For a Fairer & More Sustainable World.

About Us


Established in 2014, the Pebble Trust has a vision for a more sustainable, fair, and low-carbon society, where constraints on fossil fuels lead to a more localised economy with stronger, more resilient communities.

Born out of a desire to support climate action, the Trust supports individuals, organisations and projects by providing up to £10,000 for projects across the Highlands and Islands, and sometimes beyond, seeking to address the climate and biodiversity crises and contribute to fairer and more just societies.

The Pebble Trust was started with the funds from one inheritance and we are pleased to have supported a range of projects since 2014 to work towards our vision in seeing a more sustainable, fair and low carbon society. We called ourselves the Pebble Trust as we hope our modest grant give rise to other ripples of climate action across the Highlands and Islands. We also seek to help applicants develop their ideas into a more viable, affordable, projects.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We are working on listening, learning and reflecting on the ways in which inequality, inequity, racism, and uneven distributions of power are woven into structures and institutions in society.

We are reviewing our own processes to ensure that we are acting on our commitment to fairness. We will be looking to our grantees, our prospective applicants, and those we work closely with to share learnings on this.

Our Investments

We believe our investments should reflect our beliefs – so in an ideal world all our investments would support businesses which are also trying to make the world fairer and more sustainable.

On our own we are too small to make a difference to the way big companies operate, but increasingly fund managers are taking their environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) responsibilities seriously, and in turn this is influencing business. Our current policy is that at least 60% of our investments should be in ESG funds, with a particular focus on those with a strong record on climate change.

We aim to increase this percentage as the number and range of ESG funds increases. We are pleased to be signatories to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change and seek to ensure that our funds are invested and used in a manner consistent with the six principles which underpin this commitment.


Pebble Trust – Staff & Trustees

Trustee

Penny Edwards

Trustee

Martin Sherring

Trustee

Nicolas Gubbins

Trustee

Catriona Mallows

Trustee

Arabella Kennard

Trustee

Sarah Nicholas

Trustee

Sarah Allen

Administrator

Julie Shortreed

Penny Edwards

Trustee

Penny began her career in nature and woodland conservation, with an employment history spanning the Central Scotland Countryside Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Within the environmental field she has considerable experience of business and strategic planning, community engagement, volunteering and project and programme management, all of which were put to good use in her own environmental consultancy.

In her second career Penny established Falkirk Wood, a local timber processing company which provided characterful local hardwood timbers into local markets. This was sold as a going concern in 2008. She now runs Stoneybank Furniture Workshop, a small furniture and upholstery business.

Penny has worked in a voluntary capacity for a wide range of environmental organisations. She is a past Trustee of Transition Black Isle and is a past Chair and current Director of the Culbokie Community Trust which is working to develop a new community hub in the village.

Penny lives on the Black Isle and her spare time is spent in the garden and in the local countryside.

Martin Sherring

Trustee

Most of Martin’s working life has been as a chartered accountant, including 9 years with Price Waterhouse (now PWC) in London and 12 years as Finance Director of Canvas Holidays. He also worked with Penny Edwards as a partner in Falkirk Wood, and when that was sold he retrained and briefly carried out consultancy work on domestic energy before putting his training to use in the construction of his and Penny’s new Passive House in Culbokie, one of the most northerly in Britain.

Martin is also a trustee of Transition Black Isle and The Highland Good Food Partnership, and a director of Scotland the Bread. He enjoys being outdoors, in the garden or the hills.

Nicolas Gubbins

Trustee

Nicholas worked in the field for the Nature Conservancy Council for 10 years before joining Scottish Natural Heritage where he focused on policy and project development around the wide area of sustainable development. In 2000, he moved to Highlands and Islands Enterprise where he was Head of Community Regeneration, working on community development programmes and social enterprise initiatives.

He was the founding CEO of the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company and then Community Energy Scotland which has supported hundreds of community energy projects of all sorts across Scotland. He retired from CES in 2021. Along with being a trustee of the Pebble Trust, Nicholas is a director of HISEZ & helps with the work of Community Energy Malawi.

Sarah Allen

Trustee

Sarah began her career as an Adviser with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Scottish Natural Heritage (now NatureScot) and Highland Council. She also worked in a self-employed capacity producing short broadcasts for BBC Radio Scotland on rural issues, and as a consultant for Rural Analysis Associates.

From 2002-09 Sarah was appointed to the board of the Crofters Commission (now Crofting Commission) and subsequently chaired the Scottish Government’s Review of the Bull Hire Scheme. She also worked as a Regional Assistant for a Highlands & Islands MSP, managing constituents’ casework.

More recently Sarah was Head of Tenant Farming at the Scottish Land Commission which focussed on promoting good relationships between agricultural tenants and landlords. To assist this, she set up a mediation scheme which subsequently led to her becoming a Trustee of Scottish Mediation.

Currently Sarah is a consultant at BiGGAR Economics helping to deliver their ethos of “meaningful impact” in their increasing portfolio of innovative community and rural projects.

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Custom mega menu, created with the theme’s page builder.

Custom mega menu, created with the theme’s page builder.

Catriona Mallows

Trustee

Catriona grew up on the shores of the Cromarty Firth and has since returned to her Highland roots. After her undergraduate degree, she worked for several years in community development in Scotland and New Zealand and was a trustee for the 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group.

In 2018, she moved to Canada and completed a Master’s in Political Ecology at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Whilst there, she worked for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and also helped teach university courses in the School of Environmental Studies.

She currently works for Scottish Rural Action, campaigning for rural and island policy, and is also a freelance researcher and writer.

She loves running in the hills, climbing, and has a fascination with shellfish farming.

Julie Shortreed

Administrator

After studying languages, Julie spent the first part of her career in the European travel industry working in France then for 9 years with Canvas Holidays as Contracts Manager. After returning to study in 1999, she spent her second career in Information Services at Abertay University.  Julie took early retirement and moved to the Black Isle in 2017.

She joined The Pebble Trust as administrator shortly afterwards. She spends most of her spare time in the outdoors, cycling, hillwalking or kayaking as well as trying to develop an edible and wildlife friendly garden.

Sarah Nicholas

Trustee

Sarah started her career in corporate and sustainability communications, working for an international PR agency which she led to become one of the UK’s first B Corps. After completing a Masters in Environment and Development at LSE Sarah became a civil servant, working on agri-food policy and stakeholder engagement at Defra, including for the National Food Strategy.Sarah now works for Forestry and Land Scotland where she leads on climate and biodiversity partnerships on public land across Scotland. She is also a trustee of Future Woodlands Scotland SCIO, and is an active member of her local coastal rowing club. She is normally to be found in a skiff on the Cromarty Firth, in the Inverness community darkroom, walking up a hill/through a bog somewhere in Scotland, or at home with her husband and tiny-but-mighty dog near Invergordon in Easter Ross.

Arabella Kennard

Trustee

Arabella currently lives in Orkney where she works for NatureScot as part of the Northern Isles and North Highland Operations Team. Her focus is on development management and protected areas casework for both terrestrial and marine environments across the region, as well as site monitoring and fieldwork.

Arabella also has experience of supporting community-led action on climate change across the Highlands and Islands by delivering various low carbon and renewable energy projects with Community Energy Scotland and the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust.

Interested in learning more about nature, she enjoys getting outside and into the sea whenever possible.

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