New Lifelong Learning and Leisure Head

Aberdeenshire Council has named John Harding as its new Head of Lifelong Learning and Leisure, in a move which will see him replace Rod Stone, who plans to step down from his post later in the year.

Mr Harding, who is currently employed as the cultural services manager with Perth and Kinross Council, was appointed following interview by Aberdeenshire Council’s Appointments Committee on Thursday 22 September.

His appointment follows that earlier in the year of Maria Walker as Director of Education, Learning & Leisure. Ms Walker also joined Aberdeenshire Council from Perth & Kinross Council, where she had served as the authority’s Depute Director of Education and Children’s Services.

The responsibilities of the Head of Service position include directing the functions of community learning and development and cultural services, including libraries, arts and museums, sport and leisure.

As well as taking responsibility for service premises and working with head teachers and other officers, the role also has an emphasis on partnership work with communities and other public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

Aberdeenshire Council Leader and Chair of the Appointments Committee, Councillor Anne Robertson, welcomed Mr Harding’s appointment to the role. “This appointment comes at a time of change for the way services are delivered across Aberdeenshire, including the exploration of closer working with communities”, she said.

“John will play an important part in ensuring we continue to deliver high quality, innovative services to customers and I wish him all the very best in the role.”

Speaking of his new role, Mr Harding said he was looking forward to the challenge his new role would present.

“I am absolutely delighted to accept this appointment”, he said. “Aberdeenshire Council is an excellent, progressive organisation.

“Lifelong learning and leisure services make a vast contribution to the quality of life members of our communities enjoy, and I am thoroughly looking forward to playing my role in that as part of a really good team.”