Inspiralba Team

Inspiralba Board

Chairperson – Deirdre Forsyth (Fyne Energy), Colin Renfrew (Fyne Homes), Amanda Thorburn (Kintyre Recycling), Tracy Chambers (Kintyre Link Club) Mick Eyre (Friends of Glenan Woods) Shanon MacDonald (Tarbert Harbour Authority).

Inspiralba Staff

Founder and Development Manager – Ailsa Clark, established Inspiralba, in 2009 to deliver social enterprise business development and management support for community based organisations and social enterprises in our rural communities.  Ailsa brings 20+ years management experience gained building traded income, developing and delivering services and managing contracts in the public and community sector locally, nationally and internationally.  Delivering business support since 2006, Ailsa has worked with social enterprises across a range and diversity of activities using a solution focused approach to assist with business growth and sustainability.

Admin and Finance – Rachel MacPhail, provides Administrative and Finance support for Inspiralba, the glue that keeps it all together and keeps us write with the important stuff like invoicing and financial reporting.  Rachel joined the team in March 2018 as a Modern Apprentice which she succesfully completed , achieving her SVQ 3 in Business Administration with Argyll College UHI.  Rachel brings her skills in customer engagement, leadership and coaching, providing support to our employed trainees and assisting with the development and management of employability activity for Inspiralba, as well as supporting the wider work of the team including the Rural Social Enterprise Hub .

Business Advisor – Joanne Slater, provides support on business development and financial management for social enterprises across Argyll and Bute as well as assisting with training, having joined Inspiralba in 2019 following a decision to change direction after 18 years in manufacturing.  Experience in project, strategy and financial management have proven to be an asset, and that engineer / process focussed approach is a real strength for the team assisting groups with detailed planning support and systems to ensure effective financial management.   Jo is the lead for Adapt and Thrive activity.

Rural Social Enterprise Coordinator – Ailsa Higgins, provides support for our European ViSENet project working with partners in Finland, Estonia, Romania and Germany to develop learning materials for social enterprise in the rural and community context. Ailsa joined the team in 2018 as an intern and remained with us whilst she completed her Honours Degree in Geography and Social and Public Policy, with the focus of her dissartation being ‘Exploring the geographies of social enterprise in the Highlands and Islands’.  Now working full time for Inspiralba, Ailsa supports our wider Rural Hub activity along with ViSENet support.

Rural Research and Engagment Lead – Sue Rawcliffe, takes a lead in research and engagement activity for the Rural Social Enterprise Hub, to assist us to build learning from rural social enterprise across Scotland.  Sue brings 30 plus years experience from a range of developmental and policy roles in the community sector. She has recently completed a PhD at Strathclyde University that took a long view of the role that communities have played in social welfare in the West of Scotland.  Sue has a particular interest in rural social enterprise and the role of social enterprise in sustaining rural communities

Youth Outreach and Engagement Worker – Rosie Sumsion, joined the Team in September 2020, to build on our work engaging young people in social enterprise.  This work is supported by Argyll and Bute Youth Forum and Argyll and Bute Council Commuity Learning.  The work will connect with and highlight potential opportunities for young people with social enterprise, recognising the important role many or our rural social enterprise provide via skills development and employability opportunities, as well as the specific challenges out migration of young people creates for our communities.

Digital Design Assistant – Sonny Scott joined the team in June 2020 and brings experience in video, music and design, having previously volunteered with Glenbarr Communtiy Development Association, helping to create digital media for telling the story of wind energy for community benefit .  He now works on a part time basis as he has started Further Education studying Design and Innovation with the Open University along with Music and Sound with the Academy of Music and Sound.  His creativity and energy is a real asset for the team.

Phd Intern – Cat Aitken joined the team in September 2020 on a Phd Internship supported by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science and will focus on defining a model of rural social enterprise as part of our research work for the Rural Social Enterpirse Hub. Cat is studing for her Phd with Heriot Watt University on Social Entrepreneurship & also brings experience as the Founder of Virtual Writing Retreat.

Jakki Spicer,  joined the team in June 2020 and brings expertise having worked in the non profit sector in the USA since 2007 most recently as Director of Partnerships and Development at Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed).  Jakki moved to Scotland in 2019 with her family and brings her expertise in creative writing (with a Phd in Cultural Studies and English Literature) and strategic planning to her work with Inspiralba.  Jakki provides support to Inspiralba’s employability work and Rural Social Enterprise Hub.

Inspiralba Associates

Neil Donaldson, an innovative, experienced countryside professional with an extensive background in all aspects of recreation and conservation management. With 30 years experience in the field with an excellent track record of project management in a multi-agency environment.  Previous experience delivering programme activity for Tarbert and Skipness, Kintyre Way and Argyll Wood Fuels Co-operative. Experience in providing feasibility and business planning support for a number of community retail activities, including Jura Stores.

James Hilder, an energetic leader, passionate about the power of communities to achieve more for themselves and to expand social enterprise as the key to regeneration and social inclusion. After 9 years in a variety of management roles in England, James has spent 17 years in Scotland working to develop and support social enterprises at local, regional and national level, whilst simultaneously developing a successful development trust.  James brings skills in governance, leadership and strategy, business and operational planning.

Ann Bolton, an experienced fundraiser having worked with national and local organisations to generate income.  Anne brings administrative and organisational skills gained during her varied career, with several periods working abroad in the Far and Middle East in administrative and organisational management roles, before moving back to the UK and working as northern fundraiser for Turning Point. Ann has worked as a professional fundraiser for over 15 years.

Inspiralba can also bring expertise including governance, economic impact analysis and financial planning from a broader team of partners that we work with.

InspirAlba | A social enterprise providing development, management, funding and evaluation support for the community sector.

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