Stemming The Tide

Our remote location means that this local island economy is a fragile one and one of the issues connected to this is population decline. Quite simply, our young people often leave the island to pursue further education or training and then, sadly, don’t return due to lack of employment opportunities.
As the older generations pass on, there are less and less people left to take their place, and so our numbers dwindle. At the last census in 2011 there were just 1,916 people living here in Harris. A driving goal of our distillery is to help try to stem this tide through the work we can provide and do together.

We are proud to have created a number of jobs for young local people in our first year, particularly those who wish to stay in Harris, keeping our community, and distillery team, a vibrant one. One such role has been taken up by 19 year old Ruth Macleod (main pic) from the village of Scadabay. 

Ruth joined us in September 2015, just prior to our official opening, and is a mainstay of our Canteen team. Working full-time, and always willing to help out with a myriad of other tasks, her infectious laugh and good humour help staff and guests alike enjoy their time here at the distillery.
“My first job of the day is always making a fresh batch of bread, so it is baked and ready just in time for lunch. While the dough is proving I’ll set to work making the day’s two soups from scratch. Once that’s done, if the Canteen is busy I’ll give them a hand there too…”
Ruth goes on to tell us… 

“There aren’t many full-time jobs for young people here in Harris. During the tourist season there can be, but it’s between the months of October and March that’s the problem. The distillery is able to employ me all year round, which is really great.

Ruth’s experience echoes what a lot of us here in Harris feel. We live in a truly beautiful part of the world, surrounded by friends and family in a close-knit community. The pull of our island home is strong and, given the choice, many of us will always choose living here over the bright lights of big cities if we can. 
Our Guest Team manager Shona Macleod tells us…
“Having young people like Ruth on the team is really important to us. We value her work here so highly and giving her the opportunity to develop new skills and explore career options here in Harris is a real win-win for everyone concerned.”
We’ll be catching up with Ruth, and the other young distillery staff choosing to stay and make a living in their homeland, over the coming months. Meanwhile, we’re delighted to be able to keep talented folk like Ruth with us here in Harris as we continue on this positive journey.​

Learn more about The 1,916

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