Scottish Rural Action
Scottish Rural Action aims to be a powerful voice for the people of rural Scotland.
We are a non-profit, apolitical organisation which is completely independent of Government.
We are a company formed with the dual purpose of developing and organising Scotland’s Rural Parliament and supporting the development of a rural movement. Our members elect our board of directors each year.
The objects of Scottish Rural Action are:
- To encourage and actively support the development of an inclusive and sustainable Scottish rural movement that is rooted in Scotland’s rural communities and empowers and connects them.
- To support the organisation of a Scottish Rural Parliament that meets with the purpose of giving a stronger, more coherent voice to Scotland’s rural communities and enabling them to engage more effectively with government at all levels.
- To support and promote the development of a Scottish rural movement and Parliament.
The creation of a Rural Parliament is a unique opportunity to enable a stronger, more coherent voice for Scotland’s rural communities. It is inspired by the successes of Rural Parliaments in other countries in Europe.
A successful Scottish Rural Parliament must be firmly rooted in Scotland’s rural communities, developed by and for the people who live and work in rural Scotland. We are supported, but independent of, Scottish Government.
Download our Memorandum of Association.
Approved Minutes of our AGM 6 March 2015.
What is a Rural Parliament?
A ‘Rural Parliament’ is an event which takes place every two years. It is not a formal part of government, nor is it a parliament in the sense of a legislative or decision-making body. It is a ‘bottom-up’ process of involvement and debate between the people of rural Scotland and policy makers to enable better understanding, improved policy and action to address rural issues.
Who SRA are
The Directors of Scottish Rural Action are elected by the membership each year to govern the organisation. They have a range of backgrounds and interests and our current board live as far apart as Dumfries & Galloway and Shetland!
– Amanda lives on the Dumfriesshire/South Lanarkshire border, surrounded by two big estates. Amanda is the Chair of GANDL Development Group, a voluntary organisation that works to improve life in 9 local villages and the founder of B4GAL Community Broadband, a community-owned charitable company offering superfast broadband to local residents. Amanda is passionate about rural affairs and vibrant, sustainable rural communities as reflected in her engagement with the local community and with issues such as land reform, affordable housing, transport and services, low wages and sustainable jobs. Amanda attended the first Workshop in Edinburgh that sought ideas from others in the European Rural Movement and was delighted to attend the inaugural Scottish Rural Parliament in Oban in 2014
– Sandy was born and brought up on Mull, trained as a boatbuilder and has worked in boatyards in Scotland and the South of England. He and his wife re-opened a successful village store and Post Office on Mull, which they ran for 25 years before selling in 2011. Heavily involved in community development for many years, he is convenor of Mull and Iona Development Trust, which has 15 employees and is chair of Development Trust Association Scotland, which now has 200 members. Sandy is also a director of the Scottish Islands Federation and a member of many local groups on Mull.
– Vanessa has worked in rural community development in Scotland for over 25 years and managed many rural projects and organisations. She was a founder and manager of Highlands and Islands Forum, the first community based rural movement in Scotland, and worked for Rural Forum Scotland. She managed the EU funded (£750k) Duthchas initiative on sustainability of peripheral communities, the Moray Firth Partnership and the Rural Transfer Network – sharing policy and practice in rural development across the Nordic region and Scotland. She was rural development policy officer in SNH. For 7 years a community councillor and Highland rep. on the ASCC, she continues to be active locally as a director of 2 community development organisations and Chair of Highland Environmental Network. Her research on the rural movements of Europe lead in 2004 to the formation of the European Rural Community Alliance, of which she is a director, also to initiatives to promote a rural movement in Scotland and the first European Rural Parliament. Since 2011 she has worked with the Scottish Government and rural stakeholders to advise and develop the Scottish Rural Parliament.
– Maggie and her husband and work a small upland farm in Dumfries and Galloway with traditional Galloway cattle, Blackie sheep, two sows and a flock of laying hens. Thinnings from farm woodlands they planted 20 years ago are used for a biomass boiler. There are, of course, many good things to enjoy in life in rural D and G. However, despite sitting at a major junction on the mighty A75 Euro route to Ireland, equidistant from both Dumfries and Castle Douglas, Crocketford still falls into the bottom 5% of communities in rural Scotland with least access to services.In addition to being a member of Crocketford Community Initiative, Maggie is involved with Dumfries and Galloway LEADER and SRUC’s Rural Development Consultative Committee. By becoming involved with Scottish Rural Action, Maggie hopes that she can contribute to a body where all voices from every part of rural Scotland can be heard equally and effectively.
– Niall has been active in his local community development for many years based in Caithness an area far from centres of influence, and whose voice has no significant natural outlet. Niall is currently chair of Wick Community Council, The North Highland College UHI, the Laurandy Day care Centre for the elderly, Caithness Childcare, No Limits Caithness offering services to children on the autism spectrum, and vice-chair of Home-Start Caithness. He is also on the boards of Latheron, Lybster, Clyth Community Development Company, Rumster Energy Ltd and secretary to the Caithness Village Hall Federation. During his day job he is a development officer for Caithness Voluntary Group which gives advice and support to community and voluntary groups, and provides the Caithness Rural Transport services and Befriending Caithness for isolated elderly people. Niall also gives advice and training on governance.
– Rebecca is the Communications & Rural Affairs Manager for the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs (SAYFC). Scotland’s largest rural youth movement represents over 3500 members between 14 and 30 years of age and is member-led. Through her role she works to engage with stakeholder groups so young people have the opportunity to have their voice heard. This is through a range of streams such as committees, media/publicity coverage (on and offline) and knowledge transfer events. Additionally she is Scotland’s Open Farm Sunday Coordinator which is about raising awareness of food and farming through connecting the consumers with those producing our food; and sits on the judging panel for Lantras Landbased and Aquaculture Awards. She has a first honours degree in Events Management and prior to her role with SAYFC has worked on food and drink festivals, flower and gardening festivals and international conferences and meetings. She moved to Kinross-Shire in 2013 with her family where they run a livestock (beef cattle and sheep) farm . Prior to this she was living in England where she jointly ran the on-farm family retail business that incorporated a farm shop, butchery, deli, tearooms and educational centre. The calendar included regular events to raise money and awareness for local community and charity groups, something which she has continued in Scotland.
– Alison Macleod was born and brought up in Dumfries and Galloway, moved to Applecross, Wester Ross after graduating from Edinburgh University in 1983 and has lived there since. As well as bringing up a family of four sons, she has worked on a creel fishing boat, as a home-help, nursery auxiliary, barmaid and as an administrator on a submarine noise ranging base (she is not proud of that one but employment choices are very limited in remote rural areas). In 2006 she started working in community development, at first on Raasay, and in 2008 as a volunteer founder director of Applecross Community Company. Since 2011 she has been the local development officer for the Community Company, which owns and manages the local filling station, has installed a community broadband scheme and developed a recently completed hydro scheme, funded by selling shares through a Community Benefit Society.
– Gordon Methven was a police officer for twenty five years serving initially in Aberdeen before moving to Elgin where he was Road Safety Officer for Moray and North Aberdeenshire in the 1990’s. From 2003 till his retirement in 2010 he was a police community officer in Elgin and Fochabers where he was successful in coming up with several problem solving initiatives that reduced anti social behaviour. He lives in Bishopmill, Elgin in Moray and since 2010 has represented North Elgin on the Community Council where he is the secretary. He also represents Elgin Community Council on the Joint Community Councils of Moray and is their rep for Scottish Rural Action. Gordon is passionate about improving the daily lives of the community in Moray and the north east and came up with the idea for the Moray Community Awards, which recognizes those who go above and beyond for the community and sits on their steering committee. Gordon was on the advisory forum for the Rural Parliament and was delighted to attend the first Scottish Rural Parliament in Oban in 2014.
Emma Cooper, National Coordinator
– Emma has been the Coordinator of the Scottish Rural Parliament since 2014. She has held senior management posts in the third sector for over ten years. Her specific interests are in land, health, education, democracy and economics. She is a resident on the Isle of Bute in Argyll where her partner runs a small business. Emma has a (very) smallholding and is actively involved in a number of local projects, including Rothesay Pavilion, ButeFest and Bute Community Land Company of which she is chair. Emma has a BSc in Applied Psychology and a Master in Public Administration and is a member of ACOSVO.
Francesca Harding, Administrator
– Francesca has been the Administrator of Scottish Rural Action since October 2014 and previously organised our local events. She has lived in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute for the last 8 years after moving from Yorkshire and now has a young son who has a passion for dinosaurs. Francesca is also involved in ButeFest a local music festival and is currently studying towards a BA (Honours) Business Management and Accounting degree.
Chris Kinloch, Admin & Press Officer
Chris joined Scottish Rural Parliament in July 2016 as Press & Admin Officer. He has lived on Bute for 25 out of 27 years, and is involved with lots of community work, with organisations such as Tee In The Port (which Chris has hosted since 2014), Light Up Bute, Port Gala Day and also Bute’s own local radio station, Bute Island Radio, where he is Technical Director and presents his own show on a Friday. This year, Chris was involved with Butefest, and performed on 2 days at the event. In his spare time, he enjoys football, going to gigs and festivals, and spending time with family and friends.
David Sinclair, Communications Officer
David joined Scottish Rural Action as Communications Officer in August 2016. A well-known Scottish journalist (former Assistant Editor of The Herald) and former Head of Communications of a leading charity. Skills set has been successfully applied in change management, crisis communications, lobbying, media handling, marketing, events and fundraising.
Gary Paterson, Volunteer Co-Ordinator
Gary Paterson has been the Volunteer Co-Ordinator of the Scottish Rural Parliament since September 2016. Gary has an interest in campaigns, politics, and democratic participation, throughout his roles as Vice President of the National Union of Students Scotland, President of Strathclyde Students’ Union, and a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Gary has sought to foster and achieve change by building grassroots activism and engagement with political structures and decision makers. In his spare time, Gary is a travel and beer enthusiast, but is probably still talking about politics.