VAF has a committed Board of Trustees which brings a diverse range of skills and expertise from the voluntary, public and private sectors to the leadership and governance of the organisation.  

Joanna McLaughlin - Chair


Jo joined the Board of Directors of the Voluntary Action Fund in 2015. Her current role is with the Government's Improvement Service where she is responsible for coordinating the National Violence Against Women Network and providing support to the local multi-agency Violence Against Women Partnerships to help ensure they have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to inform and implement Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women. Jo has a particular interest in promoting better evidence exchange across the Third and Public Sector to help improve services and support for vulnerable groups. She currently lives in Edinburgh with her partner and their very excitable springer spaniel.


Anela Anwar - Vice Chair


Anela joined VAF's Board in November 2014. Anela, a graduate of law, is UK Programme Manager for Oxfam Scotland where she seeks to challenge poverty and inequality in the UK through the development and implementation of innovative programmes which identify and tackle the root causes of poverty and empower people living in poverty. Anela has over fifteen years' experience in Scotland's third sector working with vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, addressing a range of issues such as abuse, mental health issues, health and wellbeing, youth empowerment and community development. She also holds directorships of the Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration.

 John McDonald

John_McDonald.jpgJohn has been involved in public service for over 30 years. Before initial training in Community Education at Jordanhill College he started his involvement in the voluntary sector as a volunteer at the age of 15 and has continued to be active in voluntary roles since in both local and national organisations. He is currently an active Board member of a local Council for Voluntary Service. 
He has worked in senior professional and managerial roles across varied fields including education, community development, social work, health and well-being and children's services, spending time in local government, new town development, higher education and the private sector. A significant part of his career has been involved supporting the development of community / voluntary organisations. Prior to his current role he spent time in the third sector as chief executive of a national organisation and is currently managing a change programme to support implementation of Getting It Right For Every Child.

Sarah Kersey

Sarah, a passionate advocate of volunteering, joined the voluntary sector  Sarah_Kersey.jpg
15 years ago as a volunteer adviser for the Citizens Advice Bureau and is now a member of a workers' cooperative running a social enterprise providing capacity building services to voluntary and community groups in Harrow, West London. She has extensive knowledge and experience of fund raising, partnership development, project management, marketing, volunteer management, governance, capacity building and is an accredited PQASSO Mentor.  Sarah has also worked for Harrow Council for Voluntary Services managing a Volunteer Centre. In addition to her paid employment, Sarah has continued to volunteer locally – running environmental and volunteering projects and organising happiness and fair trade campaigns.  She is also a community transport driver, a volunteer radio presenter, a trustee of a Portuguese Counselling Charity and a community farm and environmental pressure group.  Sarah has been a non-executive director of the Association of Volunteer Managers and has been elected as a Voluntary and Community Sector representative in Harrow.

Pervin Ahmed

Pervin is the Service Manager at Scottish Women’s Aid.

She is responsibleParveen.jpg for managing and supporting staff and a portfolio of services.  She has volunteered and worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years. Pervin is passionate about promoting equality of opportunities and supporting the learning, development and engagement of excluded and disadvantaged women and young women. She has vast experience in this area; particularly in relation to working with women and young women from black and minority ethnic and migrant communities. In her previous role as Manager and Executive Officer at Dundee International Women’s Centre she gained over 10 years of experience in leading and managing the growth and development of the organisation. She has also worked as a Community Contact Worker and Community Support Worker with City Council projects and as a Trustee on the Board of Directors of Dundee Voluntary Action and Sahil (Multicultural Women’s Group). Pervin is a trainer and speaker on the needs and experiences of women from BME Communities and how to engage effectively with diverse communities. 

Graham Leydon


Graham graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in BusinesGraham_Leydon.jpgs Management. Since then he has moved onto a 2 year MBA in Leadership Practice at Edinburgh Napier. Graham has worked on a project as part of his studies with Voluntary Action Fund, and is also a Trustee of FABB Scotland and Scottish University and College Athletics. Graham has also volunteered with Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS), The Yard Adventure Centre, Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University.


David McNeill

david_mcneill.jpgDavid is Digital Director at SCVO, leading their ambitious programme to promote digital participation and basic digital skills throughout Scotland's communities and within Scotland's third sector. Before joining SCVO David was Depute Chief Executive at Young Scot, where he led the development of services provided through the Young Scot National Entitlement Card, now carried by over 60% of young people in Scotland aged 12-25. Previously, David was a Senior Consultant with Rocket Science UK and worked on a range of projects across the public and third sectors related to youth issues, health improvement and employability. In addition to his role as a Trustee of the Voluntary Action Fund, he is also a Board Member of Recharge, an East Lothian youth work charity.


Ahmed Yousaf


Ahmed Yousaf joined VAF’s Board in November 2014.  Ahmed has a MA in Economic Science and Management studies. He has worked in consultancy, project, change and operations management roles across the UK with a range of retail and welfare to work clients helping them focus on strategic and operational planning and change initiatives to improve service delivery and performance.   



Rosalind McKenna


Rosalind McKenna is Program Officer with the Public Health Program (PHP) of Open Society Foundations, based in New York. Rosalind’s work is focused on Governance for Health and on Health Rights and Law, with a particular focus on enhancing accountability over financing and budget decision-making and execution. Prior to joining the PHP in 2014, Rosalind was Coordinator of Amnesty International Ireland's program on economic, social and cultural rights. A graduate of the University of Glasgow (LLB) and National University of Ireland, Galway (LLM), Rosalind has previously worked for a UK Member of Parliament and within the Scottish Courts Service, as well as coordinating Amnesty International Ireland’s program of work on Human Rights Based Approaches.  

James Nicol - Treasurer


Following a career as a finance and business advisor James has been involved in a number of charity roles including as chair of the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust and as non-executive director of  Glasgow Opportunities and Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust.


Claire Stevens



Claire has more than 30 years' involvement in the Third Sector in a range of fields including strategy, management, policy and development. She has experience of issues including homelessness, housing, children and young people, older people, volunteering and health. She is currently Chief Officer of Voluntary Health Scotland, the national network and intermediary for voluntary health organisations.

Pauline Hinchion 

Pauline Hinchion has worked mainly in the Third Sector for the last 25 years. During that PH_Bio_Picturejpg.jpgtime she has held various senior posts within the Third Sector as CEO of national organisations and also as CEO of at least two community enterprises.  She has also worked as a Consultant and Interim Manager primarily with Third and Public sector clients.  She is currently a member of the Scottish Social Investment Forum and a member of the Social Enterprise Code Working Group. She is an ex-Director of the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy and the Social Enterprise Scotland. She is a CCF Grant Panel member and an ex panel member of the Social Investment Fund.  She did a Masters in Community Economy Development and has a HNC in Socially Responsible Finance.  Early in her career she worked in the private sector and her current role is as Director of the Scottish Community Re: Investment Trust (SCRT)

Dalvir Johal 

Dalvir joined VAF's Board in November 2017. Dalvir is a chartered accountant and Dalvir_Johal.jpg registered  auditor with a bachelor's degree in Accountancy from Dundee University and a postgraduate degree in Management, Economics and International Relations from St Andrews University. As an independent management consultant, Dalvir has experience of providing pragmatic technical accounting advice and operational support in delivering effective financial reporting solutions as a result of organisational change or the introduction of new accounting standards.  Furthermore, as a Director of a long established family-run accountancy practice, Dalvir is responsible for the provision accountancy and audit related statutory compliance services as well as offering guidance to ensure robust financial reporting control systems. Professional experience includes working with not-for-profit, medium sized through to FTSE 25 companies across sectors such as financial services, oil and gas, charities, power and utilities and construction industry.