TWO NEW members of staff have been appointed to join the Rural Youth Project’s team on its mission to champion and support young people living and working in Scotland’s rural areas.

Alana Black joins the team as Project and Communications Coordinator and will be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the project, to inspire and develop the next generation of young rural leaders. Alana will be joined by Helen Cameron, a farmer’s daughter from Huntly who has been appointed as Admin and Bookkeeper Officer.

Together they will support the various activities created by the Rural Youth Project to develop the leadership, business and enterprise skills of rural young people, whilst encouraging positive activism so they can play their part in making rural places attractive and viable for young people to build their lives and their futures.

Alana experienced first-hand the challenges facing young people in rural communities, growing up remotely in Australia: “I grew up in a small village in central western New South Wales that has a population of 50 people and a pub – that’s it. Growing up in Rydal means I have an intimate knowledge of the challenges that rural young people face,” said Alana. “I’m excited to be part of a project that I’ve seen, first-hand, inspire and empower young people to step-up and make change in their community.”

Helen balances bringing up her two young boys at home on the farm alongside a steadily increasing sheep flock, and is passionate about making rural areas a better place to live: “I want to see rural communities, like Huntly, thrive so that my two boys have every opportunity to succeed regardless of their postcode. The Rural Youth Project will provide rural communities with important strategies to retain and support young people and I’m pleased to join the team and be a part of that change.”

Co-Founder and Director of the Rural Youth Project, Jane Craigie, felt it was important to appoint team-members that understood the ethos of the Rural Youth Project: “I’m thrilled that Alana and Helen have joined our team. Alana’s political experience in managing grassroots campaigns will greatly complement existing work and Helen’s background in administration will ensure that the Rural Youth Project provides as many opportunities as possible for rural young people to develop enterprise and leadership skills.”

The two roles are on a one-year freelance contract, funded by LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas until October 2020.