Experienced community development consultant Helen has worked in Highlands for over twenty years. She has delivered training in fund raising, bid writing and project development to community organisations across Scotland. For ten years Helen was at the heart of the regeneration of the town of Alness working with the community to revitalise the economy and empower local people to take ownership and responsibility for their community.
Helen took two years out from consultancy to lead the innovative Community Energy Scotland, Community Powerdown project. This project brought together 25 communities from across Scotland to implement initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions.
Now working on a part time basis for the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust she has supported the Trust to:
- purchase Bonar Bridge post office thus saving it as a standalone business
- renovate the post office house
- gain planning permission for a terrace of three houses
- build the new visitor attraction at the Falls of Shin, which now employs 13 people and is attracting over 300 visitors per day
- create a home energy efficiency service for people living in fuel poverty in East Sutherland
- open a community food stop to allow people to come together to share a meal, to support social inclusion, healthy living and friendship
- regenerate the centre of the village of Ardgay, the Gateway to Sutherland; developing a business centre, new social housing, a village square and art shed.
- provide the community with an annual health and wellbeing programme
By June 2018 over five million pounds worth of investment in the Kyle of Sutherland will have been generated by Helen's efforts and this is an achievement which the Board of Directors wishes to have recognised.
As a volunteer Helen is particularly proud of having established the young carers project which is now known as TYKES.