Eildon and Cyrenians leaders appointed to advise on Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal

Nile Istephan

Nile Istephan and Ewan Aitken are among a group of experts from the private and third sectors to have been appointed to a Regional Enterprise Council (REC) by the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal.

The REC is comprised of a number of individuals from small, medium and large organisations across the region who will advise the Deal’s decision-making body, the Joint Committee, on the delivery of projects across the region and engage with their respective networks to provide a consensus from their respective fields of expertise on aspects of the Deal. The membership will also have a responsibility to develop closer working between the public, private and third sectors and to champion the Deal nationally and internationally to encourage investment opportunities.

Leeann Dempster, the chief executive of Hibernian Football Club, who has advocated inclusion and growth initiatives in Edinburgh, has been named chair of the council.

Claire Pattullo of Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, who has extensive experience in delivering employability programmes and addressing barriers faced by disadvantaged groups, will serve as vice chair.

Ewan Aitken

They are joined by Eildon Housing Association chief executive, Nile Istephan, and Cyrenians CEO Ewan Aitken.

Commenting on his appointment, Nile Istephan said: “I am excited to be appointed to the Regional Enterprise Council and I looking forward ensuring that affordable housing interests and the opportunities and needs of the Scottish Borders local economy are represented as part of this ambitious City Deal.”

Cyrenians chief executive Ewan Aitken added: “This is a huge opportunity for third sector and private organisations to work in synergy, helping improve our city’s economy by creating real opportunities for the people at the heat of our community.

“I’m privileged to be part of this group of industry leaders, helping inform decisions that impact many of the people our own organisation work with day-to-day.

“This regional enterprise council will allow us to strengthen connections between the sectors, learning and sharing experience to create a stronger, more inclusive future.”

The other members, who have been chosen to reflect the diverse economic make-up of the South-East of Scotland, are:

  • Robert Carr, Anderson Strathern
  • Stephen Drost, CodeBase
  • Steve Dunlop, Scottish Enterprise
  • Gavin Hamilton, Taylor Wimpey
  • Stephen Ingledew, Fintech Scotland
  • Angela Leitch, East Lothian Council
  • Polly Purvis, Scotland IS
  • David Thomson, Food & Drink Federation Scotland
  • Damien Yeates, Skills Development Scotland
  • Speaking on behalf of the Deal partners, City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey, said: “The transformative City Region Deal will deliver real, tangible opportunities for residents across the region allowing us to build a vibrant economy for our people and businesses to thrive in.

    “I welcome the appointment of this exceptional group of private and third sector leaders and believe Leeann Dempster will make an outstanding chair. Together they will bring a wealth of strengths, skills and experience to the Regional Enterprise Council.”

    Minister for business, fair work and skills, Jamie Hepburn, said: “The Scottish Government’s commitment to City Region Deals is now over £1.1 billion, providing the platform for greater collaboration within and between our City Regions.

    “Deal investment is only the beginning of the journey towards enabling inclusive economic growth that is truly transformational, and the Regional Economic Partnership approach being developed in Edinburgh and South-East Scotland provides an opportunity to build on this. I’m pleased to see that business and the third sector will have the opportunity to play their parts in achieving this shared ambition through the Regional Enterprise Council.”

    Scottish secretary David Mundell added: “The UK Government is investing over £1 billion in UK City Deals in Scotland. They build on existing economic strengths and create new opportunities across all parts of Scotland. It is crucial that each deal reflects the specific needs of each region, which is why I welcome the advice and influence of this new Regional Enterprise Council.

    “With experience in everything from shipping to apprenticeship schemes, these advisors will bring a range of perspectives to the table. This will ensure that the Edinburgh City Deal plays a crucial role in shaping economic prosperity across Edinburgh and South East Scotland.”

    The City Region Deal is a £1.3bn investment over the next 15 years designed to accelerate economic, inclusive growth and create opportunities across the entire South-East of Scotland. The UK and Scottish Government’s have partnered with six local authorities (City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian), Edinburgh’s universities and colleges and the private and third sector across the South-East of Scotland to deliver the deal. It was formally agreed on 7 August 2018.

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