Alison Doyle, Director and Chairperson of the Board.
“I was one of the original 5 people who had a vision of providing a unique service to the local area so have been involved with The Brae from the very beginning. My involvement has ranged from promotion, fundraising, recording of financial information and liaising with funders, particularly Big Lottery during the building of the centre. I am currently the Course Leader/Senior Lecturer for Essential Skills for Gardyne Campus, Dundee & Angus College where I lead a team of 16 staff delivering English/Communication, Maths/Numeracy and ICT classes. I am also responsible for all English and Communication delivered across the 3 campuses. I was previously employed as Voluntary Services Manager for the Learning Disabilities Service for NHS Tayside. I was also one of the team that set up Dundee Volunteer Centre and was the chairperson for the first year of its operation.
I have a wide range of experience ranging from teaching/learning, careers/ guidance, voluntary sector, business management/administration and governance.”
Ian Longair, Director and Secretary to the Board.
“I became involved with The Brae as a volunteer to assist with choosing and setting up of the computers used by the staff in the offices. I have assisted with setting up of databases which help the staff in allocating riders to blocks of lessons and also maintaining records of attainment for volunteers. I also look after The Brae website (www. brae.org.uk).
I joined the Board in 2010 after I stopped working full-time at Abertay University where I was the Divisional Leader for Engineering.
I currently work part-time as an associate lecturer with the Open University, am a lay-member partner with NHS Education Scotland and am the chair of the Bus Appeals Panel Scotland which deals with passenger complaints against bus operators.
Like everyone associated with The Brae it is always great to see the progress and pleasure which the centre is able to bring to riders and volunteers alike.”
Janet Parkinson. Director, Instructor, Fundraising Committee Member and Stable & Lesson Assistant.
“I am a retired Paediatric Physiotherapist having worked with children with special needs for over 25 years. I became involved with RDA around 1973 when I worked at Strathmartine hospital and some of the youngsters wanted to ride the horses at the hospital farm. I wasn’t that interested in horses then, but saw how they were able to help improve muscle tone and sitting balance in a child with physical disabilities. The children were just having fun whilst having their therapy.
I started my own RDA group whilst working at Kingspark School and took our children down to Conchies riding stables in Carnoustie. These commercial stables were good but we needed a purpose built centre that could accommodate children and adults throughout the year with integrated specialised equipment to ensure safety and easy handling. Thus I became involved with a group with similar ideas and following much fundraising, we opened the Brae in 2008.
I carried out a research project in 2011 following my retirement, funded by Tayside Health Board, to investigate the benefits of riding. I was able to show that riding helps to reduce tone, strengthen and stretch muscles and joints in a large number of our riders. The figures also showed how riding and being involved with horses, helps to improve self esteem and self confidence in many of our riders.
I’m now involved as a volunteer 1 morning a week and instruct whenever required.
I think back at the end of each session as to what we achieved that day and realise how much of an impact riding and the Brae has on our riders and volunteers and how much they benefit from being involved with the centre.”
Alison Macintosh. Brae Director, RDA Whip and Chairperson of the Horse Committee.
“After graduating with an Honours degree in Modern Languages from the University of St Andrews, I spent my working life teaching French and German in Scotland, France and the States.
My interest in horses began at a very early age, when I used to spend a week of the summer holidays every year at Glen Clova hotel, and ride the horses of the owner, Mr Cook. During the rest of the year, I rode at Margaret Stewart’s riding school in Broughty Ferry. She lived on site in a converted double-decker bus, which I thought incredibly glamorous.
The photo attached is of me on Shane, the horse I owned in the Sixties. I had to sell him when I went to teach at the English School of Paris. I didn’t stop riding, however, during the year I was in Paris. I used to ride at the weekends in the Forêt de Saint-Germain, and I organised a riding club at the school, which was very popular, as it meant missing a morning of school.
I started helping with RDA when I retired in 2002, volunteering with Sue Rolfe’s Dundee College group. They rode at Kinshaldy, Pathhead, and Bottymyre, as the construction of the Brae had not yet begun. I became a director a couple of years later. When we began to buy horses prior to the Brae opening, I helped to look after them and ride them in various locations.
After the Brae opened, I set up the carriage driving group, along with Joan Jack and Christina Whyte, and I continue to organise that. As well as being on the board of directors, I am the Chair of the horse committee.”
Lesley Fullerton, Brae Director and Treasurer to the Board.
“I was born in Dundee and have lived in Carnoustie since I was 5 years old, and went to Kinloch Primary School, and Carnoustie High School. I am married, and have two daughters, one volunteered at The Brae when she was a student and the other is currently at Abertay University.
I started working at the age of 17 for the Royal Bank of Scotland and worked there for 18 years passing all my Banking qualifications, then moved to Dundee College and worked there for 10 years, 7 years as an Accountant and 3 years as an Accountancy Lecturer. I have been working for the past 4 years in the Finance Department of a local authority as an Accountant for Reporting & Monitoring.
I am the Treasurer and a Director for The Brae. I prepare the cash flow reports on a monthly basis to provide the Board of Directors with an up to date financial situation, produce funding reports regularly for larger funders such as the Big Lottery, make payments through the bank account and prepare the monthly payroll. I deal with the bank when required, and liaise with the auditors at the year -end regarding the financial statements.
I have been working with the Brae for 5 years and thoroughly enjoy being involved with this fantastic organisation and being part of the superb work that it does. I enjoy coming up to The Brae because it always has such a happy atmosphere.”
Norma McGovern – Brae Director, Instructor and Horse Committee Member.
“I became a volunteer for the RDA about 12 years ago when the service was delivered at Conchies Yard at Barry. There was a small but dedicated group of volunteers. The joy on the riders faces as they rode and interacted with the horses and volunteers made the role of volunteering most rewarding.
I work with my family’s horses on a daily basis and this experience gave me transferable skills to bring to the RDA.
When The Brae was developed as a riding school for people with disabilities I took a voluntary role as a riding instructor and Director on The Board. As a director I am involved in decision making pertinent to the effective and efficient management of The Brae.
As directors we are involved with various volunteering activities within the organisation, for example I act as a delivery service from the shop at Conchies Yard to The Brae. I am also involved in the fitting of riding hats for our riders and the co-ordination of the appropriate hats to be purchased.
I also serve on the Horse Committee ensuring the welfare of the horses.
I am a passionate believer in the philosophy of UNICEF which is that all children regardless of their ethnic background, religion or social status deserve to be given the opportunity to reach their potential. I fully believe that we at The Brae go a long way to help children achieve this.”
Dave Doyle – Buildings, Maintenance and Health & Safety Advisor.
“I’ve been involved in the building trade all my working life in some shape or form for close on 40 years. Started my working life with a large Tayside Building Contractor as an assistant estimator whilst attending Kingsway tech doing my Institute of Building qualifications, then a number of years as a Surveyor and in 1986 as Senior Buyer for 12 years responsible for all purchases, plant hire (large and small) blacksmiths and joiners workshops, vans along with the material procurement of around 20 building sites.
I started my own building company in 1998 doing extensions and one-off house builds and 2 years later started a hardwood flooring company offering quality floors to Tayside, employing 13 tradesmen along with 5 apprentices. The 2 companies ran in tandem until the just before the recession kicked in when I closed the building company, downsized going for the easy life and just running the flooring company.
My involvement with the Brae started when I was asked to make the build happen with the brief “ a shed in a field will do” and as Project Manager pulled the build together hopefully achieving more than the original task. I was asked to become a Director after the build was complete, with my procurement expertise and the experience of running a few companies along with my building contacts I think I have helped to make the Brae the success it is.
One of my failings (the only one!) is that I treat every pound as a prisoner, and judge every expenditure as if I was spending my own money, this is balanced with the support and experiences of the other directors round the table, every organisation needs a grumpy one. To counterbalance my occasional grumpiness I enjoy playing golf, like listening to Blues/rock music, playing the guitar and pampering my wife.
Over the last year I have been employed as a Business Adviser with the Business Gateway helping and supporting existing business so haven’t been to the Brae as much as I would have liked, when I do I feel a sense of pride in what’s been achieved though the hard work and dedication of The Brae team.”
Yvonne Miskell – Director, Instructor and Fundraising Committee Member.
“My name is Yvonne Miskell. I am Dundee born and bred although did work in Edinburgh and London for a time as a physiotherapist.
When I was in London I became involved with RDA whilst working in a school and residential home for people with Learning Difficulties.
When I moved to Dundee I started working in Kingspark School and enjoyed taking the children to their horse riding which was very beneficial for them physically. It provided their therapy but also so much fun! Unfortunately due to the Scottish weather we had to ride in the fair weather so lost lots of opportunities to ride all year.
I then moved into the Adult Learning Disability service where we took clients to a variety of venues none of which were 100% suitable.
It was then I, and a small group of professionals, contacted Dundee City Council to see if they would approve a purpose built riding centre where we could ride all year. They were keen to see this facility become a reality and planning permission was granted.
Then the hard work started to fund, plan and build the Centre.
I have been the Secretary, Treasurer and am now a Director on the Board to oversee the running and future planning of the Centre. I am also on the fund raising committee to help increase awareness of the centre to the public and keep the pennies rolling in to care for our horses and building!
I instruct and provide physiotherapy input to learning disability clients on a Tuesday pm.
I am also a volunteer.
So I wear a few different hats within the Brae.
On July 23rd last year I was presented, by the Princess Royal, with the Presidents Award for 30 years of outstanding service to the RDA. Their words not mine!!
I am due to retire from the NHS in July but will continue to be involved with the Brae. I will have more time to have fun with my three children, three grand children, family and friends.
I will join the ladies who lunch club and go on lots more holidays!!”
Rob Whiteford – Director and Horse Committee Member.
“I live in Scone. I have three grown-up children.
I have been a veterinary surgeon for nearly 40 years mostly in general practice, although I held a position in veterinary public health (Principal Official Veterinary Surgeon – POVS) for a number of years at the same time. In my practice in Perth I was the managing partner, clinical director and financial controller. I have now sold my share in the practice and am a self-employed consultant veterinary advisor. I am on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ approved list of inspectors of Riding Establishments and I spend some time working on this for the local authority. I still do some consulting sessions for my old practice.
I was asked to join the Board of The Brae as a director to advise on the health and welfare of our horses. I give my opinion on veterinary matters at the monthly board meetings, at the horse committee meetings and otherwise by e-mail and phone. I hope I can give accurate dispassionate veterinary opinion on any matters that affect our horses. Most of my management experience is within a small business with a small close knit staff but I also had experience of a large government department when I was a POVS. I hope this wide experience can inform my opinions and allow me to contribute to all the topics that we deliberate on during our board meetings.
The Brae does a great job and although the people are the most important part, the horses are special too and it is them that I try to focus on. Without healthy, well cared for horses we wouldn’t have the lessons and other activities we all enjoy at The Brae.”