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Scottish Rural & Islands Housing Conf 2019
Easterbrook Hall

Event Finished


Wed 30 - Fri 1, Nov from
10:30 to 13:30 (BST)


Easterbrook Hall
The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4TA

Thank you to all those who attended this year's Scottish Rural & Islands Housing Conference and thank you to Loreburn Housing Association for hosting and Stewart & Sheilds and EVH for sponsoring.

Presentations are now available to download.

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

Key issues covered at this years conference included engaging communities, the case for rural investment, how we can demonstrate our value and making rural communities sustainable. 

We also like to congratulate Dunbritton Housing Association on winning this year's RIHAF Development of the Year Award.


Member Price

Non-member Price

Scottish Rural & Islands Housing Conf 2019 at Easterbrook Hall

The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4TA


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Main Sponsor

Stewart & Shields

Sponsor Host

Loreburn Housing Association

Tea & Coffee Sponsor

EVH Logo


Nile Istephan  profile image

Nile Istephan
Eildon Housing Association

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

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Eildon Housing Association is the major provider of new build affordable housing in the Scottish Borders. The next 5 years will see a record breaking new build programme with over 750 new homes being provided across a diverse rural region.

Zhan McIntyre profile image

Zhan McIntyre

Zhan joined the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations in 2015 after nearly a decade in Local Authority housing policy and strategy.

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In her role at SFHA, Zhan supports and promotes the work of housing associations across Scotland and represents SFHA members to influence and collaborate with partners across the public, private and third sector. Focusing on housing management, health and social care integration and homelessness, Zhan has a keen interest in promoting the links between affordable good quality housing and wider health and wellbeing outcomes.


Polly Jones profile image

Polly Jones
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Polly Jones joined SFHA as Head of Membership and Policy in April 2019. Prior to taking up the role, she was Project Manager for A Menu for Change Project at Oxfam Scotland. Polly has 20 years’ experience working on policy and campaigns for a range of civil society organisations. 

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Prior to her move to Scotland, she lived in London and was Head of Policy and Campaigns at Global Justice Now and spent 10 years working for public sector union UNISON. Polly has been Chair of the Trade Justice Movement and Vice-Chair of War on Want. She is an expert on the delivery of public services, committed to exposing the root causes of poverty – at home and internationally, and has a record of working with others to deliver change.

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Jeremy Sainsbury OBE
Natural Power

Jeremy has over 30 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector.  He has been instrumental in the growth of international renewable energy consultancy Natural Power - the company employed just seven people when he joined as a Director, and now has almost 370 staff across 14 offices in 4 countries. 

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He is responsible for policy and regulation issues.  Natural Power work in wind, PV, hydro, biomass and renewable heat. They permit sites, carry out SI works, design sites, manage construction, carry our asset management and operations. Their control center is the largest in the UK with the exception of National Grid.

A serving Director of Energy UK, chairing their Renewable Energy Committee and a member of the Generation Committee; he works closely with The Scottish Government on policy for the renewable sector. He regularly works with Scottish Ministers on industry working groups. Jeremy was a founder member of Scottish Renewables, serving as chairman, vice chairman and chair of the grid group. He served on the SR board from 2000-2019. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to renewable energy and to the community of Dumfries and Galloway.

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Tony Cain

Now working as the Policy Manager for the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) Tony’s career includes work in both central and local government and the Scottish Housing Regulator.            

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His previous post as Head of Housing and Customer Service with Stirling Council included strategic control of customer service, equalities, communications and advice.  He has also worked on secondment to the Scottish Government developing policy in relation to private sector housing.  More recently he spent 7 months working with the Scottish Futures Trust.  Tony is also a member of Shelter’s Scotland Committee and sits and an Ordinary Member on the First Tier Tribunal, Housing and Property Chamber.

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Nick Pollard
Kingdom Housing Association

Nick Pollard joined Kingdom Housing Association in 2015 after 9 years at Argyll Community Housing Association as their Director of Finance and prior to that a successful career in domestic and international banking along with a spell as a financial social housing regulator in England. 

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Nick has responsibility for Finance and Digital services as Director of Finance and Digital.  Nick has been responsible for delivery of Kingdom’s use of Allia Scottish Government Charitable bonds on 3 occasions over the last 4 years and the delivery of Kingdom’s £85 million private placement funding with international investors supporting the significant growth path of the Kingdom group of companies. Nick has also been a non executive board member of several social housing organisations throughout his career.

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Andy Dean
Community Action Northumberland

Andy is an Assistant Director at the Rural Services Network (RSN) and Chief Executive at Community Action Northumberland (CAN). Prior to this, Andy spent over 20 years working in local authority rural development.

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Andy is secretary to the Rural Housing Alliance, a network of over 30 specialist rural Housing Associations from across England, and a founding director of Communities CAN (North East), a ‘community-led housing hub’ encouraging the development of locally owned and managed affordable homes. Andy also acts as secretary to the North East Community-led Development Network, which launched a strategy for the sector across the North East in June 2018.

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David McAllister

David promotes the work of PAS in supporting communities across Scotland, and supports the wider PAS team to deliver community-led projects around the country.

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Originally a volunteer before joining the staff team, David has helped to take forward a number of projects with partner organisations to bring issues such as climate adaptation and the voices of seldom-heard groupsinto the planning process.

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Mike Staples
Dumfries & Galloway Communities Small Housing Trust

Mike is Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT), a charitable organisation that provides support to community-led housing within the wider policy context of community empowerment and ownership of land and buildings.  

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DGSCHT are currently providing support to thirteen community-led housing projects across the region and work strategically with Scottish Government, D&G Council and local RSL’s.  This work involves long-term engagement with community groups throughout the project lifecycle. 

Mike is also a Board Member of Community Land Scotland and, prior to returning home to Dumfries and Galloway, worked as Regeneration Manager in Glasgow Housing Association. 

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