Island distiller signs Covenant

November 23, 2020

Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd has become the latest organisation to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment to support the UK’s servicemen and women wherever and however it can, ensuring no member of the Armed Forces should suffer a disadvantage because of their service. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the November 18 ‘virtual’ signing took place online with HRFCA representatives, distillery staff and Chief of Defence People Lieutenant General James Swift all logging in to the event.

Lieutenant General Swift co-signed the Covenant for the MOD, combining signing duties with a virtual visit to the Association.

Isle of Harris Distillers joins more than 4,500 organisations to have shown their commitment to the Armed Forces.

Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd Chairman Ron MacEachran.

Chairman Ron MacEachran signed the document for Isle of Harris Distillers.

He said: “Why is it appropriate for this company to sign the Covenant? 

“Well, I think it’s fair to say that the distillery, even at the tender age of five years, is an intrinsic part of the island’s community.

“That community, in common with other parts of the Western Isles, has a significant history of military service. So, I do think it’s appropriate for a company such as ours to sign this Covenant because of the role we play in the community and because of the heritage and ongoing contribution the community has to military service.”

As well as co-signing the Covenant, Lieutenant General James Swift also presented the ERS Bronze Award.

Lt Gen Swift added: “We are thrilled that there are so many businesses of all sizes across the UK who are prepared to sign up both to the Armed Forces Covenant, but also to the Employer Recognition Scheme.

“Because both of those send such a strong message to the members of the Armed Forces and their families about how society feels about them.

“It’s a real honour that Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd have signed this, and I’m enormously grateful for where they are placing the Armed Forces in their community.”

The company’s commitment to honouring the Covenant includes pledges to:

  • Promote the fact it is an Armed Forces-friendly organisation.
  • Seek to support the employment of veterans young and old and work with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), in order to establish a tailored employment pathway for Service Leavers.
  • Strive to support the employment of Service spouses and partners.
  • Endeavour to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment.
  • Seek to support employees who choose to be members of the Reserve Forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible.
  • Offering support to local cadet units, where possible.
  • Offer a discount to members of the Armed Forces Community.

As well as signing the Covenant, Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd also received the Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze Award from Lt Gen Swift. The ERS awards encourage employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The prestigious Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the Armed Forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The distillery is now five years old and employs almost 40 permanent staff. It produces the award-winning Isle of Harris Gin, and is also producing spirit for its forthcoming single malt whisky The Hearach.

The Covenant signing and Bronze presentation was organised by Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association and attended – along with the signatories – by the organisation’s Regional Employer Engagement Directors Roy McLellan and Ray Watt.

To find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant, click HERE, or contact Roy by email at [email protected] or Ray at [email protected].

To watch a video of the signing ceremony, click HERE.