Elsie Normington Foundation appoints new Programme Manager

FORMER director of the Highlanders’ Museum, Kirstin Mackay, has been appointed the new programme manager for the Elsie Normington Foundation.

Kirstin will oversee the build and development of The Haven Centre, which will be Scotland’s first multi-purpose centre for children and young adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Having joined the Highlanders’ Museum as its project development officer, Kirstin played a key role in raising funds to refurbish and modernise the Fort George museum, preserving the Highlands’ social, economic and military history for years to come.

A graduate of the University of Abertay’s Business School, Kirstin rose through the ranks to become museum director, developing new business streams to secure its financial stability as a 5-star Visit Scotland attraction.

Deciding the time was now right to seek a new challenge within the charity sector, Kirstin said: “I’m very excited and honoured to be joining the Elsie Normington Foundation at such a pivotal time. I have been so impressed by the phenomenal work that has gone into the Haven Centre project already and the amount of money raised to realise this crucial facility has been amazing. I look forward to being part of this team and delivering this much-needed centre for children and young adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities in the Highlands and Islands.”

Elsie Normington, chair of the Elsie Normington Foundation, said: “I am delighted to welcome Kirstin to the foundation at this important phase in our journey. She brings invaluable project and financial management skills as well as excellent fundraising and business development acumen to the role and I look forward to working with her to realise our vision for The Haven Centre.”

The Elsie Normington Foundation was set up as a charity in May 2013 to raise funds to build The Haven Centre and earlier this year reached its fundraising target of £4 million. Ongoing fundraising continues through The Haven Appeal to enhance services and expand the opportunities created by The Haven Centre, which will address a shortage of accessible respite and services for children and young adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities in the Highlands and Islands.

The contract to build The Haven Centre in Murray Road, Smithton, is currently out for tender.

When complete, The Haven Centre will comprise three two-bedroom respite flat for young adults up to the age of 30, an indoor specialist play centre with childcare facilities, a community café, meeting spaces and outdoor garden.