Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new head for its strengthening communities team based in Innse Gall.
Jane Macintosh, who joined the organisation this month, has considerable experience of working with community projects and initiatives in the islands.
Following a BA in Rural Development at Lews Castle College, Jane was employed for the last six years as Initiative at the Edge officer in the Bays of Harris, and as the Better Neighbourhood Services Fund (BNSF) co-ordinator with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES). In her most recent post she was the CnES community co-ordinator for the Greater Broadbay area.
Strengthening communities in the Highlands and Islands is a vital part of HIE's integrated approach to rural development and growth. These activities complement HIE's work on business growth, sectoral development and investment to increase the area's regional competitiveness.
A key priority of the post will be to roll out a programme of support to selected communities in order to develop and implement community-led plans for local growth with the support of a local development officer. This service will be designed to complement the community support service and the network of co-ordinators already provided by CnES.
Assisting social enterprises with ambitions for growth is a significant focus for HIE as well as building on the capacity of communities to develop opportunities in the area.
Jane is delighted with her new appointment. She said: “I look forward to the opportunities that working in the areas will present and I am confident that by working closely with partner agencies, businesses and communities, we will gain good results.”
Archie Macdonald, HIE's area manager for the Innse Gall area said: “We are delighted to appoint such a strong candidate and are confident that Jane will be an excellent head of Strengthening Communities. Jane brings extensive experience already gained from working with communities in the region which will be of particular benefit to HIE.”