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S.M.I.L.E Counselling first became constituted on 15th June 2015. Since then the Board of Trustees have worked tirelessly to get the organisation to where it is today. Now we are an official Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation and have begun delivering counselling sessions to local young people. We aim to be able to deliver a bespoke outreach counselling service to young people when they need it most. Our primary goal is to help young people get to a good place in their lives where they feel Supported, Motivated, Inspired, Leading to self-determination and Empowered to make their own positive choices. 


Hi there, my name is Declan and I am the Founder and CEO of S.M.I.L.E Counselling. 

In my previous roles I worked with children and young people in West Lothian and the more time I spent in my role the more I noticed that many were unable to access the counselling help they needed as well as waiting times being far too long for the services that were available. I realised that our children and young people desperately needed more support so this led to S.M.I.L.E being born in 2015 to offer a free counselling service to 11-24 year olds.

I am delighted to say that we will be celebrating our 7th anniversary in June, 2022, and to date we have helped over 1,000 individuals and 2500 young people in a group setting. That’s around 7,000 counselling hours in total!

I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all our funders, clients, staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen… together we really are making a difference.

Going forward we hope to continue offering our free service to as many young people as possible and it is even more crucial today due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We are also excited to see our training division develop which now encompasses many more mental wellbeing and counselling training courses.

We have made changes in order to reach more young people every way we can and the key change we are making is to become more interactive online so that there is current and useful information available 24/7.

We have already adapted our approach to deliver online, telephone and email counselling. During lockdown this has worked really well for our clients and counsellors and truly helped us all overcome the adversity of the pandemic.

As I said before … we will reach you and help you any way we can… and together we will overcome the challenges we face.

As always … thank you for all your continued support and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Take care and keep smiling

Declan Harrigan 


Declan began his career in corporate sales while studying Social Policy and Sociology at Magee, University of Ulster. After University and spending an additional 4 years training as a therapist he now has experience in supporting and counselling young people for over 10 years both in the North of Ireland and since 2012 in West Lothian, Scotland. 

His experience in counselling began in the North of Ireland where he worked specifically with those people affected by self-harm or suicidal thoughts / ideation. However, in addition to this work he has also worked with issues such as bullying, sexual orientation, depression, anxiety, bereavement, relationship issues, abuse or post Northern Ireland conflict prisoners affected by PTSD to name but a few. 

Declan worked extensively on anti-sectarianism projects with the young people involved using various counselling approaches in groups to help change their negative thinking about each other and encourage them to look at the similarities instead of the very minimal differences. 

He then moved to Scotland in 2012 where he took up the position as a project co-ordinator working with similar groups and co-ordinating a youth unemployment strategy while supporting these young people to address their barriers and re-engaging positively into their community again. 

Declan is married and has a young son.  He says that “my wife and son are the driving force behind the work that I do. I love my job and being a part of the S.M.I.L.E Team is more than just a job, it’s like a family. We are all passionate about delivering the best service we can for the children and young people of West Lothian and hope to be an integral part of the community work for many years to come”. 


Mark qualified as a psychodynamic counsellor in 2016 and has been working in private practice. He is an Accredited Member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists and has experience supporting clients of all ages.  

Before joining S.M.I.L.E. Counselling, Mark worked in the public sector, supporting customers with health conditions and disabilities move into suitable employment. He also volunteered as a child and young person counsellor for a mental health charity. 

Having grown up in a housing scheme, Mark believes in offering children and young people every opportunity to develop and achieve positive wellbeing and self-belief.  

In his time off, Mark enjoys watching a lot of rugby. 


Nicola is an experienced Team Leader who has over 20 years experience in managing and leading teams.

She has previously worked in the private, public and third sector and she is excited to bring her skills and knowledge to S.M.I.L.E Counselling to help support the young people in West Lothian.

Nicola is passionate about Health and Wellbeing and enjoys practicing Yoga and Reiki in her spare time.



Fiona believes passionately that every human being should have the opportunity to maximise their potential. 

During her career, Fiona has supported some of the most vulnerable people in our society, run a successful social enterprise, and provides business development advice and support to other social enterprises. 

Fiona recently retired from full-time working and has joined S.M.I.L.E. as our Administration, Assistant. 

Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge about the charitable and social enterprise sectors she hopes to be an asset to S.M.I.L.E Counselling and looks forward to contributing towards a positive impact on the lives of young people. 


Gemma has a background in psychology and has recently completed a Research Master’s in Evolution and Human Behaviour from Newcastle University.    

Gemma’s research project investigated how the use of certain coping mechanisms can become unhelpful or harmful after experiencing stressful and traumatic events.  This research project made her particularly interested in how the human stress response evolved, and how beneficial it is to learn how to cope with and manage stress and difficult emotions throughout our lives.  

Gemma is very happy to be starting with S.M.I.L.E. and contributing towards and making a positive impact to the lives of young people in the area.  

Gemma enjoys practicing mindfulness and yoga, and in her spare time, she handmakes her own garden gnomes and completes monthly Bee Walks as a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. 


Laura’s first opportunity to take interest in supporting people was during first year in high school when a volunteering opportunity became available supporting summer play schemes with Barnardo’s.  This initial experience at a young age was the first of many, leading to youth work (including girls groups, sexual health services and residential).  

Laura studied at Napier University gaining a Degree in Youth Work with distinction.  Following her studies, she has worked across the voluntary sector within mental health and addictions, the Local Authority developing and delivering local training in line with national objectives, and currently with the NHS in health promotion. 

Laura’s wide breadth of experience includes supporting people with challenging life circumstances including homelessness, looked after children and young people,  addictions, custodial enevironments and mental health.  She has been a national trainer of suicide prevention since 2009.  Laura is excited to be taking up a training role at SMILE Counselling and is keen to contribute to the wellbeing of young people, their families and the communities there they live.  

Laura attends gym classes, run regularly and feel that this supports both her physical and mental well-being.  She is also passionate about going to the theatre to see almost anything! 

Dr Martha Pollard (BA MSc PhD)

Dr Martha Pollard will be delivering our COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills. 

Martha has several years experience in emotional and social support, especially for carers and people living with dementia. She delivers dementia awareness and dementia, creativity and interaction training for family carers, volunteers, community groups and staff.  Martha studied psychology and public health, and was a lecturer in health psychology for 8 years before moving into community-based support work in 2012.  Her formal studies in counselling began in 2016 and she loves tutoring as well.  She also has a background in care work and is a dementia researcher.  

Martha enjoys reading and writing poetry and volunteers with her local food bank.  She is a mindfulness practitioner and draws on compassion-focussed therapy approaches in counselling 


Mairi is enrolled in a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.  

Mairi works within a person-centred and congnitive-behavioural framework, providing clients the opportunity to explore and understand their own personal experience.  

She values the unique experience of each individual, bringing warmth and empathy to her work.    

Before beginning her doctorate and joining S.M.I.L.E., Mairi worked in adult mental health in the NHS for nearly 13 years.  Her career in Psychology has taken her across Scotland, from Aberdeen to the Lothians and Glasgow. 

Mairi shares her home-life with her husband, children and their dog. 

MANJEET DHOKIA (PGDip Counselling and Psychotherapy)

Manjeet is from Coventry and realised she wanted to support young people’s mental well-being whilst working in primary schools as a pupil support worker. After graduating in 2001, she went into hospitality and sales, but then decided to take a career break to bring up two children. 

Manjeet worked in schools for 5 years, where she completed the HNC in Early Education and Childcare, but quickly noticed that her passion lay elsewhere. She then went on to complete the COSCA Counselling Skills Certificate and PG Dip in Counselling to support adults as well as children and young people. In schools, Manjeet was mainly assisting teachers within classrooms whilst also running small groups for language support. She also volunteered at Carers of West Lothian during the Diploma. 

Having such a busy schedule, Manjeet always manages to find time to run and loves being outdoors. Spending time with her family sets her up for the following week, where they enjoy doing various things together, like movie nights, walks and even gaming (with a little persuasion)! 


Lizzie is a qualified Person Centred Counsellor working in Broxburn Academy and the SMILE Offices.  Lizzie works with young people to help them gain a deeper personal understanding of themselves, working with suicidal ideation, self-harm, self-doubt, anxiety, depression and trauma. 

Lizzie is also a Supervisor at Children1st Parentline and has extensive experience of working with parents and carers helping them better understand themselves and the children in their care. 

Lizzie’s love of counselling was discovered in her initial counselling training where she experienced, first hand, the power of allowing people to be really heard in the moment. 

Lizzie’s work experience prior to counselling is in Event Management, Marketing and Sales which has given her excellent experience in being flexible, resourceful and patient. 

Lizzie lives with her husband, 2 children, a Jack Russell, who thinks he’s a footballer, and a cat that loves a chat in the morning. 

DANIELA CERNICCHIARO (BSc, PGDip Counselling and Psychotherapy)

Daniela started her education studying Psychology at Queen Margaret University before completing her PGDip training in Counselling and Psychotherapy at Edinburgh University. She has volunteered with Place2Be for 4.5 years, working with children as a school counsellor alongside working for a charity specializing with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Through Place2Be, she completed her Level 4 Certificate in Counselling Skills for Working with Children.
Daniela was trained in an integrative approach to counselling and works with both person-centered and psychodynamic modalities when practicing.
In her spare time, Daniela enjoys reading and often spends a day off scouting charity shops for new things to read. She also spends a lot of her time with friends, enjoying the cinema and watching rugby together. She has two pet rabbits and a large family who she loves to be with. Daniela‘s family are originally from Italy where a lot of them still live, and who she frequently goes to visit in her family’s home town of Salerno. 


Fiona is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. She joined the SMILE team as a Trainee Counsellor in January 2020, before becoming a Young Person’s Counsellor in 2021. Fiona studied at ACT Counselling in Glasgow, where she now volunteers as a Training Assistant. She is a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). 

She is passionate about helping young people discover their coping strategies to help them in difficult times and to reach their potential. Using CBT techniques, she works with each individual at a pace to suits their needs. Fiona also has experience volunteering with Neil’s Hugs, a charity created to support people affected by suicide. 

Fiona’s background is in marketing communications and she works part-time in the marketing team at Scottish Enterprise. 

Fiona is married with two boys and a loveable retriever Monty. She enjoys swimming and spending time with friends and family.


Tracy joined Smile Counselling as the Neurodiverse Counsellor in February, 2022, and has many years of experience working with and supporting young people and adults who are neurodivergent.

Tracy uses a range of approaches, from talk therapy, play therapy and Lego therapy, with all various age groups. Tracy is neurodiverse, as well as members of her family. She feels that being neurodiverse herself can be very helpful with the work that she can offer to clients.

Tracy enjoys training and teaching in a martial art, as well as drawing and building her Lego collection.


Mandy is currently completing her PG Diploma in Counselling with Interface Training in Edinburgh, which is oriented towards the Person Centred Approach.  She is genuinely interested in supporting people to move towards what matters to them, using their own strengths.  This is one of the reasons why she would like to train as a counsellor.  Mandy passionately believes in dedicating her time to projects that tackle social exclusion and has spent over ten years doing this across Scotland in the NHS and Third Sector.  During this time, she has particularly enjoyed developing and delivering various workshops to various schools and groups in the community.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, live music, films, fantasy fiction books, practicing mindfulness and anything outdoorsy. 


Katie is currently completing her PG Diploma with ACT Counselling services in Rutherglen, and is studying the modality of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Katie has a background in psychology and is passionate about supporting young people to understand their own mental health, to meet their goals and reduce stigma. Katie currently works with children and young people in her work capacity, and has seen the positive outcomes that have been achieved when the right support is in place. This was one of the reasons why Katie chose to train as a CBT counsellor and feels honoured to volunteer with a charity that can support people to have positive mental well-being.


Hi there, I am Mhairi, a Counselling Psychologist in training at Glasgow Caledonian University, as well as a Research Assistant and Visiting Lecturer at Queen Margaret University. I am a Community Councillor with West Lothian Council, a support worker within disability services, and a volunteer counsellor here at S.M.I.L.E. In my spare time I enjoy creative pursuits, the views atop a mountain, and any food that involves BBQ sauce. 


Scott is born and bred in West Lothian, currently studying a Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with ACT Counselling services in Glasgow. He has a background in Teaching having completed a Diploma in Training, Learning and Assessment through Napier University and a BA in Teaching (TQFE) from the University of Stirling. Scott regularly lectures in Colleges and Universities and is a trained SCQF credit rating cadre member. He has a wealth of experience in managing projects and is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner.

With grown-up children, Scott has a true perception of the challenges young people face in negotiating life. He feels it important to remove the stigma and normalise the conversation to promote good mental health and wellbeing.

In his working capacity, Scott has a love for teaching; developing and delivering training to various agencies including the Scottish Government, Scottish Prison Service and Police Scotland. He is passionate in raising awareness of Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences and recognises the importance helping relationships play in determining desirable destinations for those affected.

Scott works closely with young people and adults within and outwith the justice system. It was here he witnessed first-hand the power of talking therapy in transforming lives to provide positive pathways for recipients. He feels very fortunate to be a member of the S.M.I.L.E. family offering an essential service to the young people of West Lothian.

In his spare time Scott is a volunteer with Canine Concern Scotland along with Therapet Dog Mia. They both attend ‘Paws Against Stress Sessions’ in visits to Schools, Colleges and Care Settings throughout the Lothians and beyond. Scott enjoys playing golf, five-a-side football (both badly), poetry and public speaking. His favourite holidays are in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife and family.


Mark is currently completing his PG Diploma in Counselling with Interface Training in Edinburgh, with a focus on the Person-Centred approach. 

His first counselling role was as a volunteer with ChildLine Scotland in Glasgow. This experience, combined with previous jobs working in the Scottish Government with victims of violent crime, and in New Zealand with survivors of sexual abuse, led him to pursue a qualification in counselling. 

As a passionate believer in the value of talking therapy for young people, Mark is proud to be volunteering for an organisation with the values of S.M.I.L.E.

In his spare time, Mark enjoys sport, 90s music, long walks along quiet paths and has recently embraced the joys of long distance running. 


Eleanor is currently completing her SCOTACS Diploma in Counselling & Groupwork – a Cognitive Behavioural Approach, through the Centre of Therapy & Counselling Studies in Glasgow.  

She has tried several paths in life: studying music (can play clarinet, violin and wants to take cello lessons back up), a career in retail with her favourite role being in the Early Learning Centre in Edinburgh – playing with toys for a living was great fun, has also worked in HMV and has been in an office job since 2008. She has looked into counselling many times since her early 20’s, gained her COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills in 2015. The pandemic has prompted her to pursue counselling as a career. She is passionate about teenagers and young adults having a specific place, just for them, to access counselling services and is delighted to join the amazing team at SMILE.  

In her spare time, Eleanor likes to spend time with her partner, taking their dog on adventures. She enjoys cooking, baking and a good box set binge. She is also an avid Dr Who fan (Matt Smith being my favourite, closely followed by David Tennant) and is very excited that Ncuti Gatwa taking on the keys to the Tardis! 


Ian Angus-Felton

Ian has worked in Financial Services for over 25 years and brings to the Board a wealth of experience and expertise in Financial Management.

Ian is an active volunteer at The Falkirk Foundation where he is part of a team responsible for coaching football along with the health and wellbeing of some 1000 young people aged 5 to 18. A former School Governor responsible for the National Curriculum, Ian’s passion and commitment for helping young people cope with challenges in their lives is obvious.

Ian is married with 2 teenage boys and loves family time with their dog Harvey.

Marie Somers

Marie was delighted to be accepted as a S.M.I.L.E. board member as she has been involved with numerous charities over the years. She hopes to bring her previous experience, along with the skills developed in her career around training, compliance, change and risk, to support S.M.I.L.E.

Liz McGrorty

Liz comes from a background of hairdressing. Liz has worked as a Prison Officer for the last 20 years working with male young adults and then with female young adults and female adults. During this time Liz has helped and supported all prisoners with their confidence, self-esteem, self-harm reduction, addiction reduction and education. Liz is very passionate about her work and enjoys the results that it achieves. Liz has been married for 42 years, has a grown up family and three young Grand Children.

Douglas Benson

Douglas been working for West Lothian Council since 2004 as an Antisocial Behaviour Officer, Housing Officer, Community Regeneration Officer and currently a Service Development Officer in Customer and Community services.

He feels passionate about reducing inequalities and customer service, and is integral to a number of different regeneration projects and sourcing funding to support community projects and initiatives to reduce inequalities including: Co-project managing new partnership centres in Armadale and Whitburn that will co-locate services and hopefully act as a catalyst for further investment in the communities; The Armadale Shed – aimed primarily at older people as a place to meet, engage and make things; and Community Weeks in Boghall and Mayfield, Armadale to highlight services, offer up taster sessions and provide support to people in community.

Douglas is currently studying towards a Prince2 qualification in Project Management and is trained in mediation.

In his spare time, he plays football on Saturday mornings, tennis, golf, attends the odd gig or two, with a passion for film and is very family orientated

Katie Abbott

Katie graduated from Stirling University in 2019 after studying BSc (Hons) in Psychology. From this Katie has worked in various mental health roles working with vulnerable adults, children, and families. Katie has developed an interest in working with children and young people, and is passionate about supporting children’s rights and ensuring their voices are heard.

Katie lives locally in the community and is keen to support and volunteer with S.M.I.L.E, as supporting the mental health of our young people is vital. As a board member, Katie’s role is to develop and support our social media platforms, as this is a key opportunity for connecting with children and young people in our community, in order to promote positive mental well-being.

Rachel Rintoul

Rachel has been working in HR for the past years and is currently a People Advisor with Genius Foods Ltd. Alongside this, she is currently working towards her degree in Business and Management studies with the Open University. 

Rachel lives locally in West Lothian and, as a former client of S.M.I.L.E., Rachel has a keen interest in the services provided to the community and wants to support and volunteer with S.M.I.L.E. as this is such a vital service.

Michael Field

Michael founded Workflo Solutions in 1997 and has been managing director of the business ever since. His company is one of the most dynamic and progressive companies in the UK focused on the managed services industry. 

Providing help and assistance to local charities has been a prime factor for Michael for many years. He has been an exceptional benefactor, helping many charities and community groups across West Lothian and continues to do so. 

Gail McKenna

Gail has worked for over 30 years in a corporate environment and brings to the board a wealth of experience in Business Development, Management, Project Management and Strategy.   Having graduated with a degree from Queen Margaret University College in Health Promotion, Gail has always had an avid interest in developing social capital for all in the community and has volunteered over many years with Age UK. As well as supporting older people Gail has developed an interest in supporting young people’s mental health after completing the ‘Counselling Skills’ course through S.M.I.L.E. last year and was keen to explore how she can use her skills to help. 

Gail lives locally in the community and is married with 2 teenage children and furbaby Maggie 

Zoe Workman

Zoe comes to us with a varied career background. 11 years working as a special constable for Police Scotland, this provided her with an understanding of the challenges faced by those in crisis, the lack of services to help those most in need. To expand on this and to focus more on speaking out for those in need she then went on to study Law at Stirling University. Developing an interest in children’s rights and child protection.

Experienced working with children in her time as a Girl Guiding leader. She is extremally passionate about mental health and wellbeing the different wellbeing needs of children and young people.

Only recently moved to the area she is keen to develop her knowledge in mental health by supporting S.M.I.L.E.

Having a daughter of her own she is looking forward to spending more time outdoors this year going to animal parks and exploring West Lothian.