About Us

The Moray LEADER Programme is part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.

The Programme is overseen by a public-private partnership called the Local Action Group (LAG). The LAG is made up of representatives of the public, private and third sectors and independent members from across Moray. The Chair of the LAG is Alastair Kennedy and the Vice Chair is Dr Bea Jefferson.

The main duties of the LAG include animating and promoting the LEADER programme locally, assessing, and appraising applications, providing feedback to successful and unsuccessful applicants, and monitoring and evaluating progress. The LAG meet formally on a quarterly basis to review applications, always ensuring the links to the Local Development Strategy and LEADER key themes are sustained by the projects.

Minutes of LAG meetings can be found here.


Local Action Group Members

Aileen Buchanan

SAC Consulting

On graduating from Aberdeen University, Aileen joined SAC in 1988 as a Rural Development Adviser for Uist and Barra. In 1989 she changed to be a general agricultural consultant and has been in this role since moving to Elgin in 1995. She has been a Senior Consultant & Area Manager taking on office management responsibilities in addition to her consultancy since 2010. Aileen has over 29 years experience in agricultural consultancy advising on business, technical and environmental issues. She has worked with individual farmers, groups and other rural businesses, and has been involved in the setting up and running of a number of producer groups.

Gavin Clark

Scottish Natural Heritage

Gavin Clark is Operations Manager for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in the Tayside & Grampian Area. Gavin is a rural practice Chartered Surveyor who has worked in various roles relating to land management within SNH for 20 years. As well as a qualification in Surveying, he has a Diploma in Agriculture.

Jana Hutt


Originally a geologist and career academic at the University of Cambridge. After moving to N.E. Scotland in the early 1970s, Jana ended up working for Highlands & Islands Enterprise in local economic development, particularly skills development and learning. As a Trustee of Knockando Woolmill Trust, Chairman and later Project Leader, she was responsible for the successful planning, fund-raising and implementation of the restoration of Knockando Woolmill. Jana is a member of the Knockando community association and the Berry Burn Community Fund.

Dr Bea Jefferson


Bea has spent the majority of her career working for regional and local economic development organisations in Yorkshire. Her specialism is the monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes. Bea holds a PhD for work evaluating policies used to support manufacturing industries in South Yorkshire. Since moving to Moray she has become actively involved in the area’s voluntary sector and is treasurer of the Forres Area Community Trust and Chair of the Moray Way Association. Bea owns and runs a tourism business in Forres. 

Alastair Kennedy (LAG Chair)

Joint Community Councils

As well as being LAG Chair, Alastair is Chairman of the Joint Community Councils of Moray. He is a skilled strategic thinker, with the ability to engage effectively with people from all walks of life and a wide range of contacts across all sectors.

Drew McFarlane-Slack

Scottish Land & Estates

Drew McFarlane-Slack joined Scottish Land & Estates in 2007 as the Highlands and Islands Regional Manager. Drew is the Chairman of the Highland Housing Alliance and Company Secretary of Lochaber Housing Association. He also serves as Chair of Duneland Ltd., a housing development company based in the Findhorn Foundation. Drew has considerable experience as a Director of the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, Convener of the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service and Chairman of Lochaber Enterprise. He was the Highland Councillor for Glencoe from 1992-2007 during which time his responsibilities included Planning and Housing management and development. Drew represented Highland Council on CoSLA and in various European agencies. He lives in Ballachulish with his wife and daughter and prior to his political career was both a greengrocer and trawlerman.

Fiona Robb

Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Fiona is Head of Strengthening Communities, HIE Moray Area Team. She joined Highlands and Islands Enterprise in 1991, initially working in the Skills Development Team, particularly with social inclusion projects.  Since 2004, she has worked in HIE’s Strengthening Communities Directorate, as a development officer in the Inner Moray Firth Team with a focus on urban regeneration, followed by a Third Sector Research & Innovation post in the Policy Team and for the last six years as Head of Strengthening Communities in the Moray Area Team with responsibility for a portfolio of 25 social enterprises, as well as representing HIE on the Moray Economic Partnership Culture & Tourism Group, Creative Scotland’s Moray Place Partnership, Moray Community Planning Officers Group and the Tomintoul & Glenlivet Landscape Partnership.

Fabio Villani


Fabio has over 30 years’ experience in business and community development, management and leadership, developed through working in the private, public and third sectors since 1983. A highly motivated, dynamic person, with direct experience of economic development in a rural setting, partnership working, community engagement and capacity-building. Hands-on experience of developing and maintaining networks, and of community and organisational development, underpinned by a good understanding of a range of social policy issues, and a strong belief in the importance of social justice and community involvement. Proven ability to plan, develop, promote, secure support for, manage, monitor and evaluate a wide range of projects, including social research, public consultations, partnership development and community initiatives.

Alex Walker


Alex Walker, Chair, Ekopia Resource Exchange, a community benefit co-operative based at Findhorn, which invests in various social enterprise projects in the area. Alex is also a consultant working in the fields of sustainability and social enterprise with interests in creating community-based enterprises for renewable energy and affordable housing projects. He lectures widely on the prospects for a low carbon economy and the philosophy of sustainability and is a board member of Development Trusts Association Scotland. 

Erica Beck


Erica is an independent consultant with expertise in medical technology product development and project management and is currently working on a 3D printing project. After completing a DPhil in biochemistry at the University of Oxford she moved to the Highlands and worked for many years within the research and development science departments of several organisations holding positions from bench scientist to senior manager and business development consultant. More recently she graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a PGDE and spent some years under contract to the Commonwealth Education Trust. She is active within various local groups including the T-Exchange and is treasurer of the North West Grampian long distance walking association.

Iain Findlay


Laura Sutherland

Moray Health & Social Care Partnership

Jacqui Taylor

Moray College UHI

The Moray LEADER Team

Development Officer

Chris Muir

Chris has a background of working in marketing and enterprise, within both the private and third sectors. He is passionate about social enterprise and supporting business and community development in Moray. Chris serves on the committee of the Moray Way Association and is also a volunteer expedition leader for the Duke of Edinburgh. He has a BA (Hons) in Sociology and Politics.