About Ferrywell Youth Project

The aim of the Ferrywell Youth Project is that through a project rooted in Christian faith and values, young people in the Pilton, Muirhouse and Drylaw area of Edinburgh will be valued and supported to live their lives characterised by positive, healthy and responsible choices and have a significant impact on the community – including active engagement with local churches and other agencies.

If you need any help or support at this time – or even just someone to chat to, then please do get in touch.


According to the Scottish Index of Mulitiple Deprivation (SIMD), Muirhouse/Drylaw ward is in the 3% most deprived wards in Scotland. This applies to the income, employment and education indicators. Young people in the area are coping with all different kinds of struggles, from alcohol and drug abuse, high levels of unemployment and crime, to mental health issues, poor educational attainment and lack of stable role models.

Our staff and volunteers work alongside local schools, churches, social work and other agencies, providing a range of services to support these local young people.

Legs and shoes

Some of our key areas of work include:

  • A weekly youth group DIME for S1-S6
  • One to one support and formal counselling for pupils in local schools
  • Running Scripture Union groups and other small groups in schools
  • Drop in groups for young people in our building which is in the heart of the community
  • One to one support for young people out-with school
  • Small group trips and residential holidays for those that attend DIME
  • Work with local churches so that young people can be challenged in their faith, have a sense of belonging in church and form friendships with other Christians of a similar age.


John GillanJohn Gillan is the Project Leader since 2016. Being involved in youthwork in North Edinburgh for over 20 years with SU Scotland, he’s a well kent face in the area. John worked in residential childcare and then, after completion of his Masters in Social Work, worked in a children and families practice team for 9 years. John also completed a PG Certificate in Child Welfare and Child Protection.
John uses this depth of knowledge and experience as he leads the project and the team, working in partnership with local schools, families, agencies and churches. His passion remains drawing alongside the young people helping them to be the best they can be, through one to one support in and outwith school, groupwork and community youthwork. John’s favourite colour is green and favourite song is ‘Chasing cars’ by Snow Patrol. His most unpopular opinion is that pineapple belongs on pizza.

Erin Howieson has been working full time for Ferrywell youth project since March 2022. Previously she worked for four years as a Residential Care Worker for children and young people, whilst completing her degree BA Hons in Social Sciences. Her Passion is supporting young people in their life journeys, providing positive experiences through one to one, group work and community based youth work. Erin’s favourite colour is sea foam green and favourite song is ‘Breaking Free’ by high school musical her most unpopular opinion is that cold weather is much better than warm weather.

Jane Hurst has been working part time for Ferrywell since September 2017. After working in the NHS for 20 yrs Jane decided she wanted a change of career to focus on supporting young people. Jane has always been passionate about supporting and encouraging teenagers and has worked with young people as a volunteer for many years. She gained a diploma in counselling which she now uses working part time for Edinburgh Council as School Counsellor in Craigroyston Community High School. The rest of the week she works for FYP. Jane’s time with Ferrywell is split between counselling in the school, one to one support with young people from DIME, as well as being involved in the many groups and activities that happen throughout the week. Jane’s favourite colour is bright green and her favourite song is ‘Good enough’ by Dodgy her most unpopular opinion is that “Lidl trainers are cool”

Phil Taylor has been working full time for Ferrywell since April 2024. He previously worked as a church youth worker in Edinburgh for 4 and a half years, having moved up from East London after 9 years working for a church in Newham. Phil is passionate about supporting young people as they explore their thoughts on faith and seeking to build relationships with young people to do so. Phil is a very keen hill walker, having walked nearly every inch of the Pentland Hills. His favourite colour is sky blue and his favourite song is impossible to tell from one day to the next due to his wide and ecclectic taste in music. His unpopular opinion is that “Brittish summertime was a mistake”.


Ian Naismith (Chair)

Liz Mackie (Treasurer)

Neil Stewart (Secretary)

Fiona Watson

John Nonhebel

Zonya Bewick

Click here to view our most recent Trustees’ Report and Accounts

2022/23 Report