Board members of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are taking part in a two day visit to see the range of ambitious projects happening in Orkney and being supported by local staff from the agency.
Today (Tuesday) the group, including Chief Executive Alex Paterson, have visited Orkney Wine and are meeting with representatives of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust. This evening, business and community representatives will be joining them for an informal dinner to discuss local issues.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), the group will visit Sheila Fleet, the site of the proposed Orkney Research Campus and have lunch with industry representatives from associations such as the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, Orkney Tourism Group, Orkney Crafts and Orkney Quality Food and Drink.
The second day of the trip will also incorporate a visit to Orkney Brewery, part of Sinclair Breweries.
Owned and operated by Orcadian Norman Sinclair, Sinclair Breweries is recognised as one of Scotland’s leading small independent breweries, with a string of international awards for its products. The company produces a wide range of cask or ‘real’ ales and a large range of bottled ales under the Orkney and Atlas Brewery brands, including such iconic brews as Dark Island, Skullsplitter, Latitude, Red MacGregor and Corncrake Ale.
Sinclair Breweries has benefitted from almost £400,000 in support from HIE. This is towards international trade advice and for the development of the brewery and visitor centre.
Brewing operations are located at Quoyloo, in the West Mainland of Orkney, where the state-of-the-art production facility has been created alongside the original Quoyloo Schoolhouse. A high quality visitor centre was also created within the original schoolhouse building. In addition to enabling visitors to view and understand the brewing process, it also tells something of the history of the school and its importance to the local community.
Since opening in July 2012, the brewery visitor centre has been awarded 5-star status by VisitScotland.
Ken Grant, Area Manager for HIE in Orkney, commented: “We are delighted to be hosting HIE Board members on a visit to see some of our successful local businesses and thriving community groups. It is important we continually review the challenges we face and also what achievements have been made in boosting the Orkney economy. In particular, we have hosted over 200 business groups since 2012, showcasing our global lead in marine energy activities.”
This will be the final visit of the HIE Board before Ken Grant leaves his role as Area Manager. He joined Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) in 1980 and took up the post of Chief Executive of Orkney Enterprise when HIE was created in 1991.
Recruitment for the post of Orkney Area Manager is underway. Ken is taking up a role within HIE’s Energy Team, focusing on the growth of the oil and gas industry across the region.
Alex Paterson, HIE’s Chief Executive, said: "Ken's contribution for Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Orkney has been exemplary. He is a well-known and well-liked figure who has done a great deal to place the region where it is today, at the forefront of marine energy development worldwide. I am delighted that he will be continuing to make a valuable contribution to HIE and the region in his new role."