Hostelling Scotland

Board Election 2021

Board election

Candidate Profiles & Ballot Paper

Click on any of the Nominees names to view their profiles

Skills and Experience

IT, HR & Marketing Outdoor Pursuits Third Sector & Community Business Development Membership & Volunteer Development

I am proud to currently be a co-opted SYHA trustee. I joined the board in 2018, following a rigorous training programme designed to encourage young professionals onto third sector boards. I completed training in areas such as finance, legal responsibilities and charity governance and have put this knowledge into practice as a trustee for the last two years.

I enjoy hostelling around Scotland, the UK and internationally by myself, with my partner, for work and with friends. I find the unique benefits of hostelling great for a wide range of travelling and I want to share these with a wider audience. Through introducing visitors to the natural beauty of Scotland, I also believe the organisation has an important role to play in instilling stewardship of our environment for the future, which I am keen to contribute to as a trustee.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges but SYHA is primed to capture the adjusting travel market. Now is an opportunity to catalyse change that responds to today's desire for national, socially responsible travel. It's a chance to strengthen income generation while also staying true to the charitable objectives at the heart of our organisation.

As a professional fundraiser, I bring these two things together. My work, spanning national and international charities of different sizes and funding structures, focuses on expanding and diversifying income generation. I am passionate about great communication and relationship building to cultivate support from a wide variety of audiences and I bring these expertise to a trustee role. Working in the charity sector also gives me professional insight into the structural and organisational aspects that apply to SYHA as a charity itself.

To me, SYHA means affordable and accessible accommodation that makes the very best of Scotland available to everyone. As a charity and a membership organisation, its success, especially in difficult times, relies on a wide and engaged supporter base. I believe that sharing the joy and convenience of hostelling with a broader demographic is the key to securing a bright future.

Personally and professionally, I am guided by respect, compassion and integrity and I care about making a positive difference where I can. It's a privilege to be a current trustee and I'm standing for election because I believe I can continue to offer a valuable perspective in the role and contribute to a successful and sustainable future for SYHA.

Skills and Experience

IT, HR & Marketing Outdoor Pursuits Third Sector & Community Youth & Education Business Development
Legal Finance Hospitality Property Membership & Volunteer Development

I would welcome the opportunity to work as a Trustee for SYHA. I have significant experience and qualifications and I would be delighted to offer to give something back to SYHA.

Listening to my grandad (who was 103 when he passed away in 2020) and my dad retell their hugely enjoyable experiences of hostelling when they were younger, I feel there is something special about hostelling that fosters a lifetime of memories, and has the ability to inspire children and grandchildren for generations to come.

It would give me immense pleasure and pride to be able to say to my 18-month-old son, Harry James when he is older, how I played a key role in ensuring the SYHA remains in the hearts and minds of everyone passionate about exploring the very best Scotland has to offer.

Skills and Experience

IT, HR & Marketing Outdoor Pursuits Third Sector & Community Youth & Education Business Development
Legal Finance Property Membership & Volunteer Development

Coming from a large family whose parents had a modest income when growing up, we all really benefited from the opportunity to holiday at many of the amazing SHYA facilities throughout Scotland. Now forty years young and as an avid climber and mountaineer, I still regularly visit SYHA hostels and I feel strongly about the importance of protecting and enhancing the organisation for future generations to enjoy. The amazing locations and different character of each of the hostels is a unique asset to our association. SYHA properties are set in some of the most beautiful and sought-after destinations in the country. Over the years I have been lucky enough to experience and return to more than a dozen of the different hostel locations. These stays have varied from family holidays, climbing and mountaineering trips, city breaks, long weekends and overnight visits as part of multi-day hikes such as the West Highland Way.

The culture of the association creates a friendly atmosphere and opportunity to meet diverse groups to share activity plans, stories and experiences. This atmosphere is instilled by the welcoming and knowledgeable SYHA wardens and staff teams. The accessibility and affordability offered by SYHA is central to our organisation's success. This ethos is key to preserve. Everyone is welcome whether from Scotland, the wider UK, Europe or far Overseas. The bed and room rates have always been very reasonable, enabling accessibility for as wide a range of members and guests as possible. Maintaining and investing in the development of our hostels and their facilities will secure the long-term future of the organisation. In the current challenging environment sustaining the association and organising ourselves to normalise the operation across the country are the key short-term objectives.

SYHA success has been founded on the goodwill of volunteers. To this end, I feel my professional and academic credentials will be of real value to the members. In particular, contributing my experience of managing major projects and assets, working with diverse international teams, credible business acumen and understanding of robust governance requirement as part of not-for-profit Boards are skills, I would love to volunteer. In a nutshell, I personally value the history and ethos of the SYHA and feel I can make a proactive and valuable contribution as part of the team of Trustees.

Skills and Experience

Third Sector & Community Youth & Education Business Development Hospitality

"Yet so long as they live a life close to their wild land, subject to its weathers, something of its own nature will permeate theirs."
Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain

Our world is in a state a flux, now more than ever. Global pandemic shapes the 'new normal', impending economic downturn, environmental crisis looming and social dilemmas forge in response to exponential technological developments. It's all a little confusing and overwhelming at times.

This year in particular, we have been forced to explore our own landscapes more than ever before. We have been encouraged to 'Stay Home' for the good of our families, friends and loved ones. Communities are developing an awareness and understanding of their own green spaces more than ever before and this is where the Scottish Youth Hostel Association has a head start that we need to take advantage of. I believe the Covid recovery process will be long and arduous, however working with SYHA, we have a real opportunity to nurture the nations love, responsibility and ownership for, as Nan would call them, 'their wild lands.'

Scotland's landscape is breathtaking and SYHA are nestled in every nook and cranny-what a joy to call these remote, wild places home!

My commitment to enabling all people to live well and create meaningful connections is evident through my current role at The Reader. As a charity, its purpose is to enable connection, share great literature, improve wellbeing and build resilience. This aspect of community enabling (through membership and people development) is a passion shared with SYHA and one that I am deeply committed to.

I am young and relatively early in my career, however I have a wide range of operational, strategic and entrepreneurial experience within the voluntary sector along with the enthusiasm that will enable me to bring a meaningful contribution. I have a passion and deep connection with Youth Hostelling through my formative years and I would cherish the opportunity to serve as a trustee for SYHA.

Skills and Experience

Third Sector & Community Youth & Education Business Development Hospitality Membership & Volunteer Development

I would wish to continue as a Trustee as I have a much better understanding of the organisation, from a different perspective. It is a privilege to volunteer my own skills alongside people who are committed to ensuring that the values and ethos are maintained. I hope that my own contributions continue to uphold those standards, by continually looking at how to enhance and improve what is already offered.

What I believe I bring to the Board is, firstly, a love of hostelling, and a desire to see young people experience a fantastic resource on our doorstep. Running my own business for over 12 years, I have faced many challenges and also learned a lot. I've benefitted from advice and guidance given to me during this time, and I would like to do the same for an organisation I am also a member of.

Hostelling in Scotland has changed since I first joined over 20 years ago. The Youth Programmes, Rent-A-Hostel, dining experiences and private rooms, ensure there is something for everyone, and the reason it has survived for 90 years.

Currently, the immediate priorities are how to survive a pandemic. This is an extremely difficult time, so it is particularly important that the Board as a collective ensures the right decisions are taken, to ensure we get through this.

I encourage family and friends to use hostels for their 'staycation', which supports the organisation on a practical level, and to let people know how much they've enjoyed it. It's always good to hear of people discovering what we have to offer, and the great places we have for families to enjoy.

The next stage in the journey of this great organisation will be difficult, but I would like to be part of doing all that I can to offer my support as a Board member to ensure it not only survives, but thrives and continues for another 90 years and beyond!

Skills and Experience

Third Sector & Community Youth & Education Legal Finance Hospitality

I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1988, and now have almost thirty years of experience as Finance Director of charities in the UK. During this time I’ve worked for a variety of charities, some with large public sector contracts, some with a significant membership base, and some which raise most of their income through fundraising and donations. In most charities, the senior finance role is also responsible for many other areas, so I have significant experience in managing HR, IT, governance, property, and general administration. I am considered an incisive strategic thinker, exceptional financial communicator and a natural with figures and budgets, leading organisations steadily and carefully through very tough circumstances of both rapid growth and rapid change. I have also acted as Trustee for a number of charities over these years, and have recently ceased a term of office for a national UK organisation which supports asylum seekers and others navigating the complexity of the UK migration control system. I value being a Trustee, and am looking for my next commitment to be Scotland-based rather than the whole UK. I have been a member of SYHA for many years, and am a life member too, and believe that it has plenty to offer the country in future. While it is difficult to look past COVID at the moment, which has of course been particularly hard to deal with for shared accommodation like Youth Hostels, I think that the likely economic problems that will follow the epidemic will make value for money holidays strongly relevant, particularly to young people in Scotland. I see young people in a range of organisations I work with valuing shared resourcing, crowd funding, environmental lightness of foot. We have also caught glimpses of a greater understanding of the value of communal experiences during the Lockdowns, which creates future opportunity for SYHA to reconnect with a larger number of people. As a clear strategic thinker with a creative approach to finance and business problems, but with a clear ethical basis and understanding of the value of community, I would be excited to be part of the conversation at SYHA balancing the threats and opportunities which the next few years will bring.

Skills and Experience

Third Sector & Community Business Development Property

I have worked in the charitable sector since leaving university and have a strong belief in the contribution that charities make to society. I came late to the SYHA, through friends, and to be frank it was a revelation. The SYHA allowed me to access places in Scotland that I would never have otherwise. SYHA, therefore, represents opportunity to me: opportunity to the diverse group of people booking the accommodation and opportunity to the young people accessing the additional services SYHA provides.

I am an asset management professional with over 20 years' experience in maintaining properties effectively, health and safety, project management, leadership and how to ensure the future sustainability of an organisation. I understand the challenges that the future brings to SYHA but also the opportunities.

I would like to be given the opportunity to contribute to SYHA because of my belief in what SYHA strives, and achieves. I am acutely aware of the commitment this requires and I am well equipped to meet those requirements.

Board Election 2021

Validity of Board Ballot Polling Cards

  1. It must be from a hostel member aged 16 years or over
  2. One polling card per membership card regardless of category type
  3. It must contain your name and your valid Membership number as at 30th April 2021
  4. It must clearly indicate your preferred candidates for election; up to the 3 vacancies for election or less
  5. It must be received by the Company Secretary by noon on 30th April 2021

Select up to 3 nominees (required)


AGM 2021 - Please keep the date

The Annual General Meeting of Scottish Youth Hostels Association will take place on Saturday 4th September 2021 . The format and venue will be advised in the notice of the meeting sent to all members and published on this website during July 2021.