Iain Gray MSP attended a parliamentary reception for Scottish rural leaders this week and met local businesswoman Nicola Simpson from Fenton Barns Nursery.
Ms Simpson is a participant in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme, which supports those playing an active part in Scotland’s rural economy to become a strong advocate for rural issues, and understand the rural planning and decision making processes.
The programme was established in 2006 with the aim of enhancing business performance through developing rural knowledge and political awareness to improve the professionalism of rural Scotland at all levels.
The current group is made up of a diverse mix of rural occupations including farmers, those involved in tourism and the food and drink sectors as well as vets, auctioneers, estate managers, the processing sector, supply trade and many other rural businesses.
The Holyrood reception gave participants in the programme the opportunity to meet with their local MSPs and discuss issues of concern to them and the rural communities they are part of.
Speaking after the reception, Iain Gray MSP said:
“Businesses operating in the rural economy in East Lothian and elsewhere in Scotland often face very specific challenges. It is right that tailored support and advice is available to rural leaders to help them to rise to these challenges and make their business performance as effective as possible.
“The Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme is an excellent initiative that helps local rural leaders to develop the knowledge and skills required to be strong advocates for their communities. It has a reputation for high quality training of emerging rural talent and I welcome the fact that Nicola and other rural leaders in East Lothian have been able to benefit.”