Active citizenship in Scotland top of the agenda in Tennessee for the first two Fred Edwards Trust Fellows

Fred Edwards Trust

Following the recent independence referendum, which prompted unprecedented levels of civic engagement in Scotland, the first ever Fred Edwards Trust Fellows have been unveiled as Rhionna Mackay (24) from Brora and Julian Holbrook (54) from Midlothian.

Chosen from a strong field of Scottish-based emerging citizen leaders, Rhionna and Julian will follow in the footsteps of Dr Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, travelling to the internationally acclaimed Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee to take part in its 2015 workshop week, followed by a programme of visits and meetings with their counterparts in US-based citizen-led groups.

The Fellowship is the first of its kind. It is a unique collaboration between the Fred Edwards Trust, the Scottish Community Development Centre and the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee.

Under the banner, ‘The Power of One: Inspiring people to become inspiring people', the aim of the Fellowship is to invest in key individuals, who are emerging as citizen leaders within their own communities (or communities of interest) in Scotland. The Fellowship has been designed to provide them with a springboard to promote civic engagement in Scotland through sharing the knowledge, skills and inspiration that they bring back from Highlander .


Rhionna Mackay is excited about her plans to use the Fellowship experience when she returns to her home town of Brora, where she is involved in a number of initiatives, including the Brora Community Events Group, which she set up. She said:

"One of the ways that I plan to use my experience as a Fellow is to inspire the community of Brora to join me in a food growing revolution which will ensure that all local residents have access to food, regardless of age, class or income."

Julian Holbrook is also thrilled to have been selected as a Fellow. Having formerly been a geologist and environmental resource planner, Julian now works as Community Action Support Officer for the Climate Challenge Fund, part of the independent Scottish charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful.
He said:

"I know that being a Fellow will be a life-changing experience for me as a Community Councillor, as Climate Community Action Support Officer and as an active climate citizen. I want to use the opportunity that the Fellowship provides to further strengthen my involvement with communities to contribute towards an increasing process of public engagement, particularly around issues related to climate change."

Sandy Cameron, Chair of the Fred Edwards Trust said:

"Rhionna and Julian will have the chance to take part in a unique learning opportunity through our partnership with Highlander. We are delighted to be working together with SCDC and with Highlander to help promote active citizenship across Scotland. Highlander has an international reputation and a long pedigree in popular education, community organising, social change and movement building from which we, in Scotland, through the FET Fellows, can benefit."

Fiona Garven, Director of the Scottish Community Development Centre said:

"SCDC works in communities across Scotland and we regularly meet people who know that they could be even more effective if they had more knowledge, new skills or greater confidence. The ‘Power of One' Fellowship is a great opportunity for Rhionna and Julian to develop their learning alongside fellow activists from communities across the USA."

Highlander's Director, Pam McMichael said:

"I was most pleased to meet Rhionna and Julian when I was in Scotland for the Fred Edwards Trust at the end of August. We are looking forward to them joining us in May 2015 as the first two Fellows. I am sure that they will not only learn a lot from everyone they will meet here at Highlander but they will also have a great deal to share with all the other inspiring activists who come here for our Workshop Week"

You find out more about the Fellowship here.

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