Members of the IF Board and the San Patrignano community in the dining hall at San Patrignano in June 2013
Meet the IFDAS Board of Directors:
Honorary President: Professor Sir John Elvidge KCB FRSE FRSA BA (Oxon)
Sir John was the founding Chair of IFDAS. He is Chairman of Edinburgh Airport Ltd and is a non-executive chair or board member of several organisations in the social enterprise, university and arts sectors. He undertakes international advisory work on government and public policy, in association with Oxford University and others, and is an Adjunct Professor of the Overseas Education College of Shanghai Jaio Tong University. He is a Carnegie Fellow for the Carnegie UK Trust and an Associate of the Institute for Government. His earlier career was in the Civil Service, including responsibility for domestic policy within the Cabinet Secretariat of the UK Government in 1998-99, and from 2003 – 10 he was Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government.
Chair/Convenor of the Board of Trustees: Kenny Leinster
is a social work consultant who retired in 2018 after a long career in social work in Scotland. He studied social work at the University of Dundee and worked in the city as a group worker with young people. He worked as a social worker in Strathclyde and set up the first alternative to custody project in Glasgow, working in the community with young people and adults who were at risk of a custodial sentence. He spent a number of years in Renfrewshire in the social work teams in Johnstone and Paisley with responsibility for all the services in these areas. This included child protection, addiction services, criminal justice and community care, building strong partnerships across the health and voluntary sectors.
Moving to Fife, Kenny worked closely with health colleagues to set up an integrated service for older people and was Head of Children's Services before coming to work in South Ayrshire as Head of Community Care and Housing. With the introduction of the integration of health and care services Kenny became Head of Health and Community Care and was Chief Social Worker for South Ayrshire. He was chair of the South Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership from its inception and supported and led the strong recovery movement in South Ayrshire. As an early supporter of IFDAS he was excited by the opportunity to become more involved when the River Garden Auchincruive site was purchased. He now has more time to dedicate to IFDAS and work with the Board to develop the enormous potential within River Garden and the great people who live there and work and volunteer to support IFDAS.
Vice-Chair: Colin Crosbie
Colin was born in Kirkcudbright in the west of Scotland. He worked and trained at the West of Scotland Agricultural College in Auchincruive near Ayr. He then worked at the Savill and Valley gardens in Windsor Great Park before being appointed as Head Gardener to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Following this Colin moved to RHS Wisley as Superintendent, Garden Manager and finally Curator. Colin has recently returned to his native Scotland to set up his own business as a horticultural consultant and leads gardens tours throughout the world.
Treasurer: Steven Donnachie BA CA CMgr
Steven is a self-motivated and strategic finance professional with a proven track record in Neogen Europe, a rapidly expanding international business with its European Head Quarters in Auchincruive. Steven’s role as Finance Director requires him to be a champion for change and manage people in a dynamic environment with 19 years of experience in finance and operations.
For the past 19 years he has resided and worked in Ayrshire both in Accounting public practice and in industry. His present responsibilities extend to strategic growth of the business, Stores and Logistics, Purchasing and Materials Management, Administration and Accounting, Facilities, Human Resources and Information Technology
Secretary: Rowan Anderson
Rowan grew up in rural South Ayrshire but now splits her time between Edinburgh and Glasgow. She has worked in the drug and alcohol field for 10 years, mostly in public health, policy and programme management and currently works for Corra Foundation, a philanthropic grant giving organisation, where she manages the Partnership Drugs Initiative. Rowan’s experience includes developing strategy, policy and operational delivery of alcohol and drug support services. She is a member of two of the Scottish Government’s PADS groups and has a special interest in Drug Related Deaths, completing an MSc in on the topic in 2016. She is committed to ensuring the voices of people who are expert by experience influence decisions.
Special Advisors to the Board:
Chris Rae, Partner of CMS (solicitor and notary public), specialising in commercial property law. Chris coordinates the pro bono work carried out by his team within CMS. Chris also runs a charity called The Nepal Trust, which focuses on third world development issues in Humla, – a very remote region in Nepal. Having been a voluntary board member for several UK charities and non-profit organisations over the past 10 years, Chris supports the vision and goals of IFDAS, and to do his part to ensure the vision of IFDAS becomes a reality.
Andrew Horne, Director, Addaction Scotland (Addaction is one of the largest drug and alcohol charities in the UK working. Addaction is committed to recovery for the individual, family and community. Andrew joined the charity in 2004 having spent his working life committed to drugs and alcohol work in the voluntary sector.)
Andrew has worked in and managed substance misuse services for over 30 years in Ireland, England and Scotland. He has helped create some of the country’s most innovative and complex services to best suit the needs of people with drink and drug problems. He is passionate about developing services where the service user is at the heart of their own recovery
Melanie Tsagalidou is the webmaster of IFDAS. Melanie works as a Project Officer in the Evaluation team in NHS Health Scotland.
Member: Mark Bitel FSRA, is the founder of IFDAS. He was inspired to set IFDAS up after a visit to the San Patrignano community in Italy in September 2012. For the past 20 years he has been a Social Impact and Evaluation Consultant. He worked for The Scottish Government as a National Support Coordinator for Alcohol & Drug Partnerships between 2009 and 2011. As a result of this experience, he developed a passionate belief that people affected by drug and alcohol addictions in Scotland deserve a wider range of options to help them into long-term recovery.
Mark reduced his business activities as a consultant in organisational impact and effectiveness to part-time hours to assist the establishment and development of River Garden Auchincruive. Mark's other voluntary work includes serving as a Trustee of the Quaker Housing Trust and has recently completed his term as Chair of the Scottish Recovery Consortium.
Member: Mithun Barik is an Addiction Psychiatrist currently working in South Community Addiction Team of NHS Ayrshire and Arran. He has a special interest in psychological interventions for people affected by substance misuse and mental health difficulties including post-traumatic stress.
In addition to his medical degree, Mithun also holds post graduate qualification in healthcare management and medico-legal sciences. He has participated in several medical camps in areas affected by natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. He has also served in medical missions in remote rural areas of India with different voluntary organisations including a WHO project. He moved to Scotland 12 years ago and has been living in Ayrshire since then.
He finds inspiration and motivation to continuously improve from the amazing achievements he observes regularly in people in recovery. He passionately believes that given the right opportunity and support, everyone can achieve their recovery goals and lead a respectful life free of stigma.
Member: Barry Graham is a founding member of the Loch Arthur Camphill Community in Dumfries. Over the past 30 years he has been instrumental in establishing the social enterprises (cheese-making, baking and farm shop) that have been central to the community’s success as a charity providing accommodation, support and work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
Barry has also had a central role in developing financial and administrative systems for the community and the charitable trust as a whole.
Loch Arthur has recently been awarded: “Best UK Food Producer” BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards 2011; “Outstanding Social Enterprise” D&G Chamber Business Awards 2014; “Voluntary Group/Charity of the Year” and “Outstanding Contribution to Dumfries & Galloway” D&G Life Awards 2015; “Winner of Artisan Food Category” Scottish Rural Awards 2017.
Member: Tony Gross is retired following a career as a Lecturer of Physics and then Office Manager for a small/medium enterprise. He has served as a Board member of Fresh Start, an Edinburgh-based charity that helps people who have been homeless and recently resettled, to maintain their own tenancies with a range of practical and material support to make their ‘house a home’. In 2011, he spent a year volunteering in the Loch Arthur Community near Dumfries (formally a Camp Hill Community).
Member: Helen Bath Helen Bath is a Trainer/Assessor with CEIS, Ayrshire, an organisation that supports and trains individuals back into sustainable employment.
Helen began her career as a lecturer/adviser in Higher Education at the Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive. In 1997 she joined the British Red Cross where she worked for over 18 years as an Operations Director within the Region of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Her remit included the strategic management and delivery of British Red Cross services, helping people to live independently and supporting individuals and communities affected by emergencies.
In addition to her role as a member of the IFDAS board, Helen is also a volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland. She served as a Member of the Advisory Board for Common Purpose (Forth Valley) from 2008-2012 and has a PhD from Glasgow University.
Kuladharini is currently the chair of Triratna Glasgow Buddhist Centre; a spiritual community she has been part of for the last 28 years. She was ordained as a member of the world wide Triratna Buddhist Order in 2008. She is in long term recovery from addictions and mental health problems. She led the Scottish Recovery Consortium for over 6 years and before that created several well-loved addiction recovery services in Scotland. Trained in community development and organisational consultancy, Kuladharini is well placed to help the RGA develop its unique recovery model.