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.

Lynn Haughton
Finance and Business Manager
Tel: 0131 244 2230

I am the finance and business manager for the Scottish Rural Network – making sure that we have the necessary funds in place, sometimes to help others hold an event or to help pay for key individuals to attend an event.

I was brought up in a small village in Fife but counted myself lucky as there were two towns close by with a good bus service so always felt that I had the best of both worlds. I now live in one of the towns.

My family background was fishing and mining and my most famous relative was Andrew Selkirk the real Robinson Crusoe. 

I was taught to knit which I have started doing again when I have a little spare time as I have some great nephews and a great niece. I love animals and enjoy walking my dogs and helping my daughter with her passion for horses - I get the mucking out to do!

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.

Don Morrison


Don Morrison
Development Officer
Tel: 0131 244 0147

Prior to taking up this role I worked with Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) for 14 years, which was split between the Benbecula (Western Isles) and Inverness area offices. During this time, I had an opportunity to see first-hand the positive impact community-based development can have within the rural sector, particularly through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

My main focus within the Network Support Unit is on encouraging and supporting the development of joint projects between different applicants and/or areas, with a particular focus on cooperation projects between LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGS). My aim is to support the Network where I can and make a valuable contribution to future rural development.

In my spare time I love to play football, squash and badminton.

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!

James Rose
Communications officer
Tel: 0131 244 3239



I will be leading on the SRN’s Communications Plan going forward, looking to engage and link in with rural stakeholders across Scotland. I will be looking for new ways to publicise the exciting projects that are taking place in rural development, and looking to reach existing and fresh audiences in at events, online, in print publications and other channels.

I am a comedy writer with previous projects commissioned by the BBC and the Daily Mirror, and a songwriter with previous songs ignored by the general population. I enjoy live music, live comedy and exploring Scotland.


Hannah with Douglas the dogHannah Downey
Communications and Events Support 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!


Kirsty CrichtonKirsty Crichton
Rural Network Officer
Tel: 0131 244 1832



My main role within the Scottish Rural Network is to provide support to the 21 LEADER Local Action Groups in activities such as evaluation, as well as helping to organise and facilitate project visits and rural events.

I began working with the Rural Network this year, having previously worked in education. I live in the Highlands with my two children and two dogs, and love spending time outside with them whenever possible. I am also currently working towards an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development.