Who we are

A small team of Charity Trustees and an ‘Operations Team’ (previously known as the Core Group), ensure MAC-CAN runs smoothly as a grass-roots organisation; all Trustees and Core Group are volunteers and give their time, skills and knowledge to contribute to the decision-making required. 

 

The Trustees, for example, put together the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) application so that MAC-CAN would be on a stronger foot to continue to develop and work on action for climate change, they discuss what projects and organisations MAC-CAN supports and provide encouragement and support for individuals and groups to put their climate action ideas in to practice. 

 

MAC-CAN was successfully registered as a SCIO on 25th August 2022. Our charity number is SC051955

In 2023 MAC-CAN was successful in receiving funding from Awards for All to employ someone for a year as a coordinator, and in January 2024 following a successful interview we hired our first paid freelance employee!

Meet our Coordinator

Joining the MAC CAN team in the role of Coordinator is an exciting opportunity for me. I firmly believe in a can-do attitude regarding climate change, and that education is key to enabling individuals to do what they can to help protect the environment. MAC CAN’s aim’s and objectives align with my personal values and I am looking forward to being part of the team and getting involved on a local level.

Prior to starting my degree in 2002, I worked in a variety of finance positions, studying in my own time to become a qualified accountant. At 27 I instigated a lifestyle and career change so I could align my work with my personal values, this was a very positive move for me. I left employment to go to university and study Outdoor & Environmental Education full-time, the mountains, rivers, forests, lakes and seas have since become my motivation and my challenge.

Since graduating in 2005, I have worked in various sectors within the outdoor education field, using outdoor education to help others develop personally and socially. I feel passionate about helping others in their own personal development and becoming the best version of themselves possible. I am environmentally motivated and feel strongly about ensuring that the environment I love will still be here for generations to come.

Christy Miles

I am not only passionate about helping others develop, I also constantly enjoy challenging and pushing myself personally and professionally. I have previously worked as an Outdoor practitioner and Youth Workerfor various organisations and charities. I have experience in the Learning & Development field and have also been responsible for the event management and delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver & Gold Award Expeditions, and also delivered various Adult outdoor training courses. I am an experienced trainer/tutor and qualified teacher, with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. I am also highly skilled in coaching, training facilitation, event management, team building facilitation, and team leadership. I have also previously volunteered as a climate activist, with Extinction Rebellion in the North West of England. I moved to the area in 2020 and have spent some time setting up my own business, Way of the Wild, using outdoor experiences to provide individuals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to enjoy the outdoor environment sustainably and safely. I am a trained Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Guide and love introducing people to the beautiful area we live in.

(from left to right) MAC-CAN Core Group in 2021 

Scott Jones, Anne Connick, George Pattison, Mary Pattison, Nick Walker, Jenna Cains and Julia Farrington. 

Not pictured is Jennifer Hendry…. she was probably taking the photo! 

We hear you scratching your heads a bit and pondering……

‘What’s the difference between a Trustee and an Operations Team member…..?’

Well, a Trustee is just that, and it is a role that is prescribed and must follow the official Charity regulations.

Trustees are sometimes a part of the Operations Team, which meets regularly every month. Alternatively, Operations Team members don’t actually need to be Trustees and can be members of MAC-CAN or other interested parties with local climate action at heart.

Everyone involved can contribute with activities, ideas etc. within MAC-CAN.

All contributions and suggestions are very much welcome. 

If you would like to join in with your local climate action network, as an individual or group….

Meet the current team
- Trustees & Operations -

Mary Pattison is the lady that made MAC-CAN happen! We wouldn’t be where we are today without her drive and passion. 
 
In November 2022 she became Chair of MAC-CAN and is a very active member, sitting on the Trustee board and Operations Team.  
 

You’ll find more information about her and what she gets up to throughout this website! 

Helen Wollaston 

I share a smallholding in the Galloway Forest close to Newton Stewart with my partner, two Siamese cats, red squirrels, hares, badger, fox, deer and other wildlife. We aim to be as self sufficient as we can in fruit and veg. Last year growing our own celery was a first – this year’s challenge is sweetcorn.

 

Some of my favourite activities:

  • Turning compost heaps
  • Making soup and salads from my own produce
  • Finding new uses for stuff that would otherwise go to landfill
  • Sharing hints and tips with folk who care about these things – which includes everyone involved in MAC-CAN

Inspired by Lucy and Sheralyn, I help organise crop swaps in Newton Stewart and Minnigaff. At the 2023 AGM, I joined MAC-CAN trustees to support more activities to do something positive for the environment and local community.

 

My main work these days is on the smallholding, but I sit on two other boards whose missions are close to my heart. Zero Waste Scotland (www.zerowastescotland.org.uk), Scotland’s lead agency for the circular economy and Phoenix Futures (www.phoenixfutures.org.uk), a charity supporting people’s recovery from alcohol and drug addiction

Hi! I’m Fiona!

I am an ex-primary school teacher, living in Creetown with my husband, and 2 cats. I work very part-time in a children’s bookshop in Wigtown.

 

I am a creative person and very part-time artist. I enjoy watching wildlife; from birds and hedgehogs in my garden to the wildlife around Dumfries and Galloway. I have a special interest in Corvids.

 

I have a strong interest in action on climate and am a climate activist with Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil. I am trained to deliver Carbon Literacy accredited training.

 

I’m am a MAC-CAN member, as part of my interest in building community, I have been involved in organising the first Apple Day in Creetown which I hope will become an annual event. I have been a Trustee and am a member of the Operations Team which runs MAC-CAN. 

 

In 2023 I also started the Clothes Swaps that happen regularly in the area. 

George Pattison, Mary’s husband is a very experienced and practical member of the Board of Trustees and Operations Team. 

 

Like Mary, please see more about him throughout this website! 

Joining me in the picture is my co-adventurer, Darcy the Beagle.

Hi! I’m Jenna, I moved to D&G in 2021 and became involved with MAC-CAN pretty much straight away. 

 

 

My background includes a lot of environmental education for schools, Forest School leader and community engagement, and I have been working for environmental and social charities for many years. 

 

 

I have always been environmentally conscious and believe that action starts with ourselves. I am now on my third consecutive no-buy year (that means not buying anything non-essential) and encourage everyone to do the same!

 

 

I enjoy being part of MAC-CAN because it’s good to know there are so many other people around locally who have the same environmental consciousness and drive to take both personal and wider action. 

 

 

I am involved in the Operations Team at MAC-CAN. 

Hi, I’m Lucy and I am a member of the MAC-CAN Operations Team; you’ll usually find me in wellies, outside and probably with leaves in my hair and dirt under my fingernails!

 

 

I was aware of local climate action being an idea and then a group was ‘officially/ formed when we moved up to the area a couple of years ago. I wasn’t well enough to get involved straight away but since 2021 I have attended a few MAC-CAN events (the Apple Day at the end of the year was the first!)  and since then I have been involved more, specifically helping out with the communications side of things and this website. 

 

 

I’ve always been interested in nature and the environment. Since moving into the DG8 area I have actively become involved in more sustainable food growing and gardening (in my garden) and am really interested in what other’s are doing in the area. It’s been really nice to connect with other growers and sustainable gardeners. I like trying new things and ways of doing things, especially if it is repurposing objects and using natural materials, like local, ‘waste’ wool. 

 

I always have lots of ideas and hope I can help with MAC-CANs goals in whatever ways I can – it’s great that I get to use my creativity for such a worthwhile group and cause. 

 

Often, people think they can’t do anything about climate change – or they simple don’t bother – which is such a shame, and just not true. Everyone can do something positive for themselves, their communities and the environment, even if it’s just picking up a piece of litter in the street, or simply reducing their meat consumption.

 

MAC-CAN helps bring like-minded people together and is a great way of meeting others, learning new skills and finding out about local opportunities to get involved in things. 

 

2021 was when I really started getting actively involved with MAC-CAN, as I had been aware of it starting up and was very keen. I generally help by using my creative and media skills to make posters and that sort of thing, as well as with MAC-CAN’s social media and this website! 

 

 

In general I take an active interest in what is going on locally specifically with relevance to food and sustainability, and it is great to see that things are going on in my area! I am even one of the people that make some of these things happen, like the South Machars Crop Swaps and Machars Abundance. 

 

WATCH THIS SPACE – who is going to be filling it?

Dr Scott Jones is a restoration ecologist with previous lives working as a pilot and as a community and hospice nurse. He now works in the British Isles and overseas on various long-term projects, mostly about sustainability and livelihoods. 

He is co-director of Creetown-based Mind the Gap Research and Training and a part-time associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Oslo New University College, Norway. 

 

 

Scott’s main work areas are:
– Conflict analysis and management: mainly natural resources and
environmental conflicts; and gendered aspects of conflict
– Environmental restoration of Afromontane forests
– Coaching: personal and professional development
– Programme and project management
– Organisational change

 

Scott has been the Chair of MAC-CAN for basically the organisation’s entire life, but at the first AGM as a SCIO in November 2022, he took a step back from the helm and let someone else step on board and chair the (now) Board of Trustees.. but he remains a valued Trustee and has been involved as part of the Operations Team.


Does climate change affect the flowers you are able to grow?

“Knowing other flower growers are doing similar climate sensitive growing is reassuring and by growing organic flowers locally we can reduce the climate implications from imported and plastic wrapped flowers found in supermarkets etc.

I focus more on perennials as they are less intensive and more climate sustainable than annuals which need to be replaced every year”.

 

Have you seen any changes in the kinds of cut flowers you are able to grow over the years?

“There is an extending growing season, and I can now grow a greater variety of flowers due to the warmer climate”.


How important is it to have sustainable, local and seasonal products available and why?

“It is massively important. The very core of my business is to prioritise sustainability and provide an eco-friendly product as opposed to supermarket flowers which have a larger carbon footprint and environmental impact. Profits are secondary to the environmental benefits.”

Gill long-time MAC-CAN member, past Trustee, member of the Operations Team and leader on The Croft project has sustainability always close to her heart, especially when it comes to running her local land-based business.  

 

 

Where and how do you grow flowers?

“I grow the flowers in my back garden using organic wool-based compost. “

 

 

What made you start growing cut flowers?

“I worked as head gardener on an estate in Aberdeenshire and a large part of my job was growing flowers for cutting. I realized this was a great resource for pollinators and felt I could supply more sustainable cut flowers to local communities”.

 

What tip can you give to anyone wanting to try growing their cut flowers in the Machars area?

“Don’t have high expectations of quick profits as the profit margins are small. Get experience in marketing as it takes considerable time and resources to properly market your business. You don’t need a lot of space to grow flowers for cutting so it can be done almost anywhere, space is not necessarily a restriction.

Know your customer base. I know my customers,and most will return the paper and string used for recycling. Also grow what is fashionable and most desirable for your local customers.”

What inspired your designs and ideas for the MAC-CAN croft?

The inspiration for the Croft design came about through a communal decision. It was heavily based on the geography of the area and the features that were already in place. For example, the pond was already in place and fruit trees had been previously planted so these areas were kept the same and expanded upon, there was also an area of flat ground that was ideal for the no dig bed.

 

What are the benefits of having such a local food growing / sustainable gardening project?

The benefits of having this project include many things including:

  • Local grown food for the community
  • Sustainable grown food
  • Organic grown with no chemicals
  • Less impact on the environment and less expense for people as its local and no transport is needed
  • Education for anyone who joins in
What tips can you share for any other groups or communities who are wanting to set up something similar?

Tips for anyone wanting to set up something similar include:

  • Have a plan in place before anything else
  • Assess funding early on to avoid complications later
  • Create a programme of activities to keep interest and to avoid feeling lost / not knowing what’s next
  • Have a goal to work towards
  • Ensure some sort of waterproof area / shelter to avoid rain in wet months and keep equipment safe
  • Have a place where everyone can gather to plan and have general discussions

MAC-CANNer Nicola

Who helped design The Croft, is an active Croft volunteer, a MAC-CAN Trustee, Treasurer and member of the Operations Team! 

How do you think the Croft will develop over time to reflect changes in climate?

The belief is that the Croft will continue to grow organically. Discussions for what can be done to tackle the changes in climate will likely take place. Changes in weather could affect the Croft as we are already seeing drier summers which could require the need to plan irrigation systems or water capture systems in order to compensate for this.

 

How do you think the Croft benefits the local community?

The benefits to the local community include:

  • Food Production
  • Wildlife benefits (pond life can already be seen and swallows frequent the Croft)
  • Education
  • Seed swaps / plant swaps (Local plants that are known to be successful in area)
  • Social benefits as it creates friendships between people

WATCH THIS SPACE – who is going to be filling it?

Join in with other MAC-CANers!

MAC-CAN is all about what people like YOU can do for each other, their communities, their local area, nature and the environment.  

Here you can virtually ‘meet’ some of us who are involved in the group ….. and find out what is important to them! 

I’m Jacqueline, originally from Manchester, married with two adult sons; I am a retired mental health nurse now living in Port William. I have been involved in MAC-CAN since the outset and the initial interest meeting – which seems like years ago now! I joined due to increasing interest and concern about our environment, the planet in general and a desire to learn more about what I can do as an individual. We also have a six year old granddaughter and want her to enjoy life, a future and all that planet Earth brings. 

I mostly volunteer at The Croft in Whithorn on a Wednesday. I am not a gardener, I’m a novice with regards plants, growing ‘stuff’ and food sustainability in general. I am physically fit just now, willing an able, keen to learn and have some time – so that is what I can give to MAC-CAN! 

I am keen to learn more and being around folks at MAC-CAN who know more than me is really beneficial. I’m learning lots and have even started growing my own tomatoes this year with the help and support of those in MAC-CAN who also support The Croft.. woop woop…. I now have lots of fruit on the tomato plants and my first tomato is almost ready to eat (June)!

 

 

Being part of MAC-CAN opens up lots of things for me and is helping me increase my awareness of many issues facing us all and how to try and reduce the human impact on our planet. I have met some fantastic people IO wouldn’t have met otherwise. The conversations we have lead us down all kinds of paths, which again increases my awareness. I can then share information with other people in my life, including our granddaughter, who by the way in turning in to a right little eco-warrior! 

 

 

Aside from MAC-CAN I’m involved and volunteer with many other organisations and do lots to keep busy including litter picking, beach cleaning. local milestone restoration. paddle boarding. costal rowing,. running and generally messing about locally! I have a tortoise called Lucy who is now 51 years old and could potentially live to be 125…. all the more reason to continue to try and save our planet as she will outlive me! 

 

I drive a wee pink car I call ‘dinky pinky’. absolutely love her but it means I can’t get away with anything locally, I’m very conspicuous … everyone knows her! 

Hi, I’m Anne!

I have been heavily involved in the background workings of MAC-CAN, working as the main contact when someone got in touch via email or through the website. I was part of the Operations Team and Communications sub-group, creating the newsletters – so you’ve probably heard from me a few times! 

 

I stepped back from all this in 2023, and am enjoying my time as a member of MAC-CAN and exploring different, related, projects to help protect nature and the environment in the area. 

 

 

I’ve supported the set-up of MAC-CAN since it pretty much got started in lots of different ways (probably too many to list!). I have a background and love of nature and wildlife and have a day job protecting the environment.

 

 

But I also have two children, and I fear for what kind of world us humans are creating for them. Like a lot of others, I joined MAC-CAN to meet like-minded people who also want to make a difference, and to join forces to do as much as I can to be the positive change in the world that I would like to see.

MAC-CAN members Chris and Elizabeth share what they do to mitigate the negatives of fast fashion and how to buy and wear clothes more wisely. 

 

Chris answers

You both have a passion for sustainable fashion is that right?

“We strongly believe in getting the best out of your clothes by repairing them, repurposing them and buying longer lasting clothes. We also believe in bringing back traditional skills and teaching people how to repair their clothes via my YouTube channel.”

 

Why do you repair clothes?

“The modern fast fashion culture is more wasteful and damaging to the climate. Cheap clothes need replaced more often and are often made in inhumane conditions with little regard to climate impact. Nylon and synthetic clothes don’t break down and thus add to the trash in landfills and microplastics in the ocean.

It is our hope that by repairing clothes we are being more sustainable. Looking after our clothes instead of needing to buy new ones makes economic sense.”

 

 

What brought you to MAC-CAN and what do you get out of it?

“We met Mary & George through bee keeping. We were invited to be part of MAC-CAN and enjoy the social aspect of meeting other likeminded people and learning from each other. As a local group we fell we can impact on food sustainability and climate action.”

Elizabeth Answers

You also repair your own clothes, is that right?

“Yes, I upcycle and repair clothes making a clear distinction between working clothes and clothes to wear when out. So, we repurpose old clothes for working.”

 

You were a nurse; do you use the same stitches to repair clothes as you would at the hospital?

“I was a nurse who loved being in the theatre particularly when they did sutures so I can use the same stitch work when repairing clothes”

 

What do you enjoy about MAC-CAN?

“I Enjoy MAC_CAN because I ideas from our new friends and we can trade and reuses materials that others have no further use for, including recycling the long Cream of Galloway ice tubs as feeding troughs for our pet ducks.

We are keen to teach others the true cost of fashion from the production of resources, manufacturing the clothes, the transport, the marketing, the wearing and the disposal all of which have some environmental and social cost.”

The brains behind the creation and a duo of tremendous momentum for the entire group, long-time supporters of sustainable living, George and Mary, share a bit of the history and their ideas for MAC-CAN. 

 

Why did you start what has become MAC-CAN?

“We were always concerned with the environment and have seen directly the decline of wildlife and change in climate in our lifetime. The group started as a result of wanting to take meaningful action at a local level to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

 

What prompted you to set aside some of your space for the Croft Project?

“Before lockdown we met in the local town hall to discuss climate action but due to Covid could no longer use this space. We decided to use our garden as the space to discuss climate action and not long after that we agreed to let the group use the garden for food and flower growing. The group helps keep the garden and teach each other green skills to boot.”

What are the most important climate challenges that local people face?

Affordable nutritious food free of pesticides could become a huge issue as the climate changes and external threats pop up.

Fuel poverty could also be a big problem as many buildings in the area are old and may not retain heat as well. The need for insulation is high and in the current economic climate that is difficult for many to purchase and install. The rise in fuel prices will see this worse off and if our winters get colder through climate change many may not be able to cope.

There are also issues that may arise due to the drier summers and droughts may become common making irrigation important for growers.

 

How do you see climate action developing in Scotland?

As of right now we don’t see much evidence of huge things happening.

As things develop, we believe we will see an exponential growth in food focus (especially regenerative food practices) as we do not believe it is sustainable to keep importing food, especially out of season food. A local food growing increase is likely to be the answer and people to grow some of their own produce.

Different food groups seem to be doing good things and we hope this continues to develop and expand.

 

Changes in transport are a big one as especially in this area public transport is lacking and is impractical to work around. Changes may be necessary in the way we move around; car sharing could become much more popular.

Education is key as if people are aware of the issues, they are more likely to act in the interest of the climate. With more like-mindedpeople, it will be easier to get things done and make an impact.

Regular Croft volunteer, and was the lead in the polytunnel growing at The MAC-CAN Croft,  


Lynn

Can you tell me a bit about yourself such as your career?

“I was a community drama teacher in a devised theatre but soon saw the therapeutic benefit people got from the experience and got training in therapy.”

 

Why did you join MAC-CAN?

“On moving up here I met George and Mary in the local music group and was invited to join MAC-CAN.

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and was initially interested in garden therapy though that hasn’t yet materialized. I enjoyed meeting liked minded people.”

What do you get from volunteering with MAC-CAN?

“I have made a lot of very good friends and gained many social benefits, learning from each other’s experiences and gardening advice. I have become more aware of the value and possibilities of land sharing and community gardens.”

 

How do you think The Croft helps with the climate and local food security?

“I get real satisfaction from planting cheap, environmentally and accessible food for local people. Having differing viewpoints and experiences from all the volunteers further improves the group’s environmental and food knowledge.

Any excess food in the croft and from local gardens goes to the community fridge and many neighbours are happy to give and trade surplus to each other. “

MAC-CANers Dru and Miles 

 
What are some of the key problems caused by single use plastics in the MAC-CAN area?

The problems are not really contained to the MAC-CAN area its worldwide. It’s a mentality problem and is all about changing perceptions to a more multi-use focus. The biggest and most obvious problem is the waste created. this can be seen in landfill but also litter in the streets or beaches as well.

 

What do you do to reduce your own plastic usage?

There are multiple ways in which we reduce our own plastic usage these include:

  • When shopping we check for plastic free alternatives (for example when buying fruit and veg there are often packaging free options)
  • Plastic recycling (Done easily at home but for the plastics that cannot be recycled at home some supermarkets offer recycling)
  • Glass milk bottle filling (Some places offer this; it can be vending machines that dispense milk and therefor glass bottles can be reused)
  • Speaking to companies (Example of this was a jar of maple syrup that had a plastic lining on its label, we phoned up and asked if this was necessary and company seemed to take this advice on board) sometimes companies just aren’t aware or didn’t think through their choices of using plastic and a voice from the public can persuade them to rethink choices.
How do you think single use plastics contribute to climate change?

Single use plastics require the use of more resources constantly to create. This means more oil to create and more transport to keep a steady supply. All of these things have a huge impact on the climate.

Often these end up filling landfills or are littered and end up in the oceans, an obvious sign of this is beach washup.

 

What can people do to help challenge single use plastics?

To challenge this people can:

  • Change their mentality to strive for multi-use items. This could mean having utensils or metal straws close to hand.
  • Use of plastic free choices, using buying power to influence what companies produce packaging wise
  • Contacting companies to try and convince them to drop plastic where they can
  • Education and raising awareness. It is important to teach the harms of single use from a young age, so people know what the need to do and why they should do it.
Tell me a bit of background on yourself

I bought a house in the area roughly 4 years ago that was uninhabitable at the time and slowly done this up over time with sustainability in mind as this is a passion mine. The garden was a huge focus while creating this house and was one of the first things complete.

I have also recently completed a water capture system that will help me be more self-sufficient.

 

What has been your Involvement with MAC-CAN

I have been involved with MAC-CAN for about 3 or 4 months and currently the focus for me is building engineering work for an indoor space to become the headquarters of the group.

 

What attracted you to MAC-CAN and what drives you?

I wanted a link to environmental protection and garden growing as it’s a passion of mine. The expertise of MAC-CAN was a huge attractor,and the social aspect is a huge bonus as meeting like minded people in a new area is great.

 

Self-sufficiency is a personal dream and goal; the dream would be to be off grid. Local sustainability and sufficiency is important and is a huge way of protecting against external threats such as shortages. Self sufficient and sustainable towns or communities would be a goal to strive towards and would be a huge sense of pride to achieve.

MAC-CANNer Stephen

Hello I am Jen: Gardener, bookseller, handyboffin, classics scholar, jay-of-all-trades, and lover of words, music, food and kindness.

 

 

Within MAC-CAN, I have been a Trustee, Co-Treasurer and member of the Operations Team as well as lead on the Croft polytunnel.

 

 

More generally, I am interested in exploring techniques for deep personal adaptation to the climate/environmental crisis and in the language that we use to talk about them.

 

You’ll find more MAC-CAN members on the ‘News’ Page here: 

If you would like to find out more about MAC-CAN, want to join in or find out what you can do about climate change….

“ I am so pleased to be able to connect with others in my local area who share the same interests and I've met so many nice people through MAC-CAN. It has really helped me better my mental and physical health .”

A MAC-CAN group member