HIE Love Lochaber HIE Web

Community campaign launched to expand local population by 25%  

Published: 14/02/2024

Community shares #LoveLochaber with the world

A west Highland community has embraced the spirit of Valentine's Day to launch a new initiative to strengthen the area’s population. 

The Love Lochaber campaign aims to raise awareness of the patch across the UK, focusing on its lifestyle advantages and diverse range of opportunities for skilled employment. 

Targets include increasing the population by up to 25% by attracting new talent and increasing the proportion of young people who remain in the area to pursue skilled employment or higher education. 

UHI North, West and Hebrides will be promoted as options for studies in fields such as adventure tourism, maritime and aquaculture, creative industries, sustainable development and Gaelic. 

Along with access to degree and postgraduate level qualifications in a range of more traditional subjects, this contributes to the growth of skilled professionals in the area.  

The online campaign is being facilitated by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), working with businesses, communities, and public sector partners. 

Frazer Coupland, CEO at Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, said:  

“Our aim is to see a 25% population increase by 2040. We want to expand our community and by launching this campaign show people from all over the UK and beyond what we have to offer and what makes the area a brilliant place to live, work and study.   

“The campaign is community led and we believe that relocating to Lochaber offers an exceptional work-life balance.   

“There are a diverse range of career opportunities across the region with SSE, Mowi, BSW, Alvance, and NHS Highland alongside unrivalled outdoor amenities including Nevis Range.   

“Lochaber has everything you need.”  

Positive developments are already taking place across Lochaber. They include an ambitious and far-reaching masterplan for the future of Fort William’s town centre, an initiative developed by The Highland Council, HIE, and the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce.  

The next phase involves a series of public engagement events across Lochaber to gather diverse community input to ensure a collective approach to shaping the masterplan. 

Graham Smith, project engineer for Alvance, is among those keen to talk up what Lochaber has to offer. He said:  

“Having a young family and getting to bring them up in this environment with a huge amount of likeminded people is just brilliant.   

“We used to spend a lot of our weekends travelling to the hills and the mountains, so it made sense to move to the outdoor capital of the UK. It has massively improved our work-life balance.  

“From the stunning landscapes to the welcoming community, it’s a truly special opportunity to call Lochaber home.”  

Alastair Nicolson, HIE’s area manager for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, said:  

“This campaign will showcase the countless opportunities across this amazing region, whether you’re starting a career, raising a family, or just looking for a change.   

“Our aim is for more people to recognise and appreciate what Lochaber can offer them and encourage growth across the region benefiting communities, businesses and organisations. 

“We hope to see people from all over the UK engage with the campaign and get in touch to find out more about Lochaber and what their lives could look like here.” 

Local businesses, organisations, and residents are encouraged to actively participate in this campaign. Share your stories, promote the unique features of the region and why you #LoveLochaber.  

Visit www.lochaberchamber.co.uk/love-lochaber for more information.  

Related Articles