Meet the team

Meet the team

The Scottish Rural Network is supported by a team in the Scottish Government called the Network Support Unit. Find out more about the members of the team and their roles below.

Alistair Prior

Alistair Prior
Head of Network Support Unit and Rural Communities Team
0300 244 9281
Twitter - @alistairprior

I was raised in the Angus Glens and volunteered/worked/studied in the rural/environmental/conservation arena until joining the Scottish Government in 2002. In Government I have worked in a number of roles that link very well with rural development, these have included the environmental side of aquaculture policy, public participation in planning as well as leading on food & drink industry liaison.

Since 2011 I have been responsible for the LEADER programme, the Scottish Rural Network and wider rural communities policy. I am delighted that we have been able to enhance support for your rural network and hope that you can work with us to make it a success!

Alan Robertson
Scottish Rural Network Manager
Tel: 0131 244 2183



I have worked in the Scottish Government (SG) since 2009, starting in the agency Disclosure Scotland and then moving into core SG.  I worked across Justice and Public Health Directorates (“Diet” Officer if you can believe that) until obtaining my current post as Network Manager within the Scottish Rural Network.

Prior to joining Scottish Government, I worked in the public and the private sector within a variety of roles. Taking a career break, I returned to education as a ”mature” student completing an HND in furniture making and design - just in time for the financial crash of 2008/9!  This led me into SG (as jobs for apprentice 40 something furniture makers were thin on the ground at this point).

In my free time I like exploring the Perthshire countryside (where I live), buying and listening to music (much to my wife’s annoyance) and seeking the perfect pint of IPA.


Norette headshot

Norette Ferns
Website and Social Media Officer
Tel: 0131 2440 145


I work on the Scottish Rural Network website and social media - writing and adding content, encouraging contributions from people across rural Scotland and helping to share news, views and information. Please get in touch if you have information you would like us to share across the Network.

Before joining the Scottish Government in May 2015, I spent ten years in the Rural Team at SCVO where I worked on the previous Rural Network website and its predecessor the Rural Community Gateway!

I live in a small village in Easter Ross where I spend most of my spare time in the kitchen trying out new recipes!


Hannah with Douglas the dogHannah Downey
Communications and Content Officer
Tel: 0131 244 9326



After graduating in Environmental Geography and a few years of working and volunteering, I joined the Scottish Government as a laboratory assistant with Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, and started with the Scottish Rural Network in June 2018 as a Communications and Events Support Officer.

In my new role I will be helping monitor the SRNs social media channels and website as well as finding material for the weekly newsletter. I help reach out to rural stakeholders and audiences with information about funding opportunities, rural policy and project testimonials from people living and working in rural Scotland.

In my free time you can mostly find me hanging out with my dog, Douglas. We love exploring all that Scotland’s great outdoors has to offer!

Lorraine LowrieLorraine Lowrie
Rural Network Officer
Tel: 0131 244 9031

Prior to joining the Scottish Rural Network, I spent three years working for The Crofting Commission and before that, 15 years with the Department for Work and Pensions. As part of the SRN team, I have responsibility for LEADER Local Action Group engagement, looking at future LEADER policy, providing support to the Community-Led Local Development Chairs working group and supporting the wider work of the team.

I live in Inverness where I was born and raised, which enables me to get easy access to the beautiful Highlands and West Coast of Scotland which I enjoy doing in my spare time (in the warmer months. I’m a fair-weather adventurer!). My absolute passion is going to gigs and listening to music. And making lists. Even better, lists about music!