Holly Bannerman, Family Services Manager

After leaving secondary school I went on to study Childcare at college and then completed my Childhood Practice Degree. Throughout my time studying I had the opportunity to work with children from birth – 12 years in a variety of ELC settings including Out of School Care in the Highlands and voluntary work in Uganda for 6 weeks teaching Mathematics. After studying I continued expanding my knowledge and experience by managing a nursery setting.

I joined CALA in Dec 2019 and enjoy working with an incredibly supportive team,  delivering high-quality care and learning for the children and their families. I love watching how children learn through exploring their world around them,  expanding their current skills, knowledge and understanding

When I’m not working I like to take part in Crossfit training sessions regularly, walk the dog and keep myself fit. I also really enjoy reading in my spare time. 


Julie Taylor (Team Leader)

Hello everyone. Since joining Cala in January this year I have been on a rollercoaster of courses, meeting all my groups and getting to know all my lovely colleagues.

I relocated to the highlands in Jan 2011 and its one of the best decision I’ve ever made, not only do we live in the same village as my husbands family, It’s a fantastic place for kids to grow up. Since my little girl was born I have made great friends, all of whom I met at baby and toddler groups.

When the position for Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator came up I couldn’t believe my luck, equally, when I got offered the position I thought this is too good to be true. My little girl is starting playgroup and I was so sad that we would miss out on going to toddlers as we always have so much fun, but now with being the new Playgroup and Toddler Group Facilitator I will get to be the lady who provides the fun.

In my spare time, when there is some I run my children to all there after school clubs, spend time as a family and enjoy life.


 Eilidh Smith  (Family Practitioner)

Hello, I’m Eilidh and I joined the CALA Family Support team in August 2019 as Family Practitioner in East Sutherland. I love travelling around Sutherland meeting families and sharing with parents and carers important milestones in their children’s lives. It really is a privilege watching little ones grow and develop and I’m happy to offer my support to families along the way.

With a background in teaching baby signing classes I’m delighted to now be able to lead Bookbug sessions and baby massage classes at the baby and toddler groups I attend. Sharing songs and stories with little ones is one of the many aspects of this job that I love.

At home I’m mum to two very active mud attracting boys. Life is busy but fun at both work and home and I’m very happy to be a part of the CALA team.

Inverness Team

Samantha Rourke (Family Practitioner)

I joined CALA’s Family Support team in June 2019 covering the Badenoch and Strathspey area, after working as an Early Years Practitioner for 11 years. I love being able to get out and about in the Community, meeting lots of lovely families and I’m passionate about supporting children’s early learning and development. It’s an extremely rewarding job!

I also have 2 children of my own and we have a little shih tzu called George that we love taking out for walks. As well as work and family life, I am also currently in the last year of studying for my BA Childhood Practice degree.

Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross Team

Louise Gibson (Team Leader)

I have been involved in childcare since 1990 when myself and a group of Mums and Dads helped set up the Toybox Children’s Centre here in Gairloch. Since then I have worked setting up out of school clubs then moved into CALA working with committee led groups before moving to the Family Support Team. I cover a large area from Lochinver to Portree and love seeing children grow and develop. My own two boys are now grown up and living in Inverness. I enjoy reading and working in my garden although the west coast weather limits this a bit! As you can see from the photo I also have cats!

Lochaber Team

Caroline Askew (Team Leader)

Having travelled about a lot and had many interesting and varied jobs I love working with CALA as the Family Support Co ordinator for Lochaber. I support 11 Parent and Toddler Groups in this stunning area. Outdoors is where you will find me in my time off where I love to walk, cycle and chop wood for the stove.

My newest activity is Polytunnel Gardening, so I soon hope to be growing & eating lots of fresh veg. Children all grown up now but I have superb memories of making friends at my own Parent and Toddler Group when they were wee and I am delighted to be able to work with Parents, Babies & Toddlers again.

Language Development

Kasia Kochanawska (Bilingual Coordinator)

I was born in Poland, moved continents twice. First time to USA then second time over to Inverness in UK. This turned out to be the best decision in my life.

Firstly: Here I have met many wonderful people and my fiancé. We are proud parents to our little son who is our joy.

Secondly: I am a lucky woman to have joined CALA in December 2019, although I am at the beginning of my journey, it makes me happy to get up each morning to do this rewarding job.

I am supporting Polish families with babies and toddlers between 0-3 years at Polish Babies and Toddlers Play Groups, especially those families who do not feel confident communicating in English. As a person who moved to USA without any knowledge of English language, I can fully understand problems which they may come a cross.

In Poland, as far as I’m aware Baby and Toddlers groups do not commonly exist, baby massage or BookBug is not offered to Polish parents.

My mission here, is to coordinate help for as many families as I possibly can to give those parents equal opportunities for a good start of their offspring’s in life.

Additionally, part of my job is interpreting at Nurseries or Pre-Schools to aid communications between teachers, parents and children.

In my free time I spend mostly with my son, gardening, playing or family activities and we enjoying seeing him grow.

Riona Whyte  (Gaelic Development Worker)

I joined CALA in May  2019 as Gaelic Parent & Toddler Development Worker supporting groups in Acharacle and Mallaig.

I was born and brought up in the village of Lochaline, Morvern and moved across the water to the island of Mull when I got married nearly 35 years ago!

My husband Reay and I have two grown up children Alasdair and Megan.

I am passionate about all things Gaelic and have worked for various Gaelic organisations including Fèisean nan Gàidheal, An Comunn Gàidhealach and Argyll & Bute Council in Sgoil Àraich and Bun sgoil an t-Sàilein.

In my spare time I tutor two after school clubs and teach Gaelic singing in various schools throughout Lochaber and Mull preparing children for local and National Mòds.   I also conduct Bùrach, a senior Gaelic choir based in my native Morvern.

I was also privileged to be chosen as a member of Còisir Alba who represented Scotland in the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition in Gotherburg in August 2019.

Lisa MacDonald (Gaelic Practitioner and Toddler Development Worker)

I’ve been working for the Gaelic Toddler Project since February 2012. I look after the groups on the north west coast as well as line-managing the team. I love travelling to these distant communities and I value the friendships I make along the way. Every day is different and no two groups are the same, which makes my work exciting and extremely rewarding. It’s wonderful to see the wee ones absorbing the language and being able to support the parents is such an important part of my work.

I enjoy writing and singing, both of which come in handy! Apart from that, I like keeping fit in all sorts of ways eg skiff rowing and weightlifting… anything but the treadmill!


Christine Stone – (Gaelic Practitioner and Toddler Development Worker)

Born and raised on the Isle-of-Lewis, I left home after High School to train as a Primary School teacher – work I continue to do in a Supply Teaching capacity.  Life has presented me with many opportunities of working alongside children in a variety of contextswhether through Gaelic-based groups, after-school clubs or within the Voluntary Sector where I have served on the Children’s Panel for the past 21 years.  These ongoing opportunities and experiences have been invaluable Currently, I chair our local Fèis Ghallaibh group and act as Gaelic Advisor to Melvich Gaelic Choir. It remains my desire to encourage all things Gaelic and so the opportunity of joining CALA in February 2021, as Gaelic Parent & Toddler Development Worker, based in ThursoCaithness, seemed like the perfect, next step.  I’m looking forward to the work and the challenges.  When I’m free, I enjoy singing, writing, walking and occasional fly-fishing.