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Meet the Young Start team… Part 1/2

May 19, 2016

young_start_logo_220Ever wondered what it’s like to chat to the assessing officers who are making decisions on your funding application?  The Young Start team assess applications from groups across Scotland that aim to create opportunities for young people aged between 8 and 24 to help them realise their potential.

The team have recently ventured into the world of Twitter.  Now’s your chance to get to know the assessing officers a little better:


Elisa Kappe

elisaI’m the only non-Scottish person on the team.

After coming to Scotland for originally just one year, I’m now approaching the end of my fifth year here – and half of the time I’ve worked for BIG. This (very touristy) picture was probably taken in my first few months in Scotland.

I love travelling and experiencing other cultures, languages and especially food and have lived in a few different countries before settling in Edinburgh. In the Big Lottery Scotland office, I support our Green initiatives – from raising awareness of energy saving options to growing workshops and chilli growing competitions. Last year’s competition ended in all but one chilli being annihilated by green flies – not our most successful venture!




Julia Holmes

I’m the Funding manager for Young Start – so I’m responsible for making sure the funding decisions get made, we spend the money from the Reclaim Fund wisely and we achieve the Young Start programme outcomes!bunny

Actually, Elisa isn’t the only non-Scottish member of the team as I’m originally from East Yorkshire and moved to Scotland 13 years ago to work for the Big Lottery Fund’s predecessor. But, I have been told I have a Dundee accent! I love anything to do with wildlife and am lucky enough to live in North Argyll with red squirrels, pine marten and red deer in our garden. We may get 63 inches of rain a year and the midges are truly evil, but on a sunny day it’s like being in the Italian Lakes!

Apart from the wildlife, I share my home with two bunnies, a talking parrot, a mini-bull terrier pup and a tank of fish.  Never a dull moment!  My background is working in childcare, play and education so to be able to work on a programme supporting young people is really special for me.

Julia doesn’t have a photo to share so here is an image of a cute wabbit. 


Jeanette Welch

jeanetteI have worked with the BIG Lottery Fund for 14 years, originally with the Community Fund until their amalgamation with New Opportunities Fund.

I suppose you could describe me as the ‘elder statesman/woman’ of the team but like to think that I’m still young at heart. I still have a penchant for motorcycling, albeit from the pillion perspective nowadays and enjoy nothing better than getting all togged up and heading up the west coast of Scotland on a good day or attending the odd rally. I’m also very partial to the odd holiday – I can hear my colleagues choking from here !!!!

This photo was taken at Glasgow Airport when my colleague and I were waiting for the flight to Barra to undertake two project visits. Sadly the weather was so bad that we couldn’t land as the runway at Barra is on the beach. All we managed was a fly past, circled round and came back to Glasgow.  Still need to cross that one off my bucket list !!!



Simon DennyIMG_2127

I am now the only male Funding Officer on the Young Start team…!  But wait….this will not be for much longer as I am about to leave BIG, after nearly 10 years(!) – woah, how did that happen Eh?!  I am passionate about health and fitness and helped organise a number of health-related activities within the office, for example an office stair climb challenge. Over a 4 week period in March 2015, half our office cumulatively climbed higher than the height of Mt Everest – an amazing achievement.

I have really enjoyed working on Young Start and seeing how our funding really can make a lasting impact on the lives of young people in Scotland and will miss it and the team when I leave. 😦





Keep up to date and follow the Young Start Team on Twitter

In the next blog Elisa, Julia, Jeanette and Simon (who is now gone but left you a parting gift) will let you know their top tips in applying to the Young Start programme.



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