Helping it Happen - Supporting Rural Success Helping it Happen - Supporting Rural Success Helping it Happen - Supporting Rural Success

Helping It Happen 2017 National Awards Judges

Simon Power – Estate Manager, MacRobert Trust


Simon is the Estate Manager for the MacRobert Trust

The MacRobert Trust performs three roles: it is a dynamic charity, it is the owner of an historic legacy and it is a forward-thinking landlord with a large and vibrant estate to manage.

In addition to managing an estate covering 7,200 acres of farm and woodland, the MacRobert Trust operates Douneside House, which provides facilities to support entitled serving and retired officers of the armed forces and their families.

"I support the awards because I believe it is time that rural estate businesses receive the recognition that they deserve for the significant contribution they make in co-operating with the communities they co-exist with in a wide range of activities; this also applies to the work that many rural estate businesses undertake to protect and enhance the biodiversity and landscape under their management and the welcome they provide to visitors to their areas.  I am delighted to be able to take part in judging; I am sure that it will be challenging to agree the winners in each category."

John Glen – Chief Executive, Buccleuch


John is the Chief Executive of the Buccleuch Group, responsible for the diverse range of businesses owned by the Buccleuch family covering land management, tourism and hospitality, property, renewables, and business development.

Alongside his work at Buccleuch, John is vice-chair for both Scottish Forum on Natural Capital and the 2020 Climate Change Group, working with the Scottish Government and public and private sector bodies to help Scotland achieve its climate change targets.

John is also a member of the Board for Project Scotland, a national charity which helps people aged 18 to 30 to realise their potential through volunteering by creating partnerships between businesses, the voluntary sector and government.

Julia Latto – Project Manager in the Rural Operations Team, Scottish Enterprise


A native of Hawick, Julia joined Scottish Enterprise (SE) in 1995 following a career in the Textiles industry. Julia’s career over the past 22 years has seen her involved in a number of areas within the organisation including PA/office management, event management, stakeholder/relationship management and project management. Since 2009 Julia’s portfolio has included designing and managing the Rural Leadership and Harvesting the Growth Programmes and associated alumni activities as well as looking for new opportunities to add value across SE’s rural economic development activities.

Passionate about leadership development and economic growth, during 2013/14 Julia was a visiting Researcher at Edinburgh University looking at rural leadership and collaboration. In 2016 Julia graduated with a BA in Business and Enterprise from Edinburgh Napier University.

Julia travels extensively as part of her role (both in the UK and internationally) to learn and share best practice on rural leadership and economic growth. She is a member of the International Association of Programmes for Agriculture and Rural Leaders and various other networking groups relating to rural economic development.

"Julia is delighted to be supporting the Helping It Happen Awards and be part of the judging panel. With over 20 years experience in economic development and supporting an alumni of over 450 ambitious business leaders as part of her role in managing Scottish Enterprise’s Rural Leadership Programme, Julia is particularly keen to see innovative examples of landowners on estates and farms driving economic growth, creating jobs and benefiting the wider rural community."

Alan Laidlaw – Chief Executive, RHASS


Alan is Chief Executive of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).

RHASS are a charitable organisation supporting farmers and rural business throughout Scotland. The charity distributes over £100,000 in awards and grants each year, as well as facilitating outdoor learning for school children through their education charity, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET). RHASS are perhaps best known as the organisers of the Royal Highland Show; an annual 4 day country and agriculture show featuring livestock, show jumping, forestry, flowers, and food and drink.

Prior to joining RHASS in July 2016, Alan worked at the Crown Estate, joining them in 2005 as Head of New Business Development before being promoted to Head of Property for the Scotland Portfolio in 2016. Alan is currently a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference.

"There are so many great initiatives going on in rural Scotland that often go unseen. The Helping It Happen awards are a great opportunity to celebrate landowners, farmers and businesses working together to make our rural economy thrive.  I am delighted to be involved in recognising those who work hard to get new ideas off the ground."

David Whiteford


David is the Chair of the North Highland Initiative (NHI), an organisation established in 2005 to bring together the farming community, local businesses and the tourism industry to address some of the challenges facing rural communities in the far north of Scotland.

As part of the overall objective of the organisation, NHI operates across three key industries in the North Highlands; tourism, food and drink and built environment. The primary tourism project which NHI is working on is called “The North Coast 500”. This is a northern coastal route way designed to attract visitors to the Northern Highlands. The route links spectacular natural heritage and scenery and celebrates the local food and drink, accommodation, retail/arts/crafts and attractions. The route runs from Inverness, along the west coast, via the rugged north coast. 

David is also Chair of Scotland’s Food and Drink Hub, a company formed to help small and medium sized food producers from all over Scotland access existing markets more efficiently as well as helping them explore new opportunities.

David lives at Castlecraig in Easter Ross where, along with his brothers he manages a farming business that extends to some 1100 hectares. Together they farm cereal crops, Cattle, Sheep and Pigs.

"these awards are hugely important as they encourage collaboration between land owners and their communities, creating sustainable employment opportunities and foster a more harmonious environment in remote and rural areas"

Lucy Beattie


Lucy is the owner of Leckmelm Estate, near Ullapool in the north-west of Scotland.

As well as being a working farm and a prime holiday destination on the shores of Loch broom, Leckmelm is a living, working community that has been in existence long before Ullapool. Currently there are 11 families who live on the estate, totalling 22 adults and 13 children.

Lucy is a previous winner of our first-ever Highlands and Islands Region Chairman’s Helping It Happen Award, which recognised the exceptional assistance Lucy has been providing to help pupils from Ullapool High School gain a Rural Skills Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) since 2007.

Under the guidance of West Highland College and Ullapool High School, the pupils have particpated in a variety of traditional rural skills, animal handling and estate maintenance tasks as part of their National Qualifications.

"These awards represent a chance to celebrate the unknown heroes of the communities in which they work.  I am passionate about the role of land management, agriculture and community development within rural Scotland.  I am greatly honoured to be on the judging panel and am particularly looking forward to exploring the diversity of land use and the people who manage land for the benefit of their local area."



« Back to homepage