Rural Housing Scotland is a Scottish Charity No. SC031239 and a company limited by guarantee No. 216096. It is managed by a Board of Directors drawn from its membership elected at the AGM.
RHS Coordinator (Acting)
Born and brought up in Uist, Donna left in 2004 to continue studying and work in Glasgow before moving to the Middle East in 2013. In 2020, she returned to Uist with her husband and young family. She started with Rural Housing Scotland in February 2022 to coordinate the delivery of our Smart Clachan project before being appointed as RHS Coordinator in September 2023. Donna has considerable experience in fundraising and partnership-building, both key elements of the future of RHS. She will continue to work on project activity, while assisting the Board inputting in place the building blocks for the future.
Board of Directors
Dr. Annie McKee – Convenor
Annie is a Social Researcher in Land Management at the James Hutton Institute. She completed her PhD with the Centre for Mountain Studies, as part of the ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’ research team, following a Geography undergraduate from St Andrews University, and Masters in Sustainable Rural Development from the University of Aberdeen. Her PhD aimed to examine the role of private landownership in facilitating sustainable rural communities in upland Scotland.
Annie joined the James Hutton Institute in October 2010, her research interests include stakeholder and community engagement practices, action research and effective knowledge exchange, rural governance and institutions, rural community development and achieving sustainable development in rural areas. In 2016 she completed a Comparative Research Fellowship funded by the OECD, undertaking fieldwork in central Norway in order to develop understanding and lessons for Scottish land reform. She is a Trustee of the Andrew Raven Trust and Tarland Development Group, in particular participating in the Tarland Community Housing Project.
Alastair Cameron – Vice-Convenor
Alastair is the former Chief Executive of Scottish Churches Housing Action, which mobilises the churches in working towards a Scotland free of homelessness. He has been a board member of Rural Housing Scotland from its inception in 2001 and was previously a member of the Rural Forum Housing Service Committee. His background is in community development and homelessness activism, working in the past for Rochdale Council in Lancashire and Edinburgh Council for the Single Homeless. He sees community engagement as crucial in tackling Scotland’s problems of homelessness and inadequate housing.
David Stewart – Treasurer
David joined the Scottish Land Commission in April 2019 and his remit includes work on land assembly, placemaking, land value capture and affordable rural housing. He joined the commission from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations where he led on the delivery of new build affordable housing, planning reform, energy efficiency and regeneration.
David was previously involved in the delivery of new build affordable housing and housing led regeneration with housing associations in Glasgow and Edinburgh and with the City of Edinburgh Council. He was previously on the board of PAS, the planning and place charity, and a community based housing association in Greenock.
Richard is founding Director of Urban Animation, an Edinburgh-based planning and development consultancy. The practice aims to ‘animate’ and bring life to the built and natural environment. He is also a partner in Dhu Rural, a Moray-based rural development consultancy.
Richard is a planner and urban designer working throughout Scotland. He is an advisor to Reforesting Scotland‘s 1000 Huts campaign and a co-author of the SRUC’s Rural Scotland in Focus 2014 report. He was an advisor to the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group, which published its report in May 2014. He was a member of RTPI Scotland’s Executive Committee in 2016 and 2017.
In 2010, Richard was selected as the Royal Town Planning Institute’s UK Planning Consultant of the Year. The awards recognise outstanding achievement that has advanced significantly the art and science of planning through originality, innovation and a sustainable approach to development.
Urban Animation handles a wide range of projects throughout Scotland but is best known for work in master planning, rural development and regeneration, community land/asset ownership and community engagement. The focus is always on delivery – making things happen. Major projects are on site at Bowmore (50 affordable homes in three phases to date) and Inveraray (12 affordable homes and a Co-op retail store to date). Other projects are ongoing at Wanlockhead, Kyle of Tongue, Braemar, East Linton, Forres and Tomatin.
Debbie is a planning and rural development professional with over 20 years experience in the rural sector. She started her career as a Planning & Economic Development Officer at Argyll & Bute Council, where key roles involved developing the Argyll Air Services project (airport at Oban and airstrips on Coll and Colonsay), coordinating the Argyll & Bute Agricultural Forum, managing the Council countryside access staff, promoting renewable energy and community engagement. After a move to Edinburgh and brief sojourn at Edinburgh City Centre Managment as the Edinburgh City Centre Action Plan Manager, Debbie returned to rural work when recruited to set up the Smiths Gore planning service in Scotland and became a partner in due course.
In 2015 Debbie became a Director at Savills when Savills and Smiths Gore merged. She heads up the Rural Planning Service for Savills in Scotland covering large scale master planning projects, renewable energy schemes, Whole Estate Strategic Planning and Development Review and has particular expertise in planning for housing in the countryside.
Debbie is the retained Planning Advisor for a number of Scottish Estates including Scone Estate and The Crown Estate. Debbie is coordinating Savills’ initiative to provide land management and specialist property advice services to the new wave of community landowners in Scotland seeking to reduce conflict and achieve positive dialogue and joint working. She also sits on the National Policy Group for Scottish Land & Estates.
Norma is a Team Leader in Planning and Policy for Housing and Communities in Perth and Kinross Council. In 1986, Norma started work in housing as a Housing Assistant covering rural areas in the north and west of Perth and Kinross. Over the past thirty years, she has worked mainly in strategic planning in housing. Her main areas of work focus on the Local Housing Strategy, the Strategic Housing Investment Plan and the implementation of the Affordable Housing Policy throughout Perth and Kinross.
In more recent years, Norma’s role with Perth and Kinross Council has been broadened to include planning and policy for Care Services.
Dr. Madhu Satsangi
Madhu is an experienced social science researcher with a long record of leading policy-relevant research. He is a Lecturer in Housing Studies at the University of Glasgow and became Treasurer of the RHS in February 2015, after being its Convenor
Madhu’s doctoral thesis looked at the social relations of rural housing provision and he is qualified in Environmental Science and Town and Regional Planning. From the late 1990s, Madhu has led and published researched into rural housing provision, including work on rural housing associations, the role of private landowners in affordable housing, emergent community land ownership and the rural home ownership grant. He wrote ‘The rural housing question’ with Nick Gallent and Mark Bevan.
Madhu is currently Convenor of Positive Action for Training in Housing (Scotland).
Angela is currently Chief Officer of Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company who are in receipt of community benefit funds from local windfarms and hydro schemes.
These funds are reinvested back in the community through local grant giving and through investment in projects that will benefit the community long term, including the purchase of a 3 bed flat, the build of a new medical centre leased to the NHS,and the build of a 12 house development due to start later in 2020. The properties will be owned, managed and allocated by the community company and leased out at levels in line with Highland Council rents.
Prior to moving to Fort Augustus, Angela worked for the Knoydart Foundation and its trading subsidiary, Knoydart Renewables on a wide range of projects.
Wendy currently works for the North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) as the Ulva Development Manager. The island was the subject of a successful community buy-out in 2018 with a view to undertaking an ambitious development programme aimed at facilitating sustainable repopulation and regeneration. Critical to this is the provision of suitable, affordable housing.
Prior to taking on her current role, Wendy worked for the Development Trusts Association Scotland, supporting development trusts across Scotland.
Neil Clapperton has worked for a number of housing associations and local authorities in a 30 year housing career starting in tenemental improvement and regeneration in Edinburgh, moving through care and repair, development and operational roles in Dunbritton Housing Association, before taking on more strategic and senior management positions in the NE of Scotland. He was a founder member of Our Power, a social landlord utility, and over several decades has been actively involved in initiatives to tackle fuel poverty, address climate change and promote the circular economy. In 2021, he became CEO of Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, a landlord with a deserved reputation for battling fuel poverty. He brings interest in affordable heat and power for tenants, and decades of experience working to develop innovative solutions to remedy our unfair energy system and its negative impact on tenants in particular.