Arlene Cullum has lived in Argyll for 16 years and feels she has the best of both worlds.
She says: “I wanted to be near the water for kayaking and sailing, and have a house with a view so when I was inside it would feel like I was outside. The best thing about where I live, in Cove, is that I have that. I also have a great place to bring up my family. The school and shop are within walking distance and the central belt is only an hour away for going to major concerts.”
Arlene is a senior development worker with the council, which involves working with social enterprises to develop the economy of Argyll and Bute. This can be anything from providing information on where they can get funding, through to long term support such as getting funding for feasibility studies and sometimes managing the project.
At Hermitage Park, Helensburgh, the team worked with the Friends Group to secure £3.6m of funding for the heritage-led regeneration of a much loved local park that was tired and down at heel. One of the biggest challenges at the moment is working with the culture, heritage and arts sector to make the most of what they have to grow their sector, increase tourism and ultimately the economy.
Away from work Arlene likes to be outdoors. She has walked all the local Munros, the West Highland Way, the Cowal Way, the Three Lochs Way, and taught her children to ski up at Glencoe. She explains: “We often go out on the kayaks to sheltered spots like Crinan where the water can be like a pond, and in the summer I can finish work at 4pm and be on the water half an hour later – I just roll my kayak down the road. There’s so much countryside and sea I’ll never be able to explore it all in my lifetime! I volunteer in the village and was on the Development Trust but am now focused on the Sea Change Arts Festival which targets young people and families.