Chantal's Good Vibrations Show

Good Vibrations With Chantal Every Sunday 7-9pm

today10 September 2022 251 3 5

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Week 10 - William Smith

William Smith

William has been a supporter of River Garden from the very early days of the project at Auchincruive and has spent time getting to know residents and staff and helping alongside our many wonderful volunteers when on site.

He is a champion of developing ever closer links with the local community and the broader recovery community who have embraced all that River Garden seeks to achieve, this support has been enormously significant in removing the stigma that too often surrounds the issue of addiction.

As River Garden now looks to grow in scale and support more residents in recovery, to develop new enterprises of excellence and regenerate the wonderful site within which we are located, focus is on deepening relationships with the broader River Garden community including sponsors, funders, and opening opportunities for residents with local employers and colleges of education/universities.

He has wide experience across strategy, general management, real estate, and working across international markets.

William took up the position of Director of Real Estate at Marks and Spencer in May 2020. Prior to M&S, he served as Vice President for Real Estate, Facilities & Market Strategy at Asda.

William has a degree in Land Economics and is a qualified Chartered Surveyor. He has also served as a member of Court of the University of the West of Scotland, which has a proud track record of opening university education to all, creating new opportunities and changing lives.

Week 9 - Dr Marina Barnard - Trustee

For over 20 years Marina worked in addictions research at the University of Glasgow. She led on research examining the impacts of drug misuse on children and families through extensive qualitative research interviews with grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters and with the children of parents with drug problems.

Her research interests have always been focused on trying to achieve practical ends, to engage media and policy and be involved with support groups. Marina has always taken a keen interest in the River Garden Project and previously worked as a volunteer.

Week 8 - Alan Gorman - "Giving back to help others"

Retired Project Manager Alan Gorman, with many years of experience in “Woodworking and Wood Turning”, 

Was moved by the work of the charity at River Garden, in tackling addiction and it’s model for successfully returning people into society, free from their previous addiction. An opportunity to give back some of my skills and contribute towards residents’ journey, arose in the form of a refurbished woodworking workshop.

This would allow residents to obtain skills that they would not previously had and hopefully contribute to their future in some way.  It has been a truly rewarding and motivational experience for me to be given such an opportunity to make a difference to someone’s life.

Week 7 - Sid Morris

I currently help run the produce and garden team at River Garden Auchincruive.

I am passionate about helping others connect with the natural world around us and experience all the beauty and diversity around and within ourselves.

Week 6 - Mikael Heddelin - Opperations Manager at River Garden.

Mikael is not only Operations Manager but was also one of the founding Board Members here at River Garden. He has been a driving force in shaping the way the project functions every day.

Mikael has worked in the recovery sector for 12 years. Prior to his role at River Garden, Mikael worked for SAMH in Glasgow, supporting people with mental health issues and those in recovery. Before moving to Scotland, Mikael both lived and worked at Basta in Sweden, a similar project offering rehabilitation through social enterprise and community, where he managed one of the facilities.

Week 5 - Paul Gorman

Week 4 - Billy McLeod

Billy has a significant management background in Health and Social Care and charitable working, spanning a career of some 40 years.  He has spent his career supporting those in need through both psychiatric nursing and then latterly whilst helping develop and run mental health services in Ayrshire.

Billy has been involved with River Garden since the early days of the project.  He has a comprehensive understanding of the recovery network across Scotland and River Garden’s impact within that network.

“River Garden- a special place for all to flourish”


Week 3 - Ali D'Andrea

“My journey from unimaginable lows and despair to unbelievable happiness and enjoyment! My family – My World- My Everything”

Week 2 - Owen Roberts

‘Voices of River Garden’  – Week 2

Owen Roberts

My journey at RGA has been incredible; from the challenges of the early

days, the nervousness as I formed new relationships, compounded by low

self-esteem. It was not easy. The people here have been a huge part of

my journey, they understand me and have many similar experiences,

including staff. We grow and learn and work together.

Now I’m almost at the end of my three years. Since December 2021, I’ve

been employed as a Residential Peer Worker and I will shortly move into

a flat in the local area.  I am dedicated to continuing as a Peer Worker

at River Garden and helping to shape the project into the future.

Week 1 - Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson OBE  (Trustee at River Garden)

With a long career in the charity sector and a focus on working with young people and women, Margaret is passionate about equity of opportunity with a particular interest in supporting people to achieve their full potential.

She has held senior roles in a number of organisations including the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Women’s Enterprise Scotland and most recently the EY Foundation. She is an award-winning Director and has volunteered as a mentor, Trustee and grant assessor for a range of organisations across the UK for over thirty years.

She was the first woman in Scotland to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and her dedication to helping others was recognised with an OBE in 2017.

She is now semi-retired with a portfolio of voluntary roles and non-executive positions. She is a committed swimmer and an even more committed cake eater.


Written by: Derek

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