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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Charity chief takes new role at neurodiversity group

This news post is 12 months old

Sarah Van Putten joins from Befriending Networks

The Donaldson Trust, Scotland’s national body for neurodiversity, has announced it has made Sarah Van Putten its director of services.

The appointment comes as it plans to extend its reach across Scotland to support even more neurodivergent children, young people and adults.

Sarah, who joins the Donaldson Trust executive team from Befriending Networks, where she was chief executive, has over 20 years of experience of strategic and operational service management and development from senior roles held across the care and education sectors.

Over the course of her career, Sarah has served on several charity boards and she is also the vice chair for the Edinburgh Development Group and is a member of the Shared Care Scotland’s Grant Advisory Panel.

Stepping into the newly created role, shesaid: “I am delighted to be working with this ambitious, knowledgeable and expert team at the Donaldson Trust. It is an exciting time to be joining and the focus now is to sustainably support the expansion of creative person-centred and innovative services. I’m looking forward to working in partnership with organisations and businesses to further enhance opportunities for neurodivergent people and to really improve accessibility and inclusivity.”

The Donaldson Trust’s chief executive, Laura Watkins, added: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Sarah to our team and she brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience. I am confident that her leadership will help to accelerate the plans set out in our strategy to extend our reach to a wider group of people across Scotland and beyond, providing a range of services that will promote and support the needs of neurodivergent children, young people and adults. We want to build on the great work we have been doing and this key appointment marks the next step on our journey to giving more neurodivergent people a voice and greater opportunity.” 

It is estimated that around one in seven people are neurodivergent. In addition to providing support services, the Donaldson Trust works in partnership with individuals, organisations and businesses to increase knowledge and understanding of neurodiversity to improve the experiences of neurodivergent people across Scotland to enhance accessibility and inclusivity.

The trust is also at the forefront of driving change through its work with partners and Scottish Government, with the aim of ensuring neurodiversity is incorporated into educational policy and workplace practice.