Loch Duart

Com­mu­nity

Fish Farmer - - Contents -

LOCH Duart CEO Al­ban Den­ton said there is a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the com­pany and the com­mu­nity. ‘We can­not suc­ceed with­out the com­mu­nity and while I would hes­i­tate to put the words into other peo­ple’s mouths, it feels that the lo­cal com­mu­nity would be a poorer place if it wasn’t for Loch Duart, both in terms of the em­ploy­ment we of­fer and our in­vest­ment, spon­sor­ship and sup­port.’

The salmon farmer’s con­tri­bu­tion to the ar­eas it farms, in Suther­land and the Uists, in­cludes fi­nan­cial sup­port for lo­cal groups and projects, in­clud­ing im­prove­ments to the vil­lage hall, fund­ing for a lifeboat sta­tion, a range of school projects and the main spon­sor­ship for He­bridean moun­tain biker and cham­pi­onships hope­ful Kerry MacPhee.

Last year, the com­pany es­tab­lished the Salmon Pool fund, in con­junc­tion with Cargill, its feed sup­plier, as part of its con­tin­ued com­mu­nity com­mit­ment.

The prin­ci­pal aim of the Salmon Pool is to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to or­gan­i­sa­tions for projects which bring tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits to the lo­cal

com­mu­ni­ties of Suther­land and Uist.

The idea is that ev­ery time Loch Duart buys feed, a pro­por­tion of the cost goes into a pot for the com­mu­nity fund and peo­ple can ap­ply for spe­cific projects.

So far, more than £30,000 has been distribute­d, and there is ‘a very good turn­around’, said Re­becca MacInnes, Loch Duart’s HR man­ager and its rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the fund.

‘I be­lieve that Salmon Pool is mak­ing a fab­u­lous im­pact,’ said MacInnes.

‘A lot of lo­cal groups or causes can’t get what they’re look­ing for from other sources un­til they’ve spent the money. How­ever, we can, and of­ten do, re­lease the money quickly.’ Among the ini­tia­tives to re­ceive sup­port are: • £1,396 to Scourie Pri­mary School to pro­vide out­door cloth­ing and learn­ing equip­ment so the chil­dren can op­ti­mise the ed­u­ca­tional po­ten­tial of their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment; • £2,358 to Dur­ness Golf Club, avail­able to all res­i­dents in North West Suther­land for new equip­ment; • £3,336 to North Uist United Ju­niors Foot

ball Club for new equip­ment; • £10,000 to Scourie Com­mu­nity Coun­cil to en­hance the com­mu­nity play park and re­place equip­ment; • £1,500 to Con­nect Assynt to ex­tend the com­mu­nity trans­port ser­vice for iso­lated peo­ple and vul­ner­a­ble adults; • £4,000 to Scourie anf Bad­call Graz­ings Com­mit­tee to com­plete the foot­path net­work within the wood­lands ad­ja­cent to Scourie vil­lage; • £750 to North Suther­land Sportive for the

hall fees for juit­sui; • £3,239 to Lochin­ver Public Hall to en­hance

the ex­te­rior of the hall; • £1,500 to Kin­lochbervie Pri­mary School to give Downs Syn­drome chil­dren the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with horses, from learn­ing to care from an­i­mals to learn­ing to ride; • £2,000 to Uist Coastal Row­ing Club to

wards the build of a new skiff boat; • £1,500 to Com­mu­nity Care Assynt to pur

chase a de­fib­ril­la­tor. Loch Duart ‘cel­e­bra­tion plaques’ are given to each pro­ject sup­ported by the fund. Loch Duart has com­mit­ted to the pro­gramme for three years ini­tially but it will hope­fully be ex­tended, said MacInnes.

Even be­fore the Salmon Pool, though, Loch Duart do­nated to lo­cal groups.

‘We’ve al­ways played a big part in both com­mu­ni­ties [in Suther­land and the He­brides]. Very rarely do we ever refuse any­thing,’ said MacInnes, who has been with Loch Duart from the be­gin­ning.

A Scourie lo­cal her­self, she is on the Scourie hall com­mit­tee and the Scourie gala com­mit­tee, all on dif­fer­ent nights of the week.

There might not be much time for her­self but, she said, ‘it’s a small com­mu­nity so you take part in th­ese things’.

She also makes reg­u­lar trips to the Uists, via the ferry from Uig on Skye to the Loch Duart of­fices at Lochmaddy, and said there are good re­la­tion­ships with the com­mu­nity there too.

MacInnes came to Loch Duart 20 years ago for two weeks’ work ex­pe­ri­ence in the hatch­ery and de­cided to stay on when they were short staffed in the of­fice.

She worked her way up and was ap­pointed the com­pany’s first HR boss three years ago, over­see­ing many changes since then.

There are more op­por­tu­ni­ties now, and new de­part­ments- cleaner fish, for ex­am­ple - with jobs that didn’t ex­ist not so long ago.

Peo­ple are stay­ing in the com­pany for longer, staff are more ded­i­cated and want to make a ca­reer out of it.

The two high­lights, she said, were, firstly, the trans­for­ma­tion of the cul­ture in the busi­ness, which has cre­ated en­gage­ment, a pos­i­tive ‘can do’ spirit and a real pride in the busi­ness, its salmon and its brand.

And, se­condly, the im­prove­ment in re­mu­ner­a­tion pack­ages, with ev­ery­body now on liv­ing wage rates of no less than £9 an hour- and the in­tro­duc­tion of a profit shar­ing scheme for em­ploy­ees.

There are train­ing op­tions for staff through UHI, in­clud­ing open learn­ing cour­ses and train­ing on site, and ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has their own per­sonal de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

In March, Loch Duart won sil­ver ac­cred­i­ta­tion from IIP (In­vestors in Peo­ple), a ‘great achieve­ment’, said Al­ban Den­ton, who has now set MacInnes and her team the goal of get­ting gold next year.

“A lot of th­ese groups can’t get what they’re look­ing for and we can re­lease the money re­ally quickly”

Left: Re­becca MacInnes Above: North Uist United Ju­niors Foot­ball Club- the team re­ceived Salmon Pool fund­ing

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