Alness-based Aquascot has been processing salmon and trout for over 30 years and currently employ around 190 people – known as ‘partners’ in their employee ownership structure.
With Coronavirus cases increasing worldwide daily and the UK lockdown likely to continue for more weeks to come, the challenges faced by “Key Worker” organisations like Aquascot are significant, but they are equally aware of their responsibility to maximise efforts to produce as much fresh food as possible, supporting UK retail and feeding families nationwide.
The sales of salmon and trout are currently the highest ever experienced in Aquascot’s history.
Andy Wilson, Head of Commercial, acknowledges:
“Our Commercial team are working closely with our key customer Waitrose as shoppers across the country adjust to eating many more meals at home.
“It takes hard work, but we are ready to meet the challenge and adjust accordingly.”
As one of the largest employee-owned businesses in Scotland, Aquascot know they must lead by example.
With partner safety, health and wellbeing as top priority, they have implemented measures to ensure that the business continues to thrive during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis, while contributing to the support of the local community in and around Alness.
At an operational level, Aquascot’s Production, Engineering and Hygiene teams have worked tirelessly to make changes to the site layout, optimising social distancing and providing separation that has enabled us to continue to meet the demands of supplying fresh food.
Even with the pandemic situation in its early stages, the company responded immediately to provide financial security to any partner who had to self-isolate with symptoms, as well as partners falling in the ‘higher risk’ category – providing confidence at a time of great uncertainty.
In addition, flexible working hours have been implemented for partners affected by school and nursery closures.
Due to both restrictions on car sharing and reductions in public transport services, Aquascot are also currently working with C&E Taxis to provide vital transport for both day and night shift workers travelling from Dingwall and Inverness.
C&E are a local company who have seen a downturn in trade and having to reduce drivers, so this partnership is mutually beneficial and indicative of Aquascot’s commitment to supporting local and providing for their team.
On Thursday 9th April, the Partnership Council (PC) of Aquascot donated fresh salmon to feed 45 people through the COVID-19 Support Group for Invergordon, Alness, Tain and Evanton – and they plan to upscale and continue this work.
Rachel Hannah, Chair of Aquascot’s Partnership Council:
“Going forward, we will donate both salmon and trout to support up to 130 vulnerable people per week and help the local community get through this crisis.”
“They have also been working with Kingussie High School, who are manufacturing PPE visors for the protection of key workers at Raigmore Hospital and local care homes.
“Aquascot have sourced and gifted plastic material from their tray manufacturer for the school to use to make visors and have also given a cash donation to support this great work.”
John Housego, Managing Director:
“None of what Aquascot have managed to achieve would be possible without the outstanding efforts and commitment of all of the key workers on site, who continue to work tirelessly and passionately in such troubling times.
“We are immensely proud of all our people for their efforts and wish to thank everyone for their support and understanding.”