background in international development and global health and has worked internationally in numerous programmes, research and monitoring and evaluation roles with FRODO, Merlin, Save the Children and the Prince’s Trust. Prior to joining Mentor in 2016 Richard was a research and teaching assistant at the University of Ulster, and worked as a programme manager at Media Trust. In his spare time Richard is completing a PhD in positive youth psychology and working with another charity aiming to bring an end to child institutions in Sri Lanka. In 2012 Richard was selected to carry the Olympic torch in recognition of his work in this area. Email Richard.
Sue Tilley, Financial Officer
Sue joined Mentor in 2009 as a finance consultant. Following a career in accounting, Sue has been working in the charity sector since 1991, when she realised that her voluntary work was more fulfilling than her daytime job. She has been a Board member of various charities, both UK and International, and has been a speaker at many International conferences with a focus on strategy, governance and finance. She was one of the first intakes for an MSc in Charity Law & Finance, and her experience with both small and large charities helps to inform her work with Mentor.
Sue’s work also takes her to Brussels, where statutory accounts are prepared to EU regulations, and she has previously prepared accounts for a US registered non-profit under IRS501 regulations.
Amanda Hood, Office Manager
Amanda joined Mentor in May 2011 after working in the public and local government sector. She is responsible for day to day running of the office and making payments etc. Amanda works four day per week and when she is not in London she enjoys travelling around Europe as well as attempting to make her flowers and vegetables grow! Email Amanda.
Programmes team (Scotland)
Debra Anderson, Senior Project Officer, Breaking Out
Debra took up the post of Senior Project Officer for the Breaking-Out Project, based in HMPYOI Polmont, in May 2016. She joined as the project was entering its second phase, which saw Mentor forging partnerships with SPS Community Safety Unit, Police Scotland and SPS Lifeskills Unit. These partnerships have been invaluable to the development of the Breaking-Out Project. They have allowed the project to widen its access to individuals who can benefit from Mentor’s support.
Debra’s background is predominantly in drug treatment, in both community and custody settings, catering for individuals with multiple and complex needs. She has qualifications in various fields, including Community Education, Mental Health and Addictions.
As Debra writes: “I spent 20 years working solely with adults entrenched in addiction. I made the decision to apply my life skill, training and experience to invest in improving opportunities for young people at risk of alcohol related harm and offending”.
Susan Parker, Project Officer, Breaking Out
Susan joined Mentor UK in August 2016 working at HMPYOI Polmont as a Project Officer on the Breaking Out Project. After 27 years in the finance industry, she decided she wanted a career change and studied at college as well as doing voluntary work in the addiction field which resulted in her becoming a qualified counsellor. She also volunteered for 2 years on the children’s panel. In 2012 she left finance after successfully securing employment as an addiction counsellor.
Prior to joining Mentor she was a Health Case Manager with an organisation that was passionate about working holistically with people. Her role was to work closely with individuals and families with multiple and complex needs, GPs and other external agencies to co-ordinate an individual support plan and enable them achieve their desired goals and aspirations and give them 1:1 counselling support.
Susan holds a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling after studying for 3 years at the College of Holistic Medicine in Glasgow.
Liz Johnston, Project Manager, Families Together
Liz joined Mentor in June 2012 as a Family Support Worker for the Kinship Care project. Liz has over 20 years experience in community based health/social care services working with mostly hard-to-reach groups such as women in the sex industry, drug users, young people perceived to be at risk, people with mental health issues and parents in need of support. She’s using her experience and her expertise of the local area to develop the Families Together Kinship Care Project. Email Liz.
Yvonne Ramsay, Senior Family Support Worker, Families Together
Yvonne is a former kinship carer and has worked with Mentor for many years. She was spurred on after her role as a kinship carer ended to try and offer support to others. Yvonne was also previously involved with a Kinship Care Support Group holding many roles over the years. She strives to encourage all of us to work together! Email Yvonne
Jill Colvine, Youth Worker, Families Together
Jill joined Mentor in November 2015 to focus on our youth provision as part of Families Together, our kinship care support programme running out of the Scotland office.
Jill studied psychology, sociology and social care at college, and has worked in a number different youth club settings with a variety of different young people across Edinburgh over the past six years. Jill works on planning and developing the youth clubs at Mentor, working closely with the young people supporting them to engage and encouraging them to reach their full potential. Email Jill.
Connor McNally, Project Officer, Families Together
Connor joined Mentor in November 2016 as a Project Officer on the Families Together project. Since then he has been involved in the development of After School Clubs and the Men’s Kinship Care Group in partnership with the Big Hearts Kinship Care Programme. He has also been working with groups of children and young people in East and West Lothian, organising activity programmes that provide safe, creative and appropriate play opportunities.
Connor is currently developing the Men’s Kinship Care Group, which is still in its early stages. This group is a diverse community of Male Kinship Carers from in and around the Edinburgh area. Connor facilitates the opportunity for these carers to socialise and support each other as they navigate being involved in a Kinship family. He organises monthly meet up events at museums, parks, sporting events and other venues around Edinburgh.
Since graduating with a degree in Sports Development fifteen years ago, Connor has worked across North-West England, London and Edinburgh using sport and physical activity as a tool to help foster positive behaviour. He is passionate about promoting the wider positive outcomes of good physical health, especially for people affected by depression and anxiety. Connor hopes to create increased awareness around these issues amongst families in and around Edinburgh. Email Connor.
Sandra Henderson, Project Officer, Families Together
Sandra started working for Mentor in January 2016 as one of the project officers for Families Together, supporting our kinship care work in Scotland.
Rhona Segall, Sessional Youth Worker, Families Together
Rhona is part of the Families Together team supporting our kinship care programme in Scotland, as well as supporting other projects Mentor is running.
Elizabeth Hurst, Policy and Communications Officer
Elizabeth joined Mentor in July 2018. She arrived fresh from completing a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews that investigated the role of inter-generational and kinship relations in how children and adults transform their ideas about the world. Prior to returning to academic study in 2012, Elizabeth spent time working in Edinburgh, as a fundraising coordinator for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a media monitor at Press Data, Ltd. Email Elizabeth.
Ian Macdonald – ADEPIS Consultant
Ian’s interest in health education and policy began while studying a BSc in Sports Sciences and MA Sport and Culture, resulting in a varied career working across the education, public and voluntary sectors. This has included roles within young person’s substance misuse services, the commissioning and delivery of public health services, and teaching in further and higher education settings.
Ian has been involved with the implementation of high profile initiatives such as the National Healthy Schools and You’re Welcome programmes, and devised a variety of CPD programmes for teachers and the wider young person’s workforce. He has also developed resource packs for schools based on drugs, alcohol and energy drinks. Ian previously taught public health at undergraduate and masters levels, and currently holds a role with the Open University, teaching on their sport and fitness degree programmes.
John Rees – ADEPIS Consultant
John is passionately committed to enhancing the life chances of children and young people, through school improvement and by supporting the professional development of individuals and organisations. Having taught for 12 years, latterly as a senior leader, John lead the transformation of APAUSE, a schools-based sex and relationships education programme from a 2-school research project into an effective multi-agency programme with unique evidence of health benefit and educational improvement.
John became an independent educational consultant in 2006, and has enjoyed repeat commissions with a range of Local Authorities across the UK and overseas, supporting health and educational improvement.