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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

New board chair for Cyrenians

This news post is 6 months old

The homelessness charity will see a former Edinburgh councillor head up its team.

A Scottish homelessness charity has unveiled the new chair of its board of trustees. 

John Lawrie OBE will head up the team at Cyrenians, the charity has announced. 

John was an investment manager for Scottish Provident and an Edinburgh City Councillor. 

He was awarded the OBE in 1990 and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the City of Edinburgh in 2012. 

He has many years’ experience of charitable and other voluntary board memberships, including the Cyrenians.  

Those that he has chaired include the Samaritans (nationally) and, in Edinburgh, Penumbra and Volunteer Edinburgh. 

In retirement, he became non-executive director of an Irish financial services company. 

On his appointment to chair of the board he’s sat on since 2003, John said: “I feel privileged to be taking over the Chair of the Cyrenians’ Board.  

“In many years as a trustee I have seen tremendous growth and development in the organisation, which is a tribute to the commitment and achievements of the people who have built it up.   

“Despite the headwinds we face, in terms of adverse economic conditions and the relentless causes of homelessness, I am confident and optimistic about our future development.  We have a talented and highly committed team and are well placed to make a difference to the people whose lives we touch.” 

Cyrenians extended its thanks and appreciation to its outgoing chair, Kirsty Bathgate, who served on their board from 2015 to 2023 and was chair for the past four years. 

They pointed to all the time, knowledge and enthusiasm that she brought to the role during the pandemic and cost of living crisis. 

As chair, John is joined on the Cyrenians board by fellow trustees Dr Deborah Benson, Veronika Gunn-Boesch, Elinor Jayne, James Johnstone, Angela Leitch, Ciaran McGuigan, Viv Monaghan and Isobel Wylie. 

Ewan Aitken, chief executive of Cyrenians, said: “We are extremely fortunate that John Lawrie will be taking on the role of Chair of our Board. John’s extensive experience, his extraordinary insight and his commitment to positive change in the third sector will be valuable assets to us as we continue our mission to tackle the causes and consequences of homelessness.” 



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