New Start Highland

Our work creates social and environmental improvements within our local community through supporting people, delivering training opportunities and promoting re-use.

About New Start Highland

At New Start Highland we are working towards a future where people in Northern Scotland live free from hardship and crisis and are equipped to realise their potential. It is our mission to create opportunities for people to experience the right support, at the right time in the right environment in order for them to transform their lives.See our annual report here

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The Team

James Dunbar

Chief Executive

James Dunbar is the founding Chief Executive of New Start Highland and has spearheaded its growth from a single employee in 2000 to an organisation with 70 employees and a multi-million pound turnover. Under James’ leadership, New Start Highland has built a range of services including furniture recycling, housing support, community integration, a retail chain and a commercial removals business. James leads a team with a shared vision for creating opportunities to transform Highland lives. 

He is a Director of Social Enterprise Scotland, and the Third Sector Interface. He participates in Scottish Government's Scotland Can Do Forum and sits on the Highlands & Islands Territorial Committee. He has twice been a winner of the Institute of Directors “Director of the year” award and has received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. He also led New Start Highland to win the SCDI Business Excellence award for environmental sustainability and Highland Business Awards Best Social Enterprise. James was awarded an OBE for services to the development of the economy and the community in the Highlands and Islands in the 2016 New Year's Honours.

Mairi Macaulay

Deputy Chief Executive

Mairi Macaulay has responsibility for managing operations throughout New Start Highland.  She has extensive experience of working in Social Services, plus successful management in a range of different settings. At New Start Highland, she leads and supports high performing managers and teams who deliver strong customer focused services, offer opportunities for life transformation, and achieve exceptional outcomes for people.

Mairi’s background includes working in both public and third sectors. She sits on a number of local groups with a focus on homelessness and addictions, and is currently Chair of Homeless Action Inverness.

Georgie Millar

Finance Director

Georgie Millar has responsibility for New Start Highland Group’s finances. Georgie is a Chartered Accountant with a comprehensive background in charity accounting. Georgie trained with Ernst and Young and worked for the firm in London, Glasgow and Inverness. For the last 20 years she has worked with various charities in the Highlands, including Highland Theological Trust, part of UHI, and Strathpeffer Pavilion Association, where she set up and developed the finance function. She was a founding director of the charity set up to run her local community centre, where she again established the finance function.

For New Start Highland, Georgie is committed to ensuring that the finance operation contributes to the effective delivery of our wide range of customer focused services, and supports the development of our commercial activities.

Iain Herd

Funding Manager

Iain Herd is responsible for attracting investment to the organisation. Iain has twenty years’ experience dealing in the commercial value added seafood sector; he has been the Managing Director of Strathaird Salmon, and a board member of the £375 million Seafood Company, a subsidiary of Youngs Seafood. He has extensive experience in managing complex, high value commercial transactions, particularly with the UK’s major high street retailers, and in managing multi-disciplinary food processing factories. 

  • European Structural and Investment Funds
  • Climate Challenge Fund
  • Greener Scotland
  • European Regional Development Fund