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Meet the speakers: Scottish Rural and Islands Conference

This year’s conference takes place on 31 October and 1 November, with the pre-conference showcase taking place on 30 October.

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The Scottish Rural and Islands Housing Conference covers a range of topical issues concerning rural housing and communities in Scotland. As ever, the conference aims to update and inform delegates of the changes and initiatives that are taking place and to provide an opportunity for frank and open debate. 

Key issues to be covered at this year’s conference include engaging communities, the case for rural investment, demonstrating value, and how to make rural communities sustainable. 

RIHAF has an excellent line up of speakers for the conference, including: 

Jeremy Sainsbury OBE, Natural Power 

As a board director at Natural Power, Jeremy leads on policy, grid and the energy transition. 
 
Jeremy has worked in the renewable sector for 30 years and helped in steering Natural Power to becoming a leading renewable energy consultancy with more than 350 professionals specialising in project permitting, delivery and management across the globe. 

He received an OBE for services to the renewable sector and community in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2013. 

Jeremy is leading a session on ‘making rural communities sustainable’ at the conference.  

Nile Istephan, Eildon Housing Association 

Nile was appointed as Chief Executive of Eildon Housing Association in April 2010. Prior to this, he held several senior roles in Scottish Homes, Communities Scotland, and the Scottish Government. 

Eildon Housing Association is the major provider of new build affordable housing in the Scottish Borders. The next five years will see a record-breaking new build programme, with over 750 new homes being provided across a diverse rural region. 

Nile will speak alongside Nick Pollard, Director of Corporate Support Services, Kingdom Housing Association; and Polly Jones, Head of Membership and Policy, SFHA; on how rural housing associations can demonstrate their value. 

This year’s conference takes place on 31 October and 1 November, with the pre-conference showcase taking place on 30 October. The conference will be held over two venues, with the meeting and dinner at Easterbrook Hall and accommodation at the Holiday Inn Dumfries, which is adjacent to the conference venue. 

Residential bookings are from £425 for RIHAF members or £495 for non-members.  

To book your place, please visit the SFHA website.