Many congratulations to our member New Start Highland who now have an OBE in their midst. James Dunbar was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
James was awarded this honour for services to the development of the economy and community in the Highland and Islands.
He is the founding Chief Executive of New Start Highland and began his career in the homeless and addiction service with the Cross Reach charity in the 1990s.
He then went on to create New Start Highland to meet the needs of people moving from crisis and challenge to become active contributors to their local community.
The social issues tackled by New Start Highland are three-fold: poverty, homelessness, and long-term unemployment. James has created a range of services including furniture recycling and onward supply to people in need; housing support; employment training; a chain of retail shops; a removals service and bicycle sales and repairs.
James said “People can be written off in our culture because of a set of circumstances or some wrong decisions. Within the right environment and given opportunities, people can create a new future in their community”
Now the organisation employs over 70 people in bases from Fort William to Wick in the Highlands and delivers a service to thousands of people every year with a saving to the public purse of millions of pounds. In 2015 New Start Highland rescued Homeaid Caithness and Sutherland, safe guarding 10 jobs and all social services for the area.
James said “it is very humbling to receive such an honour and for my work to be considered worthy of an OBE. However I would like the focus to be on the people whose lives we have supported. With the dedication and hard work of my team New Start Highland continues to be a place where people can realise their potential”