Alistair was born and raised in rural Angus and has first-hand experience of the issues faced by rural communities. He studied for a degree in Environmental Management at the University of Dundee, where he focussed his energies on rural development.
After University, Alistair joined the Scottish Government, working in the rural policy arena with notable successes, particularly working with partners on the new application for UNESCO biosphere in Wester Ross, establishing the Scottish Rural Network, Rural Innovation Support Service and the Scottish Rural Parliament.
Since leaving government, Alistair has been looking to utilise the knowledge, skills and expertise he has gained over many years as a rural dweller and policy practitioner.
Derek is a housing and rural development professional with over twenty-five years’ experience in policy development at senior government and Ministerial level, but he remains grounded in practical work with communities across Scotland to secure affordable rural housing.
He has been Project Manager, Director, & now Chief Executive of Rural Housing Scotland since 1996. He is responsible for the delivery of Rural Housing Scotland activities. He has worked with a range of communities to tackle local housing problems and has supported the development of several practical projects to address housing need. Derek was previously a committee member of the Scottish Land Fund and of the Rural Development Council.
He recognises the potential that rural and island Scotland has and is keen to ensure the rural voice is accurately represented.