At its 2017 Annual General Meeting, the Board of SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum unanimously agreed to the appointment of a new Chair and Vice Chair.

Right to left: SURF’s new Chair Kate Wimpress with new Vice Chair Jamie Ballantine, former Chair Pippa Coutts and Chief Executive Andy Milne

The new Chair is Kate Wimpress, Director of North Edinburgh Arts, a charitable community organisation based in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, Muirhouse in Edinburgh. Kate has a wide range of experience in the community, arts, heritage, employability and social inclusion fields, having previously worked for Edinburgh’s Capital City Partnership agency and Antrim Borough Council, Ards Borough Council, and Down Community Arts in Northern Ireland.

Kate first engaged with SURF in 2014 when her North Edinburgh Grows community green space project won the Creative Regeneration category of the SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. She subsequently joined the SURF Board during a summer 2015 recruitment exercise and has contributed to the organisation’s continued efforts to bridge the arts and regeneration policy agendas.

The new Vice Chair is Jamie Ballantine. Jamie, who also joined the SURF Board in 2015, is currently the Social Regeneration Manager at Queens Cross Housing Association, which manages more than 4000 homes across north Glasgow. Prior to joining the Queens Cross team in 2016, he was Customer Engagement Manager for Maryhill Housing Association, and before that he was Head of Projects at Scotland’s Tenant Participation Advisory Service. He also holds a University of Dundee Postgraduate Diploma in Community Education.

Pippa Coutts, who served as SURF Chair from 2015 to 2017, said: “The SURF Board were delighted to unanimously agree the appointments of Kate and Jamie. They are clearly highly experienced in varied aspects of community regeneration. Their expertise in promoting the links between culture, housing and social regeneration in the front line of some of Scotland’s most economically challenged neighbourhoods will be of great value to SURF as it further develops its priorities to tackle poverty and promote inclusive economic growth.”

SURF Chief Executive Andy Milne shared Pippa’s enthusiasm towards the appointments and paid tribute to their predecessors, both of whom stood down from the SURF Board at the 2017 AGM after more than ten years of service. He said: “Pippa Coutts and our outgoing Vice Chair Jim Rafferty have been a credit to SURF and invaluable sources of support and advice. Their contributions over the years have been instrumental in helping the organisation to significantly raise its general profile and enhance its policy influencing and research capabilities. Kate and Jamie are well-placed to take up their baton and I look forward to working with them more closely.”

As the new SURF Chair, Kate will be providing a formal introduction at SURF’s special 25th anniversary SURF Annual Conference, which takes place on Thursday 31 August 2017 in Edinburgh’s CoSLA Centre. Please sign up to our e-bulletin if you wish to receive booking details.