Highland Third Sector Representative Pathway

Current Elected Representatives

Alcohol and Drug Partnership:
Janette Douglas and Iain Templeton

CPP Poverty Reduction Delivery Group:
Sue Lyons and Jaci Douglas

CPP Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Group:
Sue Lyons, Emily Stokes, and Keith Walker

Highland Council Education and Learning Committee:
Sarah Fowler and Jaci Douglas

Highland Council Health and Social Care Committee:
Keith Walker and Jaci Douglas

Highland Council integrated Children's Services Board:
Rhiannon Elder and Sandra Brown

Highland Community Learning and Development Operational Group:
Helena MacLeod and Clair Nichols

Representatives can be contacted via their email addresses below or on our Member Platform, Veryconnect.

What does a Representative do?

Effective representation of Third Sector work, achievements and interests are a critical part of empowering the Third Sector to become a equal partner and participant in public planning and decision making processes. To facilitate and develop the opportunities for Third Sector Representation the HTSI supported the introduction of the Third Sector Representation Pathway.


The Pathway is intended to strengthen the representation of the Sector, creating more transparency and democracy within the process. A minimum of two reps are elected from the Third Sector to act as representatives.


Third Sector Reps Q&A at the HTSI Assembly 2022

The purpose of a Third Sector Representative it to advocate for Third Sector Organisations at the Community Planning Partnership within policy and decision-making forums.

It is the responsibility of the representative to use their knowledge and understanding as service providers to connect with the wider network and bring that understanding to where decisions are made.


Role and responsibilities of the elected representatives:

  • To regularly gather information and feedback from sector spheres

  • Attend and contribute to Community Planning Partnership meetings

  • Provide feedback and input on community planning (informed by intelligence and feedback provided by sector sphere)

  • Communicate at appropriate intervals, and when need arises with organisations on changes to policies or planning and summarise how this may affect them and/or their service users.

  • Attend Forums (hosted by HTSI)


Highland Third Sector Interface's responsibilities in regards to the Third Sector Representative Pathway:

  • Support representatives to maximise their contribution within policy and decision-making forums

  • To host and coordinate communication mechanisms for representatives and third sector organisations

  • To provide on-boarding and training to representatives

  • Host annual representative elections

  • Host forums to strengthen networks, share knowledge, and build understanding to inform decision-making

Learn more about the Reps

Sandra Brown


“With 30 years’ experience – 15 in the Third Sector – of working with people facing barriers to participation in all aspects of society, I understand the importance of ensuring their voices and viewpoints are clearly heard by those developing policy and services. As a learning facilitator and policy influencer working alongside young people with additional support needs, organisations delivering intergenerational and befriending projects and groups seeking greater dementia inclusion, I know that it is within the enabling environment of Third Sector organisations that these voices are often most powerfully raised.”

Highland Council Integrated Children's Services Board

Jaci Douglas


“As a past rep, I have been working collaboratively to ensure the vital work of the third sector is recognised and valued, including gathering information and evidence from other third sector organisations, and presenting it to the Committee itself. I feel we have raised the profile of the work of the third sector. Only by working together, listening and informing can we make the positive changes needed and for third sector to be equal partners to the strategic vision for Highland.”

CPP Poverty Reduction Delivery Group
Highland Council Education and Learning Committee
Highland Council Health and Social Care Committee


Rhiannon Elder 


“Having been a Youth Worker for 14 years (in a voluntary and paid capacity) and am currently the Youth Work Manager at Youth Highland, my experience of working with young people has enabled me to really hear their voices and support them to tackle the issues they face in a way that they feel safe and confident in doing so.  

I feel the Voluntary Youth Sector in the Highlands is currently under-represented, which is what I hope to change by being a representative on the Integrated Children's Services Board.”

Highland Council Integrated Children's Services Board

Sue Lyons


“I strongly believe in the strength of the Third Sector. It is vital that a strong voice is heard, and that voice should include people with lived experience. The Third Sector is the avenue for that voice to be included in community planning partnerships and wider policy and strategy discussions. If we are to have fairer, better, and more sustainable communities we must have a strong Third Sector Voices at the heart of community planning.”

CPP Poverty Reduction Delivery Group
CPP Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Group

Emily Stokes


“I have worked in the third sector in Highland for 17 years now and have over 20 years of experience in working in mental health services both in Highland and prior to that in the NHS in London. 

I am currently CEO of Mikeysline, a grass roots mental health and suicide prevention charity, and am passionate about ensuring that the third sector voice and interests in relation to mental health and suicide prevention are represented and heard at wider partnership meetings. 

I feel that I could make a valid and important contribution on behalf of the third sector."          

CPP Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Group

Keith Walker


“I have volunteered and worked in the mental health and wellbeing field for the last 26 years, most recently for 16 years in the Highlands. During that time, I have chaired the Highland Suicide Prevention steering group on two occasions (8 years in total) and represented that group on the Highland Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Group for the first two years of its life. My current roles in the Highland 3rd Sector include leadership roles in mental health & wellbeing at three organisations: Samaritans, Creativity in Care and Befrienders Highland. This is alongside other voluntary roles at Macmillan Cancer Support, White Ribbon Scotland, and

Diabetes Scotland.”

Highland Council Health and Social Care Committee
CPP Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Group

Clair Nichols


“I am the Chief Officer of Youth Highland which is an umbrella organisation which supports a large network of voluntary youth groups and organisations across Highland. 

My role means that I have a good understanding of a wide range of organisations and the challenges they face and opportunities for growth. Youth Highland has led in the development of the Voluntary Youth Network and a shared plan for the delivery of voluntary youth work. This work has ensured the survival of voluntary youth work despite 100% budget cuts. I think I am in a good position to represent many organisations and groups, and the needs of young people."

Highland Community Learning and Development Operational Group

Janette Douglas


“Having been a voluntary youth worker with The Place (youth club) for over 30 years and having worked as a Youth Development Officer with HC/HLH for over 20 years means I have a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with young people. 

Having been born in Alness, a recognised area of deprivation. I have witnessed first-hand the impact that hardship has on a community and the deterioration of pockets of the community as drugs, alcohol and anti-social behaviour has taken hold.

I currently work for The Place.”

Alcohol and Drug Partnership

Sarah Fowler


“With my roles at both Thriving Families and Inspiring Young Voices I have a good grounding of the education context, including policy and legislation, and hear the voices of children, young people, and families. I am an active participant in the wider third sector, including the Children's Services Forum and Keeping Children Safe Reference Group where I meet lots of other people championing the rights and views of children and young people.”

Highland Council Education and Learning Committee

Helena MacLeod


“I am a passionate ambassador for the Third Sector and have been an active participant on the CLD Operational group as one of the Third Sector reps since 2019. It is a great privilege to represent our sector in this role and one that I take seriously. The proactive leadership and support from our HTSI colleagues enabled us to establish the Virtual Community Development Forum to create a well-connected network of organisations across Highland which has helped us to better represent the sector at the CLD Strategic/Operational Groups. It has also firmly established the third sector as an equal partner in community planning structures, thus further strengthening our position.”

Highland Community Learning and Development Operational Group

Iain Templeton


“I have significant third sector experience in the provision of independent advocacy and a background in health care for over 25 years. Our focus is person-centred and rights-based in terms of values, and we understand how important it is for us to support and influence local health and social care strategy to maximise quality service provision.

Our links and engagement with stakeholders across the health and social care sectors in Scotland are strong and our 3yr strategy aims to further develop those partnerships. Our Senior Leadership Team are specialists in learning /physical disabilities, autism, ASL, ACE and trauma.”

Alcohol and Drug Partnership